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Boffins say Vodka Red Bulls make you sensible

Booze and caffeine cocktails reduce likelihood of risk-taking behaviour

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Knock back a Vodka Red Bull or three this Friday night and your may experience irritability, heart palpitations and find it hard to get to sleep.

But you'll also be less likely to do something really dumb than if you stuck to booze alone, say researchers from the University of Tasmania.

The findings were the result of an online survey of Australians aged 18 to 35 who had consumed what the paper calls an “AmED”, or alcohol mixed with energy drinks. So stop that sniggering about Australian students self-medicating with a notepad to hand.

The findings are also reported in a proper journal, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, where the team published an article titled The Subjective Physiological, Psychological, and Behavioral Risk-Taking Consequences of Alcohol and Energy Drink Co-Ingestion.

The abstract of the article explains slugging back a few AmEDs won't turn you into a raving lunatic. Indeed, you're less likely to do some of the dumb things one occasionally does when drunk, as the paper states:

“The odds of participants experiencing disinhibition and engaging in 26 risk behaviors were significantly lower during AmED sessions relative to alcohol sessions. Similarly, the odds of experiencing several physiological (i.e., speech and walking difficulties, nausea, and slurred speech) and psychological (i.e., confusion, exhaustion, sadness) sedation outcomes were less during AmED sessions compared to alcohol sessions.”

The reason for the lesser likelihood of lager loutage is that energy drinks keep you that little bit more alert, so your brain remembers not to let you do dumb stuff.

There's also some bad news, as follows:

However, the odds of enduring physiological (i.e., heart palpitations, sleep difficulties, agitation, tremors, jolt and crash episodes, and increased speech speed) and psychological (i.e., irritability and tension) outcomes potentially related to overstimulation were significantly greater during AmED sessions than alcohol sessions.

The researchers say they'd love the chance to prove their findings with clinical tests. There's no word on where one can volunteer to help them out, but The Reg will be sure to let you know where the queue begins. ®

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