September 21, 2015 — A recent study in Canada has found that teenagers who consume energy drinks are also more likely to get head injuries.
The researchers surveyed more than 10,000 middle and high school students (11-20 years old) living in Ontario in 2013. The study was published in PLOS One.
Students who said reported a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the last year were also seven times more likely to report consuming at least five energy drinks in the last week. Teens who experienced a TBI in the last year were also twice as likely to report mixing energy drinks with alcohol.
The correlation is likely explained by marketing of energy drinks to young adults who play sports. Study author Gabriela Ilie of St. Michael’s Hospital told TIME:
“We think the common denominator between traumatic brain injuries and energy drinks is sports. Marketing campaigns for energy drinks usually are carefully crafted to include sponsorship of events that are very appealing to this age group, like snowboarding.”
Researchers were also concerned that the highly-caffeinated beverages could potentially interfere with recovery. Brain damage in teenagers is particularly concerning because their brains are still developing.
Brain damage can cause loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, memory problems, and trouble with attention and thinking.
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