“There has been relatively little research specifically aimed at revealing the effects of caffeine in young people, and much more work is urgently needed,” says Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research, School of Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway. “In addition to the risks of physical dependence and withdrawal, caffeine has been found to have a negative effect on the academic performance of children and adolescents. Caffeine consumption by youngsters can set the stage for a life-long habit of caffeine use, with the potential for long-term health effects, and may also increase the likelihood that they will use other drugs, both licit and illicit, during adolescence and later in life.”
Fueling the growing controversy and the dangers associated with these so-called energy drinks are two trends: targeted marketing of the beverages to young consumers (offering the drinks in fruit flavors and packaging them in colorful cans); and the increasing popularity of alcoholic energy drinks, such as Four Loko, which contains both caffeine and the alcohol equivalent of as much as three beers.
The potential dangers of caffeine-enhanced beverages are especially worrying for adolescents and children who may experience even stronger caffeine-related effects than adults due to their smaller stature and the potentially higher caffeine concentrations in their blood after consuming these beverages. The physical and psychoactive effects of caffeine can include increased blood pressure, dependence and associated withdrawal symptoms such as headache, sleep disturbance, increased daytime sleepiness, and irritability, and the potential to compound emotional problems such as anxiety, depression, and anger.
Journal of Caffeine Research will be a much-needed, authoritative source on the state-of-the-art in caffeine science and the effects of caffeine on human health. The Journal will publish original research articles and commentaries that discuss and debate the possible effects of caffeine on a wide range of diseases and conditions, including mood disorders, neurological disorders, cognitive performance, cardiovascular disease, and sports performance. It will explore all aspects of caffeine science, including the biochemistry of caffeine, its actions in the human body, its benefits, dangers, and contraindications, caffeine addiction and withdrawal, and the potential health-related effects of caffeine across the human lifespan, from prenatal exposure to end-of-life. A full description of the Journal is available online.
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