Poster Title

Acute Effects of Alcohol mixed with Energy Drinks versus Alcohol Alone on Balance and Aggression

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

KY House District #

69, 61, 65, 63, 68, 67

KY Senate District #

23, 17, 24

Department

Psychological Science

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the consumption of Alcohol mixed with Energy Drinks (AmED) versus alcohol alone alters balance and motor control. Alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) have been associated with increased drinking resulting in greater levels of intoxication and increased rates of injuries compared to alcohol alone (Price et al., 2010; Thombs et al., 2010; Velazquez et al., 2012). Prior research from our lab has shown that consumption of AmED may result in better balance when compared to the same dose of alcohol. These findings might alter performance on the standardized police field sobriety task. Using a within subjects 2x2 research design, subjects (n = 14) attended four different test sessions where they were presented with alcohol and energy drinks, alone and in combination. Following dose administration, participants completed an automated Biosway assessment of balance, the standardized field sobriety task, and several computer tasks to measure aggression. The results indicated that participants display better balance following the AmED dose when compared to alcohol alone. Furthermore, some aspects of the field sobriety test also appear to be less sensitive to impairment following AmED administration compared to alcohol alone, including the measure of visual nystagmus (i.e., the involuntary jerking of the eye). The findings indicate that stimulant drugs, when mixed with alcohol, might alter the reliability of the police standardized field sobriety test. This research was funded by NIH grants AA019795 and GM103436 (Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network - KBRIN).

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Acute Effects of Alcohol mixed with Energy Drinks versus Alcohol Alone on Balance and Aggression

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the consumption of Alcohol mixed with Energy Drinks (AmED) versus alcohol alone alters balance and motor control. Alcohol mixed with energy drinks (AmEDs) have been associated with increased drinking resulting in greater levels of intoxication and increased rates of injuries compared to alcohol alone (Price et al., 2010; Thombs et al., 2010; Velazquez et al., 2012). Prior research from our lab has shown that consumption of AmED may result in better balance when compared to the same dose of alcohol. These findings might alter performance on the standardized police field sobriety task. Using a within subjects 2x2 research design, subjects (n = 14) attended four different test sessions where they were presented with alcohol and energy drinks, alone and in combination. Following dose administration, participants completed an automated Biosway assessment of balance, the standardized field sobriety task, and several computer tasks to measure aggression. The results indicated that participants display better balance following the AmED dose when compared to alcohol alone. Furthermore, some aspects of the field sobriety test also appear to be less sensitive to impairment following AmED administration compared to alcohol alone, including the measure of visual nystagmus (i.e., the involuntary jerking of the eye). The findings indicate that stimulant drugs, when mixed with alcohol, might alter the reliability of the police standardized field sobriety test. This research was funded by NIH grants AA019795 and GM103436 (Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network - KBRIN).