Using Caffeine and Taurine to Improve Memory Retention in Dugesia Dorotcephala

Friday, February 17, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Alex Jayyosi, Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science, Worcester, MA
Alzheimers disease, the most common form of dementia, affects a significant portion of the elderly population in the US and globally. Additionally, five percent of adults over 50 years of age show early onset symptoms of this disease. Research in the field of brain regeneration has resulted in reports describing the potential beneficial effects of caffeine on memory enhancement. However, high doses of caffeine have been shown to cause adverse effects to the cardiovascular system. It is hypothesized that taurine can be used to inhibit the detrimental properties of high doses of caffeine. Dugesia dorotocephala (planaria), have the unique ability to reconstruct completely after major damage, making them excellent models to test memory persistence. This study used planaria, subjected to varying doses of caffeine (10 micro-moles) and taurine (730 micro-moles), to mimic similar neurological regrowth in human subjects. Results have revealed that planaria, treated with larger volumes of caffeine than taurine, display improved memory retention and performance versus control groups. Future research should look into studying caffeine and taurine ratios to apply to human models.