When attempting to study any type of cognitive impairment, medical condition or injury; factors related to possible genetic and environmental ties must be closely examined. Today there’s been an increased focus on the potential negative effects of the artificial chemicals used in many of the foods we eat and drinks we drink and the related adverse health effects.

A recent study revealed some noteworthy findings related to a possible link between the consumption of energy drinks and traumatic brain injuries in teenagers. The findings of the study, which were recently published in the journal PLOS ONE, revealed that teens in grades 7 through 12 who suffered a TBI within the last 12 months were “seven times more likely to report drinking at least five energy drinks in the last week” than other teens who did not report suffering TBIs.

For the study, data from more than 10,200 teens were examined. Of teens who reported suffering a TBI during the last year, those who suffered sports-related TBIs were two times as likely to also consume energy drinks than those who suffered TBIs in “fights or a car accident.”

While researchers have yet to find a causal link between energy drink consumption and TBIs, it’s apparent that the two often go hand-in-hand and that teen athletes are more prone to both consume the drinks and suffer TBIs. Of specific concern is when alcohol enters the equation as mixing alcohol with energy drinks “can mask the effects of alcohol,” and potentially lead to a teen engaging in activities while he or she is intoxicated.

Representatives from the American Beverage Association decried the study’s findings as being trivial and unscientific, asserting that energy drinks are safe and not harmful to teens. The study’s authors, however, insist the subject warrants further investigation and caution that, as a society, “we need to be vigilant and discourage the associations between energy drinks and sports.”

Source: Time Magazine, “Study Links Energy Drinks and Traumatic Brain Injury in Teens,” Alexandra Sifferin, Sept. 16, 2015