HEALTH SNIP­PETS En­ergy drinks linked to se­ri­ous trau­matic brain in­juries in teens: Study

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A new study from Canada says teenagers who drink en­ergy drinks a lot are more likely to get head in­juries than those who don’t con­sume the highly caf­feinated bev­er­ages.

There was a link be­tween en­ergy drink consumption and hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced a trau­matic brain in­jury (TBI). Re­searchers found that teens who re­ported suf­fer­ing a trau­matic brain in­jury in the past year were seven times like­lier to have con­sumed at least five en­ergy drinks in the pre­vi­ous week than teens who had no history of trau­matic brain in­jury.

Pub­lished in the jour­nal PLOS ONE, the study also found teens who re­ported sus­tain­ing a trau­matic brain in­jury were twice as likely to have mixed en­ergy drinks with al­co­hol, com­pared with teens who re­ported sus­tain­ing a TBI more than a year ago. In ad­di­tion, teens who got a TBI while play­ing team sports like hockey had dou­ble the odds of drink­ing en­ergy drinks in the last year, com­pared to teens who suf­fered a TBI from other in­juries like fights or a car accident.

The re­port looked at 2013 sur­vey in­for­ma­tion from 10,272 stu­dents from 7th to 12th grade (ages 11 to 20).

“We think the com­mon de­nom­i­na­tor be­tween trau­matic brain in­juries and en­ergy drinks is sports,” says study au­thor Gabriela Ilie, of the di­vi­sion of Neu­ro­surgery and In­jury Preven­tion Re­search Of­fice at St Michael’s Hos­pi­tal. “Mar­ket­ing cam­paigns for en­ergy drinks usu­ally are care­fully crafted to in­clude spon­sor­ship of events that are very ap­peal­ing to this age group, like snow­board­ing.”

The re­ported use of en­ergy drinks and al­co­hol among young peo­ple is of spe­cial con­cern, the study au­thors say. Prior re­search has sug­gested that caf­feine can mask the ef­fects of al­co­hol, making it more dif­fi­cult for a per­son to de­ter­mine when they should stop drink­ing.

How­ever, the study found only an as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween en­ergy drinks and TBI; the re­searchers said they don’t know which hap­pened first, and can­not prove that drink­ing en­ergy drinks in­creases teens’ risk for TBI. Ilie says the ef­fects of en­ergy drinks on a healthy brain are still very lit­tle un­der­stood, and more re­search is needed to understand the con­nec­tion.

Re­port says an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance get­ting worse glob­ally

The Cen­ter for Dis­ease Dy­nam­ics, Eco­nomics, and Pol­icy (CDDEP) has re­ported alarm­ing an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance rates world­wide. In a new re­port, ti­tled The State of The World’s An­tibi­otics 2015, the think tank has put to­gether in­ter­ac­tive maps that show re­sis­tance trends by coun­try and a pol­icy doc­u­ment that tracks the use of an­tibi­otics and of­fers steps for curb­ing their overuse.

Ra­manan Laxmi­narayan, PhD, CDDEP di­rec­tor, said in a press release that, taken to­gether, the maps and the re­port pin­point an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance prob­lems out­side of de­vel­oped na­tions: in coun­tries where the drugs are eas­ily avail­able but na­tional strate­gies to con­trol their use don’t ex­ist or are just be­ing launched.

The in­ter­ac­tive maps show drug-re­sis­tance trends in 39 coun­tries and an­tibi­otic use in 69 na­tions. They track in­fec­tions caused by 12 com­mon and some­times lethal bac­te­ria, in­clud­ing Escherichia coli, Sal­mo­nella and me­thi­cillin-re­sis­tant Staphy­lo­coc­cus au­reus (MRSA).

In show­ing rates of an­tibi­otic use, the maps demon­strate that hu­man and an­i­mal use of the drugs is ris­ing dra­mat­i­cally in mid­dle-in­come coun­tries—es­pe­cially China, In­dia, Brazil, and South Africa. CDDEP said though the per-capita use in those coun­tries is still less than half of the US level, the in­creases are be­ing spurred by in­creased pros­per­ity. For ex­am­ple, in many coun­tries, peo­ple can treat their own coughs and colds with an­tibi­otics eas­ily bought from phar­ma­cies and shops with­out a prescription.

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