College students who drink to the point of blacking out are twice as likely to experience alcohol-related injuries, according to a new study from Northwestern University.
Researchers surveyed 13,000 students from five universities, and labeled 954 as heavy drinkers. In this group, males averaged 50 drinks every 28 days, and women drank 40. Half reported blackouts, and this group was twice as likely to be injured in the period under study.
“The study offers a major warning to student drinkers,” said author Michael Fleming. “If you black out, 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.”
This study appears in the journal Injury Prevention.
College Students Believe Disadvantages Aren’t Bad Enough to Stop Them from Drinking
College students who drink believe the benefits of alcohol outweigh the disadvantages, according to a new study in the journal, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin surveyed 500 students online, asking them about how often they missed classes, blacked out, got into fights, had hangovers, and experienced other negative effects of drinking. Then they asked about positive effects such as becoming better conversationalists, more humorous, more sexually available, and so forth. The students reported that the advantages were greater than the downside of drinking, and that meant they probably would keep drinking.
“It is as though they think the good effects of drinking keep getting better and more likely to happened again,” said Diane Logan, one of the psychologists on the UW team. This may mean it is extremely difficult for them to change their behaviors.
Buzzed Driving Increases Risk of Fatal Automobile Accidents
Even a little alcohol greatly increases your chances of getting into an automobile accident, according to new research from the University of California in San Diego.
Dr. David Phillips and his colleagues studied records from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of 1,495,667 people involved in fatal car accidents. Even when alcohol was just barely detectable in the driver’s body, the accident was 37% more likely to be severe.
“There is no safe level of alcohol,” Dr. Phillips said. “Why assume that just because you have been driving buzzed for years that it is safe?”
The researchers took into account that fatal accidents are more likely to happen on weekends, after 8 PM but before 4 AM, and in the summer months.
Dr. Philips noted that in some countries, such as Sweden, the legal blood alcohol limit is only 0.02%, compared to the United States standard of 0.08%.
Heavy Drinking Linked to Pneumonia
Heavy drinkers are more likely to have pneumonia, according to a new study from Denmark.
Researchers at Aarhus University Hospital studied medical records from over 45,000 people ages 50 to 64 years old who had never had pneumonia. Within 12 years, 4% had been hospitalized for it. Men who drank 50 drinks or more a week, about one in 30 in the study group, were 80% more likely to be hospitalized for pneumonia compared to moderate or light drinkers. Women had a similar risk for pneumonia regardless of how much they drank, but both men and women who were binge drinkers were more likely to get the disease. The researchers theorized that drinking may somehow weaken the immune system.
This study appears in the European Respiratory Journal.