People often enjoy some caffeine to make themselves more alert and to give themselves a boost of energy. Medline Plus writes that caffeine is found in tea, coffee, soft drinks, chocolate, kola nuts, and certain medicines. Coffee has many effects on the body's metabolism, which includes stimulating the central nervous system. In a news release on Sept. 24, 2013, the Swiss National Science Foundation reported, "Caffeine consumption slows down brain development."
The brain matures fastest during puberty. In a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), when pubescent rats were administered caffeine, the maturing processes in their brains was delayed. There has been concern about possible health risks caused in young consumers by caffeine, which is found in a myriad of popular energy drinks.
Researchers led by Reto Huber of the University Children’s Hospital Zurich say in pubescent rodents, caffeine intake equaling three to four cups of coffee per day in humans results in reduced deep sleep and delayed brain development. During puberty the brain goes through a delicate maturing phase.
Although there are many differences between the rat brain and that of humans, the many parallels which are seen in how the brains develop raises the question as to whether caffeine intake for children and young adults really is harmless or whether it might be wiser to abstain from consuming caffeine. More research is needed to clear this issue up.