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Caffeine May Help the Brain Process Words

THURSDAY, Nov. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A small amount of caffeine helps the brain recognize words with a positive connotation faster and more accurately, according to a new study.

The German researchers noted that this effect doesn't extend to the recognition of negative or neutral words.

Previous studies have shown that caffeine boosts activity in the central nervous system, as well as enhances brain function during simple tasks. In conducting the study, however, researchers led by Lars Kuchinke and colleagues from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, investigated the link between caffeine and emotional biases, such as associating certain emotions with objects.

The study showed that consuming 200 milligrams of caffeine (about two to three cups of coffee) 30 minutes before a task can enhance the brain's recognition of positive words.

The researchers suggested that the effects of caffeine in areas of the brain responsible for language could help explain their findings.

The study was published Nov. 7 in the journal PLoS ONE. Although the researchers found that caffeine was associated with quicker recognition of positive words, they did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on caffeine.

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: Public Library of Science, news release, Nov. 7, 2012.

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