When researcher Kathleen Miller persuaded the federal government to give her nearly a half-million dollars, the plan was to study "toxic jock identity." That's her term for the "hyper-attraction" some college-level male athletes have to masculinity and high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse and violence.
As an afterthought, her questionnaire asked about consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks such as Red Bull, Monster and Rockstar.
"I threw in a few questions about energy drinks, mostly because of what I observed in a nephew of mine. He was drinking a lot of energy drinks and suddenly becoming explosive, blowing up at his family when he was never that way before. I wondered if the caffeine was part of it," said Miller, a Ph.D. researcher at the University of Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions.