Time to start having the morning cup of coffee, if you’re not already:
An exploratory study by Nunez and colleagues at the University of Barcelona’s Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Deu assessed the concomitant effects of regular caffeine and smoking on verbal fluency, processing speed, and working, visual, and verbal memory in 113 individuals: 52 hospitalized patients, aged 18 to 65, with schizophrenia, and a control group of 61 participants without mental disease.
The study indicated that male patients with schizophrenia drank significantly more caffeine than did female patients. There was no difference in caffeine intake between the patient and control groups, or between males and females in the control group. Additionally, patients with schizophrenia used significantly more tobacco than participants in the control group. In both groups, males used more tobacco than females.
The results demonstrated that, for male patients with schizophrenia, caffeine had a significant positive influence on the performance of the more complex tasks of semantic fluency, cognitive speed, working memory, visual memory of color pictures, but not verbal memory.
Caffeine’s positive effects were stronger in younger males than older ones.
No effect was noted in female patients with schizophrenia or in participants in the control group.
Smoking, on the other hand, had a negative influence on semantic fluency in male patients with schizophrenia.
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