Teens who drink too much caffeine could ultimately undermine their brains' abilities to develop, Swiss researchers found.
And "too much" is defined as the equivalent of three cups of coffee each day — or three cans of energy drink, or one large bottle of Coca-Cola, The Daily Mail reported.
The problem is the caffeine cuts into deep-sleep time, when the brain kicks into high development gear for maturing individuals.
Research has shown that humans have high-intensity deep sleep needs during the growth spurt years, when brains speed toward full development. And as scientists just learned, tests in rats revealed that caffeine consumption actually slowed the mammals' brain development and ability to mature.
The study was conducted by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Scientists with the organization say caffeine consumption by teens has increased by 70 percent in the last three decades.
Moreover, researches with the University Children's Hospital Zurich reported that rats in their maturity stage — the pubescent years — who were given the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee each day experienced reduced deep sleep and delayed brain development.
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