Alcohol, Energy Drink Mix Impairs Behavioral Inhibition

More studies needed to determine the risks of mixing alcohol with energy drinks

TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmED) increases self-reported stimulation and impairs behavioral response inhibition compared to alcohol alone, according to a study published online April 19 in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

Cecile A. Marczinski, Ph.D., from Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, and colleagues compared the neurocognitive and subjective measures of intoxication in 56 participants who consumed alcohol alone or AmED. Participants were randomized to receive 0.65 g/kg alcohol, 3.57 ml/kg energy drink, AmED, or a placebo drink. The response of inhibitory and activational mechanisms of behavioral control were measured by performance on a cued go/no-go task.

The investigators found that alcohol alone impaired inhibitory and activational mechanisms of behavioral control, and coadministration of the energy drink with alcohol counteracted some of the alcohol-induced impairment of response activation, but not response inhibition. Coadministration of AmED increased self-reported stimulation compared to alcohol alone, but did not affect other subjective effects, such as liking the drink, impairment, and level of intoxication.

"Given the dramatic escalation in the popularity of AmED among young people, more controlled laboratory studies are needed to determine if AmED are escalating risky drinking practices in a demographic group with high levels of binge drinking," the authors write.

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