Caffeine Shapes Brain to Make Us Buzz

Level 1 Level 2
İngilizce Öğren LingoVivo News

Caffeine, a ubiquitous stimulant found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate, is a substance ingrained in daily rituals for many, providing a morning boost or a midday pick-me-up. Neurologist Nora Volkow and her team at Brookhaven National Laboratory sought to unravel the neural mechanisms underpinning caffeine's effects through a recent study, shedding light on its impact on the brain.

Volunteers ingested caffeine tablets equivalent to 2 or 3 cups of strong coffee, and their brain activity was scrutinized using a PET scanner. The study elucidated that, akin to drugs like cocaine, caffeine enhances the natural activity of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. However, caffeine diverges in its mode of action by increasing the number of dopamine receptors, resulting in heightened alertness without fostering compulsive patterns indicative of addiction.

Despite caffeine's shared neurobiological mechanisms with addictive substances, Volkow contends that caffeine is not addictive in the same sense, as it does not lead to catastrophic consequences or compulsive behavior. In fact, moderate caffeine consumption has demonstrated potential cognitive benefits and a protective role against cognitive decline and Alzheimer's Disease.


1- Which neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation does caffeine enhance?

2- In what way does caffeine's impact on dopamine receptors differ from addictive drugs like cocaine?

3- According to Nora Volkow, why does caffeine differ from addictive drugs in terms of addiction potential?


You have completed the comprehension questions. 

Parts of this lesson are based on: An article Voice of America..