International Space Station Gets its First Coffee Machine (Representational Image) [sh0dan/Flickr]
Coffee can reduce cancer risk in women.sh0dan/Flickr

A cuppa a day is good for the brain. Latest research shows that caffeine helps improve memory.

Interestingly, the memory skills, thus boosted by the stimulant drug lasted more than one day after taking it.

The Johns Hopkins University study looked at 44 individuals, who never used coffee or any other caffeinated products regularly.

During the trial, the participants observed a series of images on the computer screen and answered some questions related to the objects shown to them. Shortly after the exercise, they took either a placebo or a pill containing 200 mg of caffeine.  Researchers collected and tested saliva from the participants- both before and after (one, three, 24 hours) they took the pills.

After 24 hours, researchers repeated the same exercise, but this time they added some images to the old ones. Some of them were new, totally different and some looked similar to the old ones but had slight changes in the angles, shapes or design, The Guardian reported.

Participants were asked to identify the images they saw the previous day and differentiate them from the new ones. The task also included telling whether the image is same, new or similar one. The ability to differentiate two similar objects, commonly known as pattern separation, was comparatively higher among people from the caffeine group than the others.

"If we used a standard recognition memory task without these tricky similar items, we would have found no effect of caffeine," senior author of the study, Michael Yassa, said in a news release. "However, using these items requires the brain to make a more difficult discrimination-what we call pattern separation, which seems to be the process that is enhanced by caffeine in our case."

Findings of the study have been reported in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Role of caffeine on boosting memory has been known from some time. In March last year, Geraldine Wright, a neuroethologist at Newcastle University, UK reported that feeding on caffeinated nectar improved memory skills of honeybees and helped them to remember a flower's scent better than the bees fed on sugar. Another study published in the Neurology, showed that daily caffeine intake can help prevent memory loss during old age.