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Energy Drinks & TBIs

Energy drinks are dangerousAccording to a study published in “PLOS ONE”, teens who reported a traumatic brain injury in the past year were seven times more likely to have drunk at least five energy drinks in the past week than those with no history of TBI.  Researchers also found that teens who reported sustaining TBI within the past year were at least twice as likely to have consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol than teens who reported sustaining a TBI more than a year before.

While energy drinks have been associated with general injuries, this is the first study to actively explore the link between energy drinks and TBI.  Dr. Michael Cusimano, a researcher in the study and a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, says that energy drink consumption could interfere with recovery efforts for teens who have sustained a TBI.  This is particularly troubling for teens, since their brains are still developing.  At a time when the consumption of energy drinks continues to rise among teens in Canada and the US, the study also suggests that these drinks are particularly linked with people who play sports.  This is hardly surprising, as advertisements for energy drinks often feature prominent athletes.  Teens who have reported suffering a TBI in the past year while playing sports were twice as likely to consume energy drinks as teens who reported a TBI from other injuries in the same time period.

Data for the study was collected by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s 2013 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey.  Approximately 10,000 students between the ages of 11 and 20 participated in the self-administered, in-classroom survey.  TBI was defined as an injury that results in the loss of consciousness for at least five minutes, or being hospitalized for at least one night.  The number of teens who report mixing energy drinks with alcohol is also particularly troublesome, as it’s a line of behavior that is not only horrible for your body, but can also lead to poor decision making that could lead to additional TBIs.  About 22 percent of all students surveyed reported they’d experienced a TBI, with sports injuries accounting for almost half of TBI cases in the past year.

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