Using caffeine as a tool to study information processing
Researchers are using caffeine to study how the brain processes information, and a new study shows the effectiveness of this approach. A placebo-controlled study in adults, which uses a simple Go/NoGo task, is published in Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research.
The article entitled "Caffeine as a Tool to Explore Active Cognitive Processing Stages in Two-Choice Tasks" was coauthored by Robert Barry, Jack Fogarty, and Frances De Blasio, University of Wollongong, Australia. In the cross-over study, one group of adults was given 250 mg of caffeine before completing a Go/NoGo task, in which they heard one of two tones. If they heard the "Go" target tone, they were to push a button. If they heard the "NoGo" tone they had to process that information and not push the button. The researchers used electroencephalography to measure event-related potential components and explore sequential processing in the individuals with and without caffeine. The study produced a number of novel outcomes, showing caffeine to be a useful tool
"A particularly significant finding of this study, performed in adults, is the qualitatively different effect of caffeine during the processing of a Go/NoGo task as compared to the results of a previous study by the same research group in children, providing new clues about the different cognitive strategies used by adults and children and their dependence on the adenosine system," says Journal of Caffeine and Adenosine Research Editor-in-Chief Sergi Ferré, MD, Ph.D., Chief of the Integrative Neurobiology Section at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD.