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Coffee/caffeine and genius within

  1. Mar 25, 2015 #1
    I would like to know how many geniuses didnt drink caffeine in a daily basis if any when they did their major work?
    Or current geniuses?

    Ive heard rumours that Tesla didnt drink coffee after realizing it affected his imagination, but I dont know if he continued drinking it later on.

    I read:

    which states: "long-term consumption of caffeine could inhibit hippocampus-dependent learning and memory partially through inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis."

    Ive stopped drinking coffee after regular consumption for 2 weeks now, and I feel quite tired still and unmotivated with troubles to focus.


  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2015 #2


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    What is a genius in your opinion? I ask because I'm trying to imagine what your ideal answer would be from this thread. If you want a paper that shows the effect of coffee on intellectual performance that's easy, if you want a paper showing coffee consumption rates amongst scientists that could be hard to find and if you want a paper showing famous scientists with information on their coffee habits then I'd bet a lot you're going to be sorely disappointed.
  4. Mar 25, 2015 #3
    Hmm... well I am interested in caffeine consumption in general, and success of scientists who do not consume caffeine (if they exist).

    Also, if people here have any personal experience of caffeine consumption before/after -effects. Say, if a regular consumer would have stopped drinking caffeine for atleast 6months and monitored her own performance/mood/thoughts.

    According to the study it should affect hippocampal neurogenesis, meaning that learning new things might be slower/harder, and Teslas comment made me think about imagination, too.

    Another motivation might be that "big papers" have many times been published at a young age, so Im wondering if theres a link to caffeine consumption as well. If long term caffeine consumption affects hippocampus in a negative way.
  5. Mar 25, 2015 #4


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    NeOH, your study is from 2007, a new 2014 study finds that caffeine improves long term memory.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  6. Mar 25, 2015 #5

    "The Johns Hopkins researchers conducted a double-blind trial in which participants who did not regularly eat or drink caffeinated products received either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet five minutes after studying a series of images."

    That is a little bit different though, the 2007 research agrees on the short term benefits.
    However, your study does not discuss the affect of caffeine on memory from a long-term of regular consumption.
  7. Mar 25, 2015 #6


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    They consider the effects long term. Apparently studies like the one you want may not exist.

  8. Mar 25, 2015 #7
    Yeah, no doubt caffeine helps if one has not consumed caffeine before, or if the dose has been lower before.

    However I am curious about the long-term effects.
    And became more interested in it due to the following reasons:

    My grand father, a physicist, has consumed quite much coffee during his life (3-5cups per day) and my grand mother, a chemist, none (only some tea). They are the same age. And currently, my grand mother learns new things faster by explanation, and can complete sudokus and kakuros in half of the time my grandfather does. However, I don't know if it has to do with caffeine since I don't know how they succeeded as they were younger.

    A guy called Scott Young completed 4-year MIT degree (from online) in a year, he has a website where he talks about it. I emailed him and he told me he didn't not consume coffee at all, or caffeine regularly.

    We have 3 "super" students in our university. One completed a bachelor and masters in mathematics in 14 months, one completed a theoretical physics bachelor and masters in 3 years, third in 3.5 years. After talking with them, the mathematician didn't consume caffeine, the physicists didn't consume anything regularly either.

    It is not really evidence for anything, but reasons why I am curious about to know more of long-term caffeine consumption effects.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  9. Mar 25, 2015 #8

    It is not clear to me that this study actually shows enhanced memory. What seems to have been enhanced is the process of "pattern separation," which strikes me as having more to do with attention to detail than "deeper level of memory retention."

  10. Mar 25, 2015 #9


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    Some foods (chocolate for example) and medications contain caffeine. When I had the stress test on my heart, I wasn't allowed caffeine, so only water and some fruit juices were allowed, they said even drinks labeled "caffeine free" contained enough caffeine to mess up the test.
  11. Mar 25, 2015 #10

    you are right. But consuming 10mg of caffeine per day from chocolate and food is still quite different from 200mg+.
    One will not get noticeable withdrawal symptoms from such quantities.

    I think if caffeine would have effect on long term memory it would be from higher caffeine consumption.
    And if it was the case, I think reasons could be lower sleep quality and higher cortisol levels.

    Chronic long term stress, which includes having prolonged high cortisol levels is known to cause havoc in the hippocampus: not only slow down neurogenes but may even result in destruction of cells in there.
  12. Mar 25, 2015 #11


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  13. Mar 25, 2015 #12
  14. Mar 25, 2015 #13


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    That you can get as much caffeine from drinking tea as coffee.
  15. Mar 25, 2015 #14
    okay I assume you are posting to rootone
  16. Mar 25, 2015 #15


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    No, it was in response to your post #7.
  17. Mar 26, 2015 #16
    Well I wrote on the topic "coffe/caffeine". I expect its widely known tea has caffeine in it, excluding herbal tea.
    I wrote my grandmother didnt drink coffe, but "only some tea", by which I meant she drank tea rarely.

    I dont see how this has anything to do with the topic though.
  18. Mar 26, 2015 #17

    Doug Huffman

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    I suggest that you re-phrase and refine your topic question to avoid the prejudices associated with genius and perhaps IQ. I drink three 10 oz. cups of coffee every day.
  19. Mar 26, 2015 #18
    I don't see why? Surely alcohol affects a genius mind as well, so why would not caffeine, if it has long-term effects other than increased adeosine-receptors in brain.
    Hence, I wrote about it in the opening post.

    "People who boast about their IQ are losers." -Stephen Hawking
  20. Mar 26, 2015 #19
    To avoid conducting a mere exercise in confirmation bias, you need to gather as much information as you can about non-geniuses, and also morons who didn't or don't drink caffeine. You're already associating the genius of geniuses with absence of caffeine. You need to see if a lack of genius could equally be correlated with absence of caffeine.

    You need to pin this story down to a rock solid source before granting it any consideration at all. Tesla is worse than most historical figures for the cloud of misinformation that surrounds him. If there's any truth in it, the actual story has to be considered as is, and anything about Tesla's mind has to be viewed in the context of his severe OCD.

    The wiki article on neurogenesis has this to say:

    In other words, there's no unequivocal evidence inhibited hippocampal neurogenesis would have much effect. All it might mean, if it means anything, is a person with a 160 I.Q. might possibly test at 165 if they didn't drink caffeine. The difference between your grandfather and grandmother is probably much better accounted for by other factors.
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