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Study shows energy drink 'cocktails' lead to increased injury risk
Date:11/4/2007

y of 4,271 college students from 10 universities. Students were asked approximately 300 questions about alcohol use, its consequences, and other health risk behaviors.

Of students who reported drinking alcohol in the past 30 days, 24 percent said they consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks. Students who were male, white, intramural athletes, Greek society members or pledges, or older were significantly more likely to consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks. OBrien says that this is not surprising since the energy drink companies typically tout non-essential ingredients like taurine which is rumored to raise exercise capacity, and ginseng, which some companies claim enhances libido. The main ingredient in energy drinks is caffeine. OBrien uses the analogy that mixing caffeine (a stimulant) with alcohol (a depressant), is like getting into a car and stepping on the gas pedal and the brake at the same time.

Students whose motor skills, visual reaction times, and judgment are impaired by alcohol may not perceive that they are intoxicated as readily when theyre also ingesting a stimulant, said OBrien. Only the symptoms of drunkenness are reduced but not the drunkenness. They cant tell if theyre drunk; they cant tell if someone else is drunk. So they get hurt, or they hurt someone else.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits caffeine to 65 milligrams per serving of a food or beverage. Since energy drinks are currently not regulated by the FDA, they can contain as much as 300 milligrams of caffeine in a single serving.

Twenty-nine state attorneys general have already condemned alcoholic energy drinks, said OBrien. We believe the FDA has a responsibility to investigate the health risks of energy drink cocktails, and to make that information available to consumers. Students should be informed about the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks, as part of an overall program to reduce high-risk drinking and its consequences. An
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Contact: shkoontz@wfubmc.edu
shkoontz@wfubmc.edu
336-716-2415
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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