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Coffee reduces brain blood flow

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  • Coffee reduces brain blood flow

    Hmm, maybe blood flow is not good for the brain... [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img]

    December 11, 2001

    Testing: When Coffee Stains the Brain Scan


    The sophisticated brain-scanning devices known as functional M.R.I.'s can sometimes be thrown off by something as simple as a few cups of coffee, a new study reports.

    The brain scans are largely used in research and on people who have suffered serious strokes, so the immediate implications for patient care are limited, the researchers said. But the implications may change as the M.R.I.'s become more widely used, they added.

    The results of the study, done at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, were presented at a recent conference of the Radiological Society of North America by Dr. Aaron S. Field, now of the University of Wisconsin.

    Aware that the caffeine in coffee reduces blood flow to the brain, Dr. Field and his colleagues set out to see whether this had ramifications for brain imaging and whether patients should be asked about caffeine consumption before being screened.

    The answer appears to be yes.

    After asking volunteers to abstain from caffeine for 30 hours, the researchers gave them 250 milligrams of it ó about the amount in two or three cups of coffee. Then they scanned their brains. (They also did scans after giving the volunteers placebos.)

    The caffeine was found to reduce blood flow by as much as about 25 percent, depending on the part of the brain. Complicating matters, the changes in blood flow appeared to vary depending on how much caffeine a person normally took in.

    Dr. Field said researchers conducting close comparisons of brain function might consider having the screening subjects go off caffeine or, at least, establishing how much they normally took in.

    "If you're looking for a subtle difference between two groups," he said, "you want to limit anything that might cause excessive variations from subject to subject."

  • #2
    Oh, darn - now there's a reason for my senior moments!


    • #3
      What bitter irony! I can't wake up and get the heart pumping without it and apparently my brain doesn't work well with it! Sometimes you just can't win.