“I don’t remember how I got home from the party.” This could be a text from last night to one hard-partying college student from another.
New research from Northwestern Medicine shows that 50 percent of college drinkers report at least one alcohol-induced memory blackout -- a period of amnesia -- in the past year during a drinking binge. Despite being fully conscious during such blackouts, students could not recall specific events, such as how they got to a bar, party or their own front door.
Published online in Injury Prevention, June 2011, the study found college drinkers who reported alcohol-induced memory loss are at a higher risk of alcohol-related injuries in the next 24 months versus their peers drank just as much but didn’t report memory blackouts. It also offers a new tool for doctors to screen college drinkers for blackouts by asking them a few simple questions.
“The study offers a major warning to student drinkers: if you blackout, you need to cut back on your drinking because the next time it happens you could be driving a car or walking on a bridge and something bad could happen,” said Michael Fleming, M.D., co-author of the study.
Fleming is interim chair and professor in family and community medicine and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
“If doctors screen college drinkers for these kinds of blackouts, they could do a better job of identifying and intervening with college students at the highest risk of alcohol-related injuries,” Fleming said.
During the screening, students were asked, “Have you ever suddenly found yourself in a place that you could not remember getting to?” and “How many times has this happened to you because you were drinking or because of your drinking in the past year?”
When you are in a blackout you are fully conscious, but you don’t really know what you are doing, and the choices you make can be irrational, risky and dangerous, Fleming said.
“This study shows that these blackouts are strong predictors of future alcohol-related injuries,” he said.
Fleming, along with researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, analyzed data collected from full-time college students at four U.S. universities and one Canadian university who were flagged as heavy drinkers through a screening and physician intervention project. Male students in the study reported drinking at least 50 alcoholic drinks and female students at least 40 alcoholic drinks in the past 28 days. The men drank more than five drinks and the women drank more than four during heavy-drinking episodes.
Nearly 50 percent of the students studied reported alcohol-induced memory blackouts at least once during the past year and five percent had experienced alcohol-related amnesia in the past seven days. The results also showed the more blackouts a student had in the past year, the higher his or her risk of alcohol-related injuries in the future.
This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Erin White is the broadcast editor. Contact her at email@example.com
Erin White | EurekAlert!
An ounce of prevention: Research advances on 'scourge' of transplant wards
28.08.2015 | University of Wisconsin-Madison
Hypoallergenic parks: Coming soon?
27.08.2015 | American Society of Agronomy
A University of Oklahoma astrophysicist and his Chinese collaborator have found two supermassive black holes in Markarian 231, the nearest quasar to Earth, using observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The discovery of two supermassive black holes--one larger one and a second, smaller one--are evidence of a binary black hole and suggests that supermassive...
A team of European researchers have developed a model to simulate the impact of tsunamis generated by earthquakes and applied it to the Eastern Mediterranean. The results show how tsunami waves could hit and inundate coastal areas in southern Italy and Greece. The study is published today (27 August) in Ocean Science, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU).
Though not as frequent as in the Pacific and Indian oceans, tsunamis also occur in the Mediterranean, mainly due to earthquakes generated when the African...
In mountainous regions earthquakes often cause strong landslides, which can be exacerbated by heavy rain. However, after an initial increase, the frequency of these mass wasting events, often enormous and dangerous, declines, in fact independently of meteorological events and aftershocks.
These new findings are presented by a German-Franco-Japanese team of geoscientists in the current issue of the journal Geology, under the lead of the GFZ...
Bacteria do not cease to amaze us with their survival strategies. A research team from the University of Basel's Biozentrum has now discovered how bacteria enter a sleep mode using a so-called FIC toxin. In the current issue of “Cell Reports”, the scientists describe the mechanism of action and also explain why their discovery provides new insights into the evolution of pathogens.
For many poisons there are antidotes which neutralize their toxic effect. Toxin-antitoxin systems in bacteria work in a similar manner: As long as a cell...
It comes when called, bringing care utensils with it and recording how they are used: Fraunhofer IPA is developing an intelligent care cart that provides care staff with physical and informational support in their day-to-day work. The scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have now completed a first prototype. In doing so, they are continuing in their efforts to improve working conditions in the care sector and are developing solutions designed to address the challenges of demographic change.
Technical assistance systems can improve the difficult working conditions in residential nursing homes and hospitals by helping the staff in their work and...
20.08.2015 | Event News
20.08.2015 | Event News
19.08.2015 | Event News
28.08.2015 | Physics and Astronomy
28.08.2015 | Health and Medicine
28.08.2015 | Life Sciences