Below is a copy of my term paper written for my Cell Biology course. I wrote it in a slightly less-formal style of scientific journalism, but didn’t spare on the technical details. Feedback, good or bad, is appreciated.
The Effects of the Consumption of Methylxanthines on the Adenosine Receptor System
Every year, humans around the world consume an estimated 10 to 20 billion pounds of coffee. (Gale) While some may drink it for the flavor, one can imagine it is probably the psychoactive stimulant, caffeine, that is the puppetmaster, beguiling we Americans to consume 200 mg (approx. 2 cups of coffee), and our northern European counterparts, up to 400 mg, every day. (ibid) For most people, it provides a useful mental edge: sharpening their focus and providing a subtle kick-in-the-pants of chemical motivation. Caffeinating over that sharpened-edge, however, can lead to disorders of sleep, anxiety, and even a jittery anxious quasi-hallucinatory state known as “caffeine intoxication”, all noted by the DSM-IV. (ibid) The other dark side is the silent escalation of tolerance to caffeine’s beneficial effects. Prolonged, regular exposure of caffeine can set up the consumer for an uncomfortable withdrawal period, ripe with headaches, myalgia, fatigue, and anxiety. (Ramkumar et al.) Continue reading