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Oct 25, 2016 11:29 AM

Mixing energy drinks, alcohol may affect brains same as cocaine

Drinking highly caffeinated alcoholic beverages triggers changes in the adolescent brain similar to taking cocaine, according to a Purdue University study.

Results from the study showed that adolescent mice given high-caffeine energy drinks mixed with alcohol showed physical and neurochemical signs similar to mice given cocaine, Purdue University reported.

"It seems the two substances together push them over a limit that causes changes in their behavior and changes the neurochemistry in their brains," said Richard van Rijn, Assistant Professor at the Purdue University. "We're clearly seeing effects of the combined drinks that we would not see if drinking one or the other."

Results showed adolescent mice given just high-caffeine energy drinks were not more likely than a control group to drink more alcohol as adults.

With repeated exposure to both high-caffeine energy drinks and alcohol, those adolescent mice became increasingly more active, much like mice given cocaine.

Consequences from drinking caffeinated alcoholic beverages last into adulthood as an altered ability to deal with rewarding substances, the study said.

"That's one reason why it's so difficult for drug users to quit because of these lasting changes in the brain," van Rijn said.

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