On Your Side: UAB study ties brain bleed to energy drink

On Your Side: UAB study ties brain bleed to energy drink
Anand Venkatraman M.D., a fourth year resident physician in UAB's Neurology Department. Source: WBRC video
Anand Venkatraman M.D., a fourth year resident physician in UAB's Neurology Department. Source: WBRC video

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Doctors at UAB have presented the first case study of a patient experiencing a brain bleed after consuming an energy drink.

The study was recently published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine and involves a 57-year-old man who started bleeding inside his skull within 15 minutes of drinking a popular energy drink.

"He was interested in doing some yard work so he got this drink because he thought it might help him get more work done, but within 15 minutes he started noticing he wasn't able to walk straight. He started noticing his left arm and leg were numb and tingly," Anand Venkatraman M.D., a fourth year resident physician in UAB's Neurology Department said.

Venkatraman says while he's not anti-energy drinks, he says people need to be more aware of what they are putting in their bodies.

He also says people who review the energy drink market need to be more vigilant and adds more research is needed.

"This was one of those energy drinks where caffeine was not the only ingredient. It had a high amount of caffeine but it also had a bunch of different components, many of which are known to influence what is called the sympathetic nervous system. So that's like part of our nervous system which is responsible for what we call the fight or flight response," Venkatraman added.

UAB says the 57-year-old had a history of elevated blood pressure and was at an increased risk for vascular disease. Several months after the initial incident, the man reported having residual effects.

Red Bull, a popular energy drink company, says its drinks are safe as a cup of coffee.

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