Monthly Archives: April 2011

A bad Mix-Why Alcohol And Energy Drinks Are Dangerous

A bad Mix-Why Alcohol And Energy Drinks Are Dangerous


Mixing alcohol with other substances is never really a good idea, and pairing it with energy drinks may be especially hazardous.

That might seem obvious, but the results of a new study published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research provide some interesting insights into why. Cecile Marczinski, a psychologist at Northern Kentucky University, found that combining energy drinks such as Red Bull with vodka or other liquors effectively removes any built-in checks your body has for overindulging.

When you drink alcohol by itself, it initially induces a feeling of happiness — a comfortable buzz. But when you overindulge, your body knows it, and it starts to shut down; you start feeling tired, sleepy and more sedated than stimulated. “That’s your cue to go home to bed,” says Marczinski.

But in her drinking study, for which she (easily) recruited participants, she found that people downing the combination of alcohol and energy drinks lost this natural control. Marczinski had volunteers show up at her lab and drink either plain alcoholic drinks; mixed beverages containing alcohol and energy drinks; energy drinks alone; or a non-alcoholic beverage.

When the drinkers were asked to rate how stimulated and energetic they felt — whether they were alert or awake — those consuming the combination energy-alcohol drinks reported twice as much stimulation as those drinking alcohol alone. They tended to report less sedation and fewer symptoms like tiredness or sleepiness. “The disconnect between what you feel and how you act is what is the problem here,” she says, noting that these participants continued to feel stimulated and never came down off their alcohol buzz. “Stimulation may not be a good thing when you’re drinking because you may drink longer, decide to stay at a party where you’re drinking longer, and drink far more than you originally intended.”

Interestingly, Marczinski says, by combining these results with other work she has done on energy drinks, she found that it’s not energy drinks’ primary ingredient, caffeine, that’s problematic. Rather, it’s the mix of other awakening ingredients in the beverages that may be contributing to the enhanced alcohol high. When she compared the stimulation ratings between those who drank beverages made only from caffeine powder and those who drank alcoholic energy drinks, she found that the combination resulted in far greater alertness than the caffeine alone. “I always thought that it was a marketing thing when they mention the other things they put in like taurine, glucose and ginseng,” she says. “But I think they do facilitate that stimulation; it’s not just the caffeine.”

Marczinski was able to assess changes in behavior only 45 minutes after the participants enjoyed their drinks, so she didn’t record any increase in impaired judgment or behavior, but, she says, that may be because the subjects weren’t monitored long enough.

Even so, the increased stimulation and impulsivity makes the combination of alcohol and energy drinks a dangerous one, especially for underage drinkers who may think they are capable of drinking more than their limit, or even driving after a party. “Even with just alcohol alone, young, underage drinkers are bad at deciding how safe a driver they are, but I think this would make that situation far worse,” Marczinski says. And it’s just another reminder not to drink and drive — no matter what combination of spirits you’re consuming.

Gay Friendly Communities Are Good for Straight Teens Too….

Gay Friendly Communities Are Good for Straight Teens Too….

A spate of suicides involving gay teens last fall reignited concern among youth activists and health experts over the disproportionately high rate of suicide among gay American teens. Now, a survey of high-school students in Oregon highlights a key risk factor for suicide — living in a socially and politically conservative area — not only among lesbian, gay and bisexual teens, but in heterosexual kids too.

The survey of nearly 32,000 11th-graders found that suicide attempts by lesbian, gay and bisexual teens were 20% more likely in conservative communities that were unsupportive of gays — areas with fewer same-sex couples, fewer registered Democrats, and schools that lacked gay-straight alliances or policies against bullying gay students — compared with communities that scored high on the researchers’ “social index.” That difference in risk persisted, even after researchers accounted for other suicide risk factors such as depression and bullying.

What’s more, the rate of suicide attempts among straight teens in conservative communities was also higher — by 9% — than in areas that were more politically and socially liberal. The finding suggests that widespread acceptance and support contribute to the well-being of all community members, not just those who identify with minority groups.

“The results of this study are pretty compelling,” said the study’s lead investigator, Mark L. Hatzenbuehler of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in a statement. “When communities support their gay young people, and schools adopt anti-bullying and anti-discrimination policies that specifically protect lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth, the risk of attempted suicide by all young people drops, especially for LGB youth.”

Still, according to the 2006-08 survey, gay teens were much more likely to have attempted suicide in the last year than their straight peers: among gay teens, the attempted suicide rate was a whopping 21.5% overall — five times higher than among straight teens.

Religious women use contraception regularly……

Religious women use contraception regularly……


Most sexually active women use contraception, regardless of their religious beliefs, says a report from the Guttmacher Institute, an organization working to advance reproductive and sexual health  in the U.S. and worldwide.

“Regardless of religious affiliation, the majority of women use highly effective contraception methods, so any efforts to restrict access to these methods is going to impact these populations,” said Rachel K. Jones, the lead author.

The report was based on a U.S. government survey that represented the nation. The data came from 2006-2008 interviews of over 7,000 women aged 15-44.

It found that 69% of sexually active women from any denomination were using highly effective birth control methods including sterilization, the pill or other hormonal method, or an intrauterine device (IUD). In addition, almost all have reported contraceptive use at some point, a figure that is similar among Catholic women.

Another key finding was that 68% of Catholics use one of the highly effective methods, but only 2% rely on natural family planning. That number is comparable to 73% of Mainline Protestants and 74% of Evangelicals.

“A lot of times, religion is either not associated with contraception at all, or, in the case of the Catholic church, being against contraception.” Jones added. “In the real world, women who have religious beliefs and who attend church also use contraception.”

In addition, male or female sterilization was most common in the Evangelical church; more than four in 10 women of this denomination use the method.

And marital status did not change things.

“Across religious denominations, married women are using highly effective contraceptive methods,” she said.

Said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, “These findings show yet again that birth control is a common practice — and a common need — for women of different faiths and backgrounds.

“As Congress considers yet another effort to bar Planned Parenthood from providing family planning services through federal health programs, it should listen to the message these findings convey.”