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Psychostimulant and other effects of caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old children.
J Child Psychol Psychiatry 2006; 47(2):135-42JC

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Recent research on adults suggests that "beneficial" psychostimulant effects of caffeine are found only in the context of caffeine deprivation; that is, caffeine improves psychomotor and cognitive performance in habitual caffeine consumers following caffeine withdrawal. Furthermore, no net benefit is gained because performance is merely restored to "baseline" levels. The effects of caffeine in children is an under-researched area, with only a handful of studies being carried out in the US where children's consumption of caffeine appears to be lower on average than in the UK.

METHOD

Twenty-six children aged between 9 and 11 years completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Habitual caffeine consumers (mean daily caffeine intake = 109 mg) and non/low-consumers (12 mg) were tested on two separate days following overnight caffeine abstinence. On each day measures of cognitive performance (a number search task), and self-rated mood and physical symptoms, including alertness and headache, were taken before and after administration of 50 mg of caffeine, or placebo.

RESULTS

At baseline (before treatment), the habitual consumers showed poorer performance on the cognitive test than did the non/low-consumers, although no significant differences in mood or physical symptoms were found between the two groups. There were significant habit by treatment (caffeine vs. placebo) interactions for accuracy of performance and headache, and a significant main effect of treatment for alertness. Post hoc comparisons showed that caffeine administration improved the consumers' accuracy on the cognitive test (to near the level displayed by the non/low-consumers at baseline), but that it had no significant effect on the non/low-consumers' performance. In the consumers, caffeine prevented an increase in headache that occurred after placebo, and it increased alertness relative to placebo. Again, however, caffeine did not significantly affect levels of headache or alertness in the non/low-consumers.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that, like adults, children probably derive little or no benefit from habitual caffeine intake, although negative symptoms associated with overnight caffeine withdrawal are avoided or rapidly reversed by subsequent caffeine consumption.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, 8 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TN, UK.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

16423144

Citation

Heatherley, Susan V., et al. "Psychostimulant and Other Effects of Caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old Children." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, vol. 47, no. 2, 2006, pp. 135-42.
Heatherley SV, Hancock KM, Rogers PJ. Psychostimulant and other effects of caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old children. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006;47(2):135-42.
Heatherley, S. V., Hancock, K. M., & Rogers, P. J. (2006). Psychostimulant and other effects of caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines, 47(2), pp. 135-42.
Heatherley SV, Hancock KM, Rogers PJ. Psychostimulant and Other Effects of Caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old Children. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006;47(2):135-42. PubMed PMID: 16423144.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Psychostimulant and other effects of caffeine in 9- to 11-year-old children. AU - Heatherley,Susan V, AU - Hancock,Katie M F, AU - Rogers,Peter J, PY - 2006/1/21/pubmed PY - 2006/6/13/medline PY - 2006/1/21/entrez SP - 135 EP - 42 JF - Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines JO - J Child Psychol Psychiatry VL - 47 IS - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND: Recent research on adults suggests that "beneficial" psychostimulant effects of caffeine are found only in the context of caffeine deprivation; that is, caffeine improves psychomotor and cognitive performance in habitual caffeine consumers following caffeine withdrawal. Furthermore, no net benefit is gained because performance is merely restored to "baseline" levels. The effects of caffeine in children is an under-researched area, with only a handful of studies being carried out in the US where children's consumption of caffeine appears to be lower on average than in the UK. METHOD: Twenty-six children aged between 9 and 11 years completed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Habitual caffeine consumers (mean daily caffeine intake = 109 mg) and non/low-consumers (12 mg) were tested on two separate days following overnight caffeine abstinence. On each day measures of cognitive performance (a number search task), and self-rated mood and physical symptoms, including alertness and headache, were taken before and after administration of 50 mg of caffeine, or placebo. RESULTS: At baseline (before treatment), the habitual consumers showed poorer performance on the cognitive test than did the non/low-consumers, although no significant differences in mood or physical symptoms were found between the two groups. There were significant habit by treatment (caffeine vs. placebo) interactions for accuracy of performance and headache, and a significant main effect of treatment for alertness. Post hoc comparisons showed that caffeine administration improved the consumers' accuracy on the cognitive test (to near the level displayed by the non/low-consumers at baseline), but that it had no significant effect on the non/low-consumers' performance. In the consumers, caffeine prevented an increase in headache that occurred after placebo, and it increased alertness relative to placebo. Again, however, caffeine did not significantly affect levels of headache or alertness in the non/low-consumers. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that, like adults, children probably derive little or no benefit from habitual caffeine intake, although negative symptoms associated with overnight caffeine withdrawal are avoided or rapidly reversed by subsequent caffeine consumption. SN - 0021-9630 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/16423144/Psychostimulant_and_other_effects_of_caffeine_in_9__to_11_year_old_children_ L2 - https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01457.x DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -