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Study Links Energy Drinks and Brain Damage in Teens

Study Links Energy Drinks and Brain Damage in Teens

September 21, 2015 — Researchers in Canada have found that teenagers who reported a serious head injury in the last year were also significantly more likely to report consuming energy drinks.

The study was published in PLOS One by researchers who surveyed over 10,000 high school students in Ontario in 2013.

The students who reported a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the last year were also seven times more likely to have consumed at least five energy drinks in the last week. They were also twice as likely to report mixing energy drinks and alcohol.

The correlation between energy drinks and head injuries is likely explained by heavy marketing to teenagers who play sports. The lead author of the study told TIME Magazine:

“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.”

About 22% of students said they had experienced a TBI in their lifetimes, and 6% said they had experienced one in the last year. The statistics are very concerning because adolescent brains are still developing and serious injuries can have long-term consequences.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include loss of consciousness, confusion, headache, dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, and cognitive problems affecting memory, attention, concentration, and thinking.

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