Energy Drinks and Head Injuries Linked in Teens
A study published in September 2015 in PloS One revealed that teens who downed five or more energy drinks in the past week were seven times more likely to have had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past year compared to teens who didn’t drink these “boosters.” Similarly, consuming energy drinks mixed with alcohol raised the likelihood of having had a TBI within the past year.
The study did not establish whether energy drink consumption predisposed teens to brain injuries or whether having a TBI somehow led teens to consume energy drinks — possibly as a coping mechanism.
Drinking energy drinks could interfere with a teen’s recovery from a TBI, says lead study author Michael Cusimano, MD, a neurosurgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital and professor of neurosurgery at the University of Toronto in Canada. “Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine and change the chemical state of the body, which can prevent people from getting back on track after a brain injury,” Dr. Cusimano notes.