Coffee and cake are good for the brain

Scientists in Catalonia have found that the bourgeois world’s favourite drug caffeine improves cognitive ability, especially when taken in combination with glucose. The ‘active ingredients’ of coffee and cake have a synergistic effect, say the researchers, who report their findings in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental.

According to psychobiologist Josep Serra-Grabulosa

“Our main finding is that the combination of the two substances improves 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.”

Serra-Grabulosa’s claim about increased efficiency arises from an observed reduction in activity in the bilateral parietal cortex of the brains of experimental subjects who had consumed caffeine and glucose together. This is compared with others who had consumed either a placebo, or caffeine and glucose alone.

The neurological basis for the reported effect is unknown, but the economic and dietary implications are clear enough. Lattes and gâteau all round!

Further reading: Serra-Grabulosa et al., “Glucose and caffeine effects on sustained attention: an exploratory fMRI study”, Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental (2010)