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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 55 (2013) 1, 57 - 62

Short report

Geen effect van energiedrank op de cognitieve prestaties van jongeren

P. Wilhelm, M.A.C. van Diepen, L. Nieuwenhuis, T.L.A. Boulogne

The effect of energy drinks on the cognitive performance of adolescents – P. Wilhelm, M.A.C. van Diepen, L. Nieuwenhuis, T.L.A. Boulogne –
background Manufacturers of energy drinks claim that their drinks can have a positive effect on cognitive performance. So far, there is little evidence that energy drinks do in fact enhance the cognitive performance of adolescents.
aim To find out, via a series of tests, whether the manufacturers of energy drinks are justified in claiming that their drinks improve the cognitive performance of young people.
method In a quasi-experimental design a number of young people (aged 15-18) were divided into three groups: a control group, each of whose members drank water beforehand; a placebo group whose members drank a glass of sugar-free lemonade, and an experimental group whose members drank a currently available energy drink (Megaforce). Pencil and paper tests were administered to the members of each group in order to measure attention and concentration, learning ability, memory, verbal and numerical reasoning, numerical aptitude and vocabulary.
results No significant differences between groups were found that could solely be ascribed to the effect of energy drink.
conclusion Given the warnings about the potential health-risks of energy drinks and the fact that no evidence was found for positive effects of energy drinks on the cognitive performance of young people, we are of the opinion that youngsters should stay away from such drinks.

keywords adolescents, cognitive effects, energy drink, placebo-effect