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Energy Drinks May Be Linked To Traumatic Brain Injuries

First Posted: Sep 20, 2015 05:34 PM EDT

Previous studies have shown that energy drinks can be particularly dangerous for your cardiovascular health. Yet a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that they may also increase the risk of serious damage to the brain.

"We've found a link between increased brain injuries and the consumption of energy drinks or energy drinks mixed with alcohol," Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael's Hospital, said in a statement. "This is significant because energy drinks have previously been associated with general injuries, but not specifically with traumatic brain injury."

During the study, which was conducted at St. Michaels hospital in Canada, researchers conducted a survey that was given out to more than 10,000 middle and high school students' ages 11 to 20 years old in Ontario in 2013.

The participants were asked about their energy drink consumption and if there had been an instance in which they had experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI), meaning if they had sustained a blow to the head that left them unconscious for longer than 5 minutes and/or resulting in hospitalization for overnight or longer.

Findings revealed that 22 percent of the students said they had experienced a TBI, while 6 percent said they had a TBI in the last year, most of which happened while participants were playing sports.

"It is particularly concerning to see that teens who report a recent TBI are also twice as likely to report consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol," Dr. Robert Mann, senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, said. "While we cannot say this link is causal, it's a behavior that could cause further injury and so we should be looking at this relationship closely in future research."

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