a block of wood under the brakes

Given how many double-shot lattes I drink, I should know more about how caffeine works. Lifehacker discusses the book, Buzz: The Science and Lore of Alcohol and Caffeine:

More important than just fitting in, though, caffeine actually binds to those receptors in efficient fashion, but doesn’t activate them–they’re plugged up by caffeine’s unique shape and chemical makeup. With those receptors blocked, the brain’s own stimulants, dopamine and glutamate, can do their work more freely–“Like taking the chaperones out of a high school dance,” Braun writes in an email. In the book, he ultimately likens caffeine’s powers to “putting a block of wood under one of the brain’s primary brake pedals.”

I love how nicely car metaphors lend themselves to various subjects.

It looks like caffeine isn’t necessarily helping me as someone in the creative field:

The general consensus on caffeine studies shows that it can enhance work output, but mainly in certain types of work. For tired people who are doing work that’s relatively straightforward, that doesn’t require lots of subtle or abstract thinking, coffee has been shown to help increase output and quality. Caffeine has also been seen to improve memory creation and retention when it comes to “declarative memory,” the kind students use to remember lists or answers to exam questions.

Found via PSFK

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