Energy Drinks Tied to More Teen Brain Injuries
There may be a link between energy drink consumption by teenagers and traumatic brain injury (TBI), suggests new research published in the journal _PLOS ONE. _
Researchers in Toronto analyzed information from a survey of more than 10,000 middle and high school students between the ages of 11 and 20 in Ontario in 2013. Students were asked about their energy drink consumption, as well as whether they had experienced a TBI, meaning they had sustained a blow to the head that left them unconscious for at least five minutes, or resulted in an overnight hospital stay.
The results showed that about 22 percent of students said they had experienced a TBI in their lifetimes, and 6 percent said they'd had a TBI in the last year. Most of these injuries occurred while the teens were playing sports.
In their analysis, the researchers also compared the teens' odds of having a TBI in the past year with their odds of not having one. They found that for teens who had consumed energy drinks in the past week, the increase in odds of having a TBI was five times greater than it was for teens who didn't consume energy drinks at all.
The researchers suggested that energy drinks might interfere with the body's ability to heal from a TBI because the high levels of caffeine may change the chemical state of the body. They also suggest that that consuming energy drinks might increase a person's chances of experiencing another TBI.
They noted, however, that the study found only an association between energy drinks and TBI, and not proof that drinking energy drinks increases teens’ risk for TBI.
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