Memory Blackouts Predictive of Alcohol-Related Injury

Dose-response relationship between number of memory blackouts, odds of alcohol-related injury

MONDAY, July 4 (HealthDay News) -- A significant increase in alcohol-related injury (ARI) is seen in college drinkers who have memory blackout, with those suffering from more blackouts having a higher likelihood of ARI, according to a study published online June 27 in Injury Prevention.

Marlon P. Mundt, Ph.D., from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and colleagues investigated whether a history of memory blackouts is predictive of future ARI above the normal risk associated with heavy drinking. Data were collected from the College Health Intervention Project Study for 796 undergraduate and 158 graduate students enrolled from 2004 to 2009.

The investigators identified that the ARI rate was 25.6 percent during the 24-month follow-up, with no significant difference in ARI by gender. The odds of having an ARI during follow-up increased from 1.57 to 2.64 for those students with one to two blackouts at baseline and six or more blackouts at baseline, respectively. Factors affecting this association included younger age, prior ARI, heavy drinking, and sensation-seeking disposition.

"Memory blackouts are a strong predictor of future alcohol-related injury among college drinkers," the authors write. "Our findings may have implications for prevention and intervention efforts by health care professionals working with college students and other populations at high risk for alcohol-related injuries."

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