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Researchers: Mixed drinks containing caffeine with alcohol affect our brain like cocaine


Impact of drinking such drinks can continue into adulthood
It has long been known that so-called energy drinks are bad for human health. Researchers have now found that the combination of alcohol and energy drinks results in an unhealthy and addictive drink. This mixture even works in a similar way to cocaine in young people.

Scientists at Purdue University found in an investigation that a mixed drink made from an energy drink and alcohol makes a dangerous mixture. Such drinks are particularly popular with young people. Consuming this harmful cocktail leads to changes in the adolescent brain, similar to the illegal drug cocaine, the researchers report. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Brain changes affect behavior into adulthood
The mixture of alcohol and energy drink is not only popular with young people. There are also a number of adults in Germany who like to drink a few glasses of Red Bull / Vodka at the weekend. The combination of these drinks can cause brain changes in adolescents, comparable to the drug cocaine. The consequences of consumption even persist into adulthood, explains the author Dr. Richard Van Rijn.

Energy drinks are very sugary and the caffeine content is far too high
Ernergy drinks contain a lot of sugar and even more caffeine. A single drink contains between six and 240 milligrams of caffeine. This is about 10 times the value of caffeine that is normally found in sodas containing caffeine. Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of energy drinks. Such drinks are also often mixed with alcohol. So far, however, little was known about the health effects of the drink on young consumers. The new study should change that now.

Consumption leads to neurochemical changes in the experiment
In their research, the doctors examined the consequences of consuming caffeinated drinks with alcohol. The test was carried out on mice. The experts found that the drink made the young mice more active. The effect was similar to giving cocaine to the mice, the scientists explain. Neurochemical changes were also observed.

Mixed drink changes the levels of FosB proteins
In fact, it seems that both drinks together cause changes in human behavior and even change neurochemistry in the brain, explains the author Dr. Van Rijn. A marker for changes in neurochemistry are the concentrations of the so-called FosB proteins. Due to the consumption of the mixed drink, these were similar to the substance abuse of cocaine and morphine, the scientists add.

Adolescent use encourages later abuse of other substances
We have seen a clear effect of the combined drinks, the researchers explain. This effect does not occur if we consume only one of the drinks, the authors say. The changes in the brain were long-term. These seem to result in those affected drinking more alcohol and generally abusing other substances for enjoyment than adults.

The consumption of affected mixed drinks later leads to increased cocaine resistance
The observed effect in the brain usually makes it difficult for drug users to end the abuse, explains Dr. van Rijn. It was also worrying that the mice from the adult trial were somewhat blunted against the effects of cocaine. When adolescent mice consume high levels of caffeine and alcoholic beverages, they later need more cocaine to work, says Dr. (as)

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