Could energy drinks cause a dad-to-be to lose half of his skull?
Austin suffered from a brain haemorrhage a few weeks before the birth of his child. The condition caused him to lose half of his skull.
A recent post on Facebook tells us the story of Austin, a recent dad who lost half of his skull to a brain haemorrhage. And, according to his wife, Brianna, this happened because of his excessive consumption of energy drinks.
Austin and Brianna's story
In the post that was later deleted (which I think is because of relentless media attention), Brianna recounts her story. She was in her third trimester, weeks away from delivering her baby boy. Austin and she were quite excited to bring the baby boy home and were just counting days to the delivery.
And one day, she was woken up by her mother-in-law who was shaking. Austin had had an accident, and he was already on his way to undergo a surgery. After a 5-hour-long surgery, Brianna and Austin's parents could finally see him. He was a pitiful sight. However, what was more pitiful to see was his parents breaking down. Brianna had to be strong for the family.
After two weeks, a couple of more surgeries, she went into labour. She could not meet Austin for a week. And the baby boy looked exactly like her father, and it broke her heart. She knew she had to see him, and so, after a week, she left the baby in the good hands of her in-laws and went to take care of Austin.
Austin had undergone a decompression craniectomy, a life-saving procedure done in the events of a sudden increase in pressure in the skull. According to her, the doctors thought it was because of an excessive consumption of energy drinks that lead to a brain haemorrhage, as there was no drug or toxin found on the tox screen. After rounds of surgery, hospital visits, and physiotherapy, Austin is finally able to hold the baby in his hands.
Can energy drinks cause something this drastic?
According to experts, energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine and taurine. That said, there is not enough evidence to suggest that energy drinks may cause a haemorrhage. According to the Snopes.com, my go-to fact-checking website, this story seems unproven.
According to the literature review and expert interviews conducted by Snopes.com on this matter, it seems that energy drinks may not have caused this. There are no references provided in the post (though it is just a Facebook post, not a legal document), and this does not help the matter. It seems hearsay, and the scientific literature is in a way, sceptical about the claim.
In my opinion
It is wrong to dismiss the mother's story as false. She is just telling us what she knows. It is her version of the truth, and instead of debating whether energy drinks may or may not cause it, we should be at the very least, cautious. She had to go through hell. Can you imagine this happening in the third trimester? A disaster like this, emotional turmoil, financial pressure, uncertain future, limited support from home. Who can honestly handle this?
Children and energy drinks
You would obviously not let your child have an energy drink (if you do, stop it now, please). But your teenager might be consuming it without your knowledge to boost his performance at sports, or in studies. Teenagers recommend it to one another, claiming that it helps them concentrate better. The problem with these drinks is that they are rich in caffeine. A can of energy drink may contain up to 14 times the amount of caffeine than the usual colas. And that makes it dangerous.
As the literature suggests, energy drinks should be consumed with caution. And, it is not meant for children. These drinks are high in caffeine, and even an adult may develop an addiction to it. As the time goes, you develop a tolerance for it, needing an increase in consumption to get the same effect. The components can interact with your platelets, interfering with clotting.
As most of these energy drinks contain unregulated ingredients like the extract of the plant Guarana. And this contains caffeine. In fact, 1 gram of Guarana extract is equivalent to 40 mg of caffeine. Even the sports drinks contain a high amount of sugar that may lead to obesity and may damage the teeth.
Coming back to Austin, he might not always look like this. A cranioplasty can bring back the shape of his skull to normal, including an improvement in his condition. But I would stay away from an overindulgence in energy drinks, and keep my son off them too! What do you think?
(Story and image source: Yahoo.com. Image: Screengrab)