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