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Wide Awake Drunk

December 31, 2009

Energy drinks containing both caffeine and alcohol could lead to unsafe behavior.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
Do alcohol and caffeine mix? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

New alcoholic drinks that contain caffeine are extremely popular with young people. In the journal Behavioral Neuroscience, Temple University researcher Thomas Gould reports that the concoctions could lead to trouble. In his study, mice learned to avoid certain parts of a maze that contained unpleasant stimuli. Drunk mice forgot which parts to avoid, but were too drowsy to explore. But mice given both alcohol and caffeine barged through maze and kept stumbling into the unpleasant areas. Gould is concerned about what this could mean for humans.

THOMAS GOULD (Temple University):
They may feel less drowsy and feel they’re less drunk, but in reality cognitive processes are still impaired. So that my lead to poor decision making, becuase they’re underestimaging how drunk they are.

HIRSHON:
Meaning a drunk person may decide to drive or engage in other risky behavior when they should be sleeping it off. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.