Agriculture
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Watering the Air
Seeds of the Future
Amphibians
Poison Dart Frogs
Frogs and Toads
Tree Frogs
Animals
Bee Heat Cooks Invaders
Life on the Down Low
Assembling the Tree of Life
Behavior
The Science Fair Circuit
Flower family knows its roots
Mice sense each other's fear
Birds
Roadrunners
Kiwis
Eagles
Chemistry and Materials
Silk’s superpowers
The metal detector in your mouth
Putting the Squeeze on Toothpaste
Computers
New twists for phantom limbs
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Batteries built by Viruses
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Early Birds Ready to Rumble
Ferocious Growth Spurts
A Big, Weird Dino
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
A Volcano Wakes Up
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Environment
Plant Gas
Whale Watch
Pollution Detective
Finding the Past
Stone Age Sole Survivors
Stone Tablet May Solve Maya Mystery
A Long Haul
Fish
Great White Shark
Tilapia
Manta Rays
Food and Nutrition
In Search of the Perfect French Fry
A Taste for Cheese
Eat Out, Eat Smart
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Who vs. That vs. Which
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Deep-space dancers
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Electricity's Spark of Life
Football Scrapes and Nasty Infections
Cell Phone Tattlers
Invertebrates
Lice
Lobsters
Dust Mites
Mammals
Rabbits
African Hippopotamus
Kangaroos
Parents
Children and Media
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Powering Ball Lightning
Spin, Splat, and Scramble
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Plants
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
City Trees Beat Country Trees
Getting the dirt on carbon
Reptiles
Caimans
Boa Constrictors
Turtles
Space and Astronomy
Solving a Sedna Mystery
A Darker, Warmer Red Planet
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Technology and Engineering
Spinach Power for Solar Cells
Weaving with Light
Young Scientists Take Flight
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Transportation
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Revving Up Green Machines
Middle school science adventures
Weather
Science loses out when ice caps melt
Warmest Year on Record
Watering the Air
Add your Article

The Buzz about Caffeine

You're drinking lots of cola at a party, when suddenly it hits: You! Are! Hyper! You jump around. You talk too fast. You laugh so hard that soda squirts out of your nose. Later, you can't fall asleep, and the next day, you're tired and feel awful. Sound familiar? Most kids already have a ton of energy, but kids who drink a lot of cola often end up even more wired than usual. The soda's high sugar content is partly to blame, but cola also usually includes an energy-sparking chemical called caffeine. Like cola, coffee is full of caffeine. That's why many adults drink it first thing in the morning to help them wake up. The chemical is also naturally found in tea, chocolate, and hot cocoa. Because people crave the caffeine kick—and may even become addicted to it—food manufacturers add the chemical to many other sodas as well as to energy drinks and snacks. Parents and teachers usually try to keep kids away from caffeine. But is this chemical actually bad for your health? The answer is complicated. Good caffeine, bad caffeine First the plus side. Some studies have shown that caffeine might help people respond to things more quickly and even run longer. Scientists have also recently found evidence that caffeinated coffee and tea can help protect the heart, brain, and other organs from disease. On the other hand, too much caffeine can make people anxious and unable to sleep. A 2003 survey of more than 200 students in grades seven through nine found that kids who drank a 16-ounce bottle of cola slept less, woke up more often, and felt more tired the next day than kids who drank less caffeine. This is worrisome because sleeping well is an important part of staying healthy (See "Getting Enough Sleep"). Caffeine can also raise your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, and make you feel more stressed, which may eventually lead to heart disease and other health problems. "If you feel a lot of pressure at school, caffeine is going to make you feel even more anxious," says Jim Lane, a psychologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Love it or hate it, caffeine is hard to avoid. Coffee shops crowd city streets and malls. Vending machines offer caffeinated sodas in schools. And even though caffeine-free versions of coffee, tea, and cola are widely available, more than 80 percent of adults consume caffeine regularly in North America, according to a 2004 study, mostly in the form of coffee. And kids today are drinking more and more soda, caffeinated or not. Some 30 percent of 8-to-13-year-olds surveyed by researchers at the University of Minnesota said that they drink soft drinks every day, according to a study published last year. And more probably would if they could: 95 percent of kids in the survey said they "like" or "strongly like" the taste of soda. You're feeling sleepy . . . NOT! Caffeine works by blocking the effects of a sleep-inducing substance produced by your body called adenosine. The substance accumulates inside you throughout the day. As adenosine levels rise, you become calm and drowsy. Later, as you sleep, adenosine levels drop. When you wake up, the cycle starts again. By not allowing adenosine to build up, caffeine keeps you feeling fired up—as if you're ready to face a tiger attack. Caffeine raises the amount of sugar in your bloodstream, even if there is no sugar in your caffeinated drink. That's what gives you extra energy. The chemical also increases your blood pressure, which may make you feel as if your chest is pounding. But if you consume too much caffeine, you will probably feel nervous and sick. Caffeine claims for brains People say they like caffeine because it makes them feel alert. In experiments, people who are given caffeine say they feel more awake than do people who have been given a caffeinefree pill or beverage instead, says psychologist Peter Rogers of the University of Bristol in England. In other studies, caffeine appears to shorten reaction times: People press a button more quickly after seeing a symbol appear on a computer screen after they've had some caffeine. On the basis of such findings, it's tempting to conclude that caffeine helps people respond more quickly and pay better attention. However, says Rogers, there is another, more likely, conclusion. Studies show that the people who do better on tests after taking caffeine tend to be regular caffeine users already. In other words, they are probably addicted to the chemical. Taking caffeine away from habitual users causes them to have symptoms of withdrawal, such as headaches and sleepiness. It also slows their reaction times. So, when these people are given their daily dose of caffeine, they feel better and perform better on reaction-time tests than they do without it. People who aren't addicted, on the other hand, may feel jittery and more awake after taking caffeine, but the chemical doesn't improve their performance on reaction-time tests. And regular caffeine users who get caffeine before the tests aren't any more alert or quicker to react than people who don't normally use the chemical and haven't taken any. Giving athletes a jolt Caffeine has become popular with exercisers looking for an extra boost of energy. Research shows, however, that caffeine helps only athletes who are already in top condition and only when they are pushing themselves as hard as possible, says Terry Graham, a caffeine researcher at the University of Guelph in Canada. In one study, Graham challenged nine runners to run on a treadmill at a very fast pace. On average, these athletes were able to run for about 32 minutes without caffeine. With caffeine in their systems, they ran 7 to 10 minutes longer. Though caffeine may help the performance of world-class athletes, it may harm the health of people who are overweight. Graham's other research has shown that caffeine interferes with the body's ability to process sugars, which may lead to a disease called type 2 diabetes. Kids, who tend to be smaller than adults, feel the various effects of caffeine more strongly than adults do. And just like adults, kids and teens can become addicted to the chemical. A can of caffeinated soda every now and then is probably OK, nutritionists say, but sip carefully!

The Buzz about Caffeine
The Buzz about Caffeine








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™