“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin White | Source: EurekAlert!
Further information: www.northwestern.edu
More articles from Health and Medicine:
Proteins in migration: New insights into the mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease
24.05.2013 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)
New insights contradict promising Alzheimer's research
24.05.2013 | VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
This morning at 05:45 CEST, the earth trembled beneath the Okhotsk Sea in the Pacific Northwest. The quake, with a magnitude of 8.2, took place at an exceptional depth of 605 kilometers.
Because of the great depth of the earthquake a tsunami is not expected and there should also be no major damage due to shaking.
Professor Frederik Tilmann of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences: "The epicenter is exceptionally deep, far below the earth's crust in the mantle. Such strong ...
The Ring Nebula's distinctive shape makes it a popular illustration for astronomy books. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist.
"The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it's like a jelly doughnut, because it's filled with material in the middle," said C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
He leads a research team that used Hubble and several ground-based telescopes to obtain the best view yet of ...
New indicator molecules visualise the activation of auto-aggressive T cells in the body as never before
Biological processes are generally based on events at the molecular and cellular level. To understand what happens in the course of infections, diseases or normal bodily functions, scientists would need to examine individual cells and their activity directly in the tissue.
The development of new microscopes and fluorescent dyes in ...
A fried breakfast food popular in Spain provided the inspiration for the development of doughnut-shaped droplets that may provide scientists with a new approach for studying fundamental issues in physics, mathematics and materials.
The doughnut-shaped droplets, a shape known as toroidal, are formed from two dissimilar liquids using a simple rotating stage and an injection needle. About a millimeter in overall size, the droplets are produced individually, their shapes maintained by a surrounding springy material made of polymers.
Droplets in this toroidal shape made ...
Frauhofer FEP will present a novel roll-to-roll manufacturing process for high-barriers and functional films for flexible displays at the SID DisplayWeek 2013 in Vancouver – the International showcase for the Display Industry.
Displays that are flexible and paper thin at the same time?! What might still seem like science fiction will be a major topic at the SID Display Week 2013 that currently takes place in Vancouver in Canada.
High manufacturing cost and a short lifetime are still a major obstacle on ...
24.05.2013 | Life Sciences
24.05.2013 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2013 | Physics and Astronomy
17.05.2013 | Event News
15.05.2013 | Event News
08.05.2013 | Event News