The more drunken memory blackouts experienced, the greater the risk of a future injury under the influence.
Memory blackouts refer to the inability to recall events; they do not refer to loss of consciousness as a result of drinking too much.
Alcohol alters nerve cell communication in the hippocampal region of the brain, which affects memory formation.
One in three students say they have experienced a memory blackout in the past year, and around one in 20 say they have had a period of drink fuelled amnesia within the past seven days. Women are just as likely to have blackouts as men, even though they drink less
A study showed that the overall prevalence of injury associated with alcohol was just over 25%, with women just as likely as men to be injured.
The more blackouts they had, the greater was their risk of unintentional injury. One to two memory blackouts increased the odds by 57%. With six or more memory blackouts, a student was almost three times as likely to sustain an injury.
The research was published online in Injury Prevention.