Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Caffeine Withdrawal Headache Explained: Your Brain On -- And Off -- Caffeine

Date:
May 4, 2009
Source:
University of Vermont
Summary:
Using EEG, ultrasound to examine blood flow velocity and questionnaires, researchers found physiological evidence of the likely mechanism underlying the common "caffeine withdrawal headache," as well as a surprise finding.

Ever miss your daily cup of coffee and subsequently get a pounding headache? According to reports from consumers of coffee and other caffeinated products, caffeine withdrawal is often characterized by a headache, fatigue, feeling less alert, less energetic and experiencing difficulty concentrating.

Related Articles


Researchers from the University of Vermont College of Medicine and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine sought to investigate the biological mechanisms of caffeine withdrawal in a paper published recently in the online edition of the scientific journal Psychopharmacology. They looked at brain electrical activity and blood flow during caffeine withdrawal to examine what was taking place physiologically during acute caffeine abstinence, including the likely mechanism underlying the common "caffeine withdrawal headache."

The group examined caffeine's effects in a double-blind study, which involved the administration of caffeine and placebo capsules. Each participant's response to the caffeine or placebo was measured using three different measures — brain electrical activity via electroencephalogram (EEG); blood flow velocity in the brain via ultrasound; and participants' self-reports of subjective effects via questionnaires.

The team demonstrated that stopping daily caffeine consumption produces changes in cerebral blood flow velocity and quantitative EEG that are likely related to the classic caffeine withdrawal symptoms of headache, drowsiness and decreased alertness. More specifically, acute caffeine abstinence increased brain blood flow, an effect that may account for commonly reported withdrawal headaches. Acute caffeine abstinence also produced changes in EEG (increased theta rhythm) that has previously been linked to the common withdrawal symptom of fatigue. Consistent with this, volunteers reported increases in measures of "tired," "fatigue," "sluggish" and "weary." Overall, these findings provide the most rigorous demonstration to date of physiological effects of caffeine withdrawal.

The researchers also discovered a provocative and somewhat unexpected finding — that there were no net benefits associated with chronic caffeine administration.

"In addition to looking at caffeine withdrawal, this rigorous design also permitted comparison of chronic caffeine maintenance with chronic placebo maintenance, which provides unique information about the extent to which there are net beneficial effects of daily caffeine administration," said Stacey Sigmon, Ph.D., research associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont and first author on the study. "In contrast to what most of us coffee lovers would think, our study showed no difference between when the participant was maintained on chronic placebo and when the participant was stabilized on chronic caffeine administration. What this means is that consuming caffeine regularly does not appear to produce any net beneficial effects, based on the measures we examined."

Co-authors on the study, which was a collaboration between Sigmon and Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, include Griffiths, as well as Ronald Herning, Warren Better and Jean Cadet of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Molecular Neuropsychiatry section.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Vermont. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Vermont. "Caffeine Withdrawal Headache Explained: Your Brain On -- And Off -- Caffeine." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090501162805.htm>.
University of Vermont. (2009, May 4). Caffeine Withdrawal Headache Explained: Your Brain On -- And Off -- Caffeine. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090501162805.htm
University of Vermont. "Caffeine Withdrawal Headache Explained: Your Brain On -- And Off -- Caffeine." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090501162805.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins