Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Energy Drinks and Alcohol a Dangerous Mix

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Energy Drinks and Alcohol a Dangerous Mix

Article excerpt

Drinking highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages triggers changes in the adolescent brain similar to taking cocaine, and the consequences last into adulthood as an altered ability to deal with rewarding substances, according to a Purdue University study.

Researcher Richard van Rijn looked at the effects of highly caffeinated energy drinks and highly caffeinated alcohol in adolescent mice. Changes seen in mouse brains with drugs of abuse have been shown to correlate to those in humans in many drug studies.

These energy drinks can contain as much as 10 times the caffeine as soda and are often marketed to adolescents. But little is known about the health effects of the drinks, especially when consumed with alcohol during adolescence.

Van Rijn and graduate student Meridith Robins found that when high levels of caffeine were mixed with alcohol and given to adolescent mice, they showed physical and neurochemical signs similar to mice given cocaine.

"It seems the two substances together change the neurochemistry in their brains," van Rijn said. …

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