Caffeine induces positive effects on sustained attention, although studies assessing the acute effects of low caffeine dose (<75 mg) on sustained attention are limited and use short-term tests. Therefore, we investigated the acute effects of a 60 mg dose of caffeine on sustained attention in tests lasting up to 45 minutes using 82 low or non-caffeine-consuming healthy male ( n=41) and female ( n=41) adults aged between 40 and 60 years. Vigilance was measured using Mackworth Clock test, Rapid Visual Information Processing Test, adaptive tracking test, saccadic eye movement and attention switch test. Effects on mood and fatigue were analysed using Bond and Lader and Caffeine Research visual analogue scales, and Samn-Perelli questionnaire. Saliva sampling was performed for both compliance and caffeine pharmacokinetic analysis. Administration of a 60 mg caffeine dose resulted in a significant improvement in sustained attention compared with the placebo. Also a significantly improved peak saccadic velocity and reaction time performance was found, and decreased error rate. Significantly increased feelings of alertness, contentment and overall mood after caffeine treatment compared with placebo were observed. This study demonstrated that in healthy adult subjects oral administration of a single 60 mg caffeine dose elicited a clear enhancement of sustained attention and alertness, measured both in multiple objective performances and in subjective scales.
Keywords: Caffeine; alertness; mood; sustained attention tests.