AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Is Caffeine a health risk in adolescence





That short burst of energy that one gets from caffeine may result in slower brain developments. SNSF, or the Swiss National Science Foundation, has conducted studies on rats, and have found that in pubescent rats the intake of caffeine has prevented deep sleep and delayed brain development compared to other rats that had no caffeine. This study is very prominent in our lives because adolescent intake of caffeine has increased more then 70% in the last 30 years. In this study the rats that were given caffeine were found to be more cautious and timid, while the rats that were given water were found to be more curious and active. Rats typically get more active as they grow older, but caffeine seemed to change this natural behavior. Rats’ brains are very different from humans so this study is by no means conclusive, but the brain development between rats and humans have some parallels. This study suggest that in adolescence the consumption of caffeine may have negative side effects on the brains development. Caffeine directly affected the sleep patterns of Rat’s, and many scientists believe that the brain develops during these episodes of deep sleep. Scientist believe that by limiting the Rats’s ability to enter this “deep sleep” caffeine is slowing down brain development. Huber, one of the main researchers during this experiment, said, “there is still need for research before one can make any conclusions.” That quick burst of energy that one gets from caffeine in the morning may not be worth the negative side effects that it has on one’s sleep and one’s brain development.



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  1. segolene

    This article has much truth. Teenagers get their caffeine intake through many sources along with coffee. Energy drinks and energy tablets, loaded with caffeine, are other common sources of energy for teens. I completely believe the fact that adolescent intake of caffeine has increased more then 70% in the last 30 years. This is not a very good static for teenagers, considering caffeine has reverse effects, negative sleep and brain development. Here’s a link to video where teenagers themselves talk about their coffee intake:

  2. karbonkim

    I thought this was an interesting post. As a young person, I can attest to the growing caffeine culture. Caffeine is present in many of the drinks available to me such as soft drinks and coffee. Though this study used rats, I believe that it is still notable to compare this to possible neurological and other effects on humans. According to a post I found on the NYU Langone Medical Center website, caffeine has negative effects on children and adolescent nutrition. This is due to the fact that these types of drinks often replace healthier drinks and foods. Another study found that caffeine consumption has been linked to poor sleep, which in turn has led to increased BMI scores for teenagers. I find it interesting that this youth trend in caffeine consumption is growing despite the number negative health effects present. Here is the link to the NYU website and post:

  3. termitelover

    As a high school student I’m constantly seeing kids with coffee to get through classes. This definitely shows some of the more negative side effects that don’t include the famous “it’ll stunt your growth”. Sleep is one of the most important times for growing adolescents and i can see how caffeine consumption can link to slower brain development.

  4. celine2

    This blog post is very interesting to me, because several of my friends are addicted to drinking coffee. Another article I’ve read also has shown the harmful aspects of caffeine for children and adolescents. It supports the claim by pointing out that childhood and adolescence are the “fastest stage(s) of brain development.” Therefore, good sleep is an essential condition for the development of the brain.
    In addition, as we take in caffeine, the body gets used to the intake of caffeine, and more amount is needed to perform its function. This leads to more intake of caffeine, resulting in even unhealthier results for children and adolescents.

  5. biolabski

    I think that this article touches on an important problem that many teenagers face currently. Sleep is an essential component to the well being of children. Here is a link to an article that discusses the many critical benefits of sleep:
    It is important to spread the information to parents that children need more sleep to develop properly and be healthy. If this means less caffeine in their diet then so be it.

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