The Holidays… For most people, this period rhymes with chocolate, tea, coffee, and lots of sweet treats. As we all know, all these are to be consumed in moderate quantities. But what if a mix of coffee and sugar suddenly became legitimate to boost your brain efficiency?
A study by a team of Spanish researchers showed that a combination of caffeine and glucose could enhance the efficiency of brain activity. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyze brain activity during the n-back task, a performance task that evaluates sustained attention and working memory. Participants were divided into groups drinking either caffeine, glucose or the two combined, and another drinking a placebo consisting only of water. They were tested before and after.
The caffeine and glucose group showed reduced brain activation associated with the task in the bilateral parietal cortex and the left prefrontal cortex which both participate in attention and working memory processes. The results thus showed that the two substances combined improve cognitive performance in terms of sustained attention and working memory by increasing the efficiency of the areas of the brain responsible for these two functions. In other words, the brain becomes more efficient with a combination of sugar and caffeine as fewer resources are required to produce the same level of performance.