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Neuropsychobiology. 2002;45(3):161-6.

Effects of caffeine on topographic quantitative EEG.

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Institute of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical Faculty, Technical University, Dresden, Germany.


Despite the widespread use of caffeine as a central nervous stimulant, the central pharmacodynamic properties of the drug have not yet been conclusively evaluated in humans. The present study was undertaken to assess the acute effects of caffeine on measures of topographical quantitative electroencephalogram (EEG) in normal subjects. Ten healthy male volunteers (mean age +/- SD 25 +/- 4 years) received placebo and 200 mg of caffeine as powder with oral water solution (caffeine amount = 2 cups of coffee) under randomized, double-blind crossover conditions on two different occasions. Before administration and 30 min afterwards, a 17-channel quantitative EEG was recorded during relaxation with eyes open and closed (15 min each). Caffeine caused a significant reduction of total EEG power at fronto-parieto-occipital and central electrode positions of both hemispheres when the subjects kept their eyes open. Absolute power of the slow and fast alpha and slow beta activities was diminished in various regions of the brain (p < 0.05). The effect was more pronounced with the subjects keeping their eyes open than with eyes closed. It can be concluded that quantitative EEG is a sensitive method to assess the effects of psychostimulants on the human brain. Therefore, in pharmaco-EEG studies, environmental factors such as caffeine have to be excluded.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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