Friday, August 30, 2013
Is caffeine a PED for scientists?
Is caffeine a PED? In the Information Age, mental performance is critical to many job functions. For scientists, it could mean the difference between making a grant deadline or not, solving a structure, or submitting a paper before your competitors do. So what's wrong with drinking a little extra coffee on a given day in order to be a little sharper? Indeed, many people drink coffee routinely every day, and it's rarely banned. (The exception to prove the rule being the dictum from the Latter-Day Saints that drinking hot drinks, such as coffee, is unhealthy.) You could argue that intent is a determining factor in the sense that it's a PED if you consume it too enhance performance, as in for example to stay awake later or to wake up in the morning?! But isn't that just the way that most people consume caffeine? I drink three double espresso's/day. That's approximately 350mg of caffeine and fortunately well below my LD50 of approximately 15 grams. It's legal, it's likely a PED, but I'm not giving it up!