Apparently, caffeine damages brain development in children and adolescents. Scientists discovered evidence of this in experiments with rats.
In the past 30 years, the consumption of caffeine among children and adolescents has increased by more than 70 percent. This is not only due to cola and coffee, but above all to the popularity of so-called energy drinks. Scientists have now found evidence in animal experiments that high caffeine consumption in children and adolescents disrupts brain development. “Because of the many connections, the brain of children is incredibly plastic,” explains Reto Huber from the Children’s Hospital in Zurich. It then develops further during puberty: “This is an optimization that probably happens in deep sleep. Important synapses are expanded, the others dismantled, so the network becomes more efficient and the brain more powerful. ”If the deep sleep phase in adolescence is disturbed by increased caffeine consumption, brain development does not proceed properly either. The scientists working with Reto Huber – to prove this – made an experiment with rats. They administered caffeine to pubescent young rats in an amount equivalent to around three to four cups of coffee a day for humans. The researchers measured the animals’ brain waves. In fact, the caffeine intake changed the sleep behavior of the young rats. The deep sleep phase was disturbed long after consuming the awakening. In addition, the brains of the rats that had consumed caffeine had hardly changed at the end of the experiment, and many nerve connections were retained that had changed in comparison animals that had only drunk water. The researchers concluded that the caffeine and the disturbed deep sleep delayed brain development and maturation. And if this is true of rats, then most likely also of human children and adolescents.