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Habitual Coffee Consumption Alters Attention and Memory in Older Adults: Significance of Intellectual Workload

Abstract

The growing body of evidence indicates that habitual coffee consumption has beneficial effects on brain functions in older adults, but its effects on different aspects of cognitive function are relatively unknown. We analyzed data of 104 elderly men and women to investigate the effects of habitual coffee consumption on attention and memory with respect to participants’ professional intellectual workload (scientists vs. people not engaged in professional scientific activity) and sex. The volunteers completed the Attention Network Test (ANT), the recognition test for geometric figures and syllables, and the test for memorization of dichotically presented words. The ANT test showed that coffee consumption only influenced the alertness system scores and was associated with a decreased number of errors in trials with no warning signal. Coffee consumers also demonstrated higher retrieval of words presented in dichotic listening task; however, only in the group not engaged in professional scientific activity. Recognition memory was not associated with coffee consumption. No tests showed gender-related effects. This study provides evidence that in older adults, the effect of habitual coffee consumption appears task-specific and may be most advantageous in subjects with lower intellectual workload.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors express their gratitude to E.P. Cheremisina for helping gather research data.

Funding

The study was supported by the federal budget for fun-damental research (theme no. АААА-А21-121011990039-2 (2021-2025).

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Correspondence to N. V. Volf or E. Yu. Privodnova.

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COMPLIANCE WITH ETHICAL STANDARDS

All studies were conducted in compliance with the principles of biomedical ethics formulated in the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) and its later updates and approved by the local bioethical committee of the Scientific Research Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (Novosibirsk).

CONFLICT OF INTERESTS

The authors declare that they do not have a direct or potential conflict of interests.

INFORMED CONSENT

Each participant gave their voluntary written consent after being explained potential risks and advantages, along with the nature of the forthcoming study.

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Translated by A. Deryabina

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Volf, N.V., Privodnova, E.Y. Habitual Coffee Consumption Alters Attention and Memory in Older Adults: Significance of Intellectual Workload. Hum Physiol 48, 299–305 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1134/S0362119722030124

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1134/S0362119722030124

Keywords:

  • coffee
  • attention
  • memory
  • older adults
  • intellectual workload