A new study suggests that your vodka-Red Bull drink may be just as bad for you as cocaine.
Researchers at Purdue University studied mice to determine the effects of mixing caffeine with alcohol, and found that it produced a greater increase in locomotor activity in adolescent mice than caffeine alone.
The increase was similar to the effect produced by giving mice cocaine.
They also learned that giving a mouse a mixture of caffeine and alcohol could sensitize (or enhance) its behavioral response to a later dose of cocaine, and vice versa.
The team also looked at the changes in the brain caused by the alcohol-caffeine mix, and saw elevated levels of the protein ΔFosB in the nucleus accumbens — an area of the brain important in addiction pathways. And just like with the behavioral effects, this change is also seen when you give a mouse coke.
The age of the mice in the study indicates teenage brains may be especially sensitive to the effects of mixing alcohol and caffeine, as is true with many drugs.
Vodka-Red Bull fans, it’s probably time to find a new drink.