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3 pages/≈825 words
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Biological & Biomedical Sciences
English (U.S.)
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Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Functions (Essay Sample)


effects of caffein on cognitive functions


Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Functions
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Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Functions
Caffeine is a Central Nervous System stimulant that is found naturally in plants like tea and coffee. It is widely consumed, being a largely unregulated stimulant, found in our daily beverages such as tea, coffee, and soda. Physiologically, caffeine works by binding to the adenosine, a neuromodulator affecting sleep, receptors in the nervous system, yielding the overall effect of alertness and energy (Temple et al., 2017). The effects of caffeine on health have been an area of concern, especially since the onset of synthetic infusion of the substance in beverages and the increasing consumption trends. The studied effects of the substance on cognitive health will determine whether this popular substance's impact on health is hazardous or complementary.
Caffeine has been found to improve cognitive performance. Specifically, caffeine was found to significantly reduce the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation on subjects, with the dose of caffeine administered being up to 600 mg (Penetar et al.,1994). The effect of this dosage on a sleep-deprived subject has been compared to the intake found in the food substances for a non-sleep-deprived person. In the research, the participants were found to have heightened mood and alertness after caffeine consumption, fending off the effects of sleep deprivation on the two aspects of cognitive functions. Further, the effects were found to be short-lived, therefore not completely altering physiologically and psychologically. These two findings are essential as they prove caffeine's usefulness as a mood and alertness enhancer, especially in the face of fatigue occasioned by grueling daily activities such as work and study.
Caffeine also improves reaction time as an aspect of cognitive ability. Choice reaction time is an action requiring little thinking but excellent speed and accuracy in execution. This aspect was studied in a military context, and the subjects were found to have enhanced reaction time after administration of caffeine. Studies concur that caffeine improves reaction time to a great extent (Nehlig, 2010). This characteristic of caffeine is useful in situations where reaction time means life or death, such as driving, fire rescue, and military operations. Most of the exemplified fields require long hours of work, and the lives at stake too many. In prolonged and demanding work, which takes a toll on mental alertness, caffeine is an enhancer to the user's cognitive health.
Caffeine has also been found to improve mental performance, both on logical and numeric reasoning. Enhanced performance in numerical and analytical reasoning tests is observed after taking caffeine in the sleep-deprived subjects (Penetar et al., 1994). According to Nehlig (2010), the effects on memory are not long-term. Furthermore, caffeine slows down cognitive deterioration in healthy subjects. These short-lived cognitive improvements can be of great help to individuals who are needed to complete tasks under time constraints. Caffeine can, therefore, be considered a health enhancer as opposed to a hazard as the effective blockage of fatigue enables the users to function effectively in demanding situations.
While caffeine is a mild stimulant with proven enhancement properties on cognitive functions, it can also be detrimental to human health. Research on caffeine's neurological side effects concludes that the substance is addictive, with other effects, including anxiety and insomnia (Uddin, Sufian, Hossain, Kabir, Islam, Rahman, & Rafe, 2017). Moreover, Nehlig (2010) avers that it causes nervousness, jitteriness, and anxiety in incr

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