In the U.S., an energy drink manufacturer was sued – Too much caffeine in the drink should be to blame for the death of a girl
The death of a 14-year-old currently has the New York Attorney General. The girl died of sudden heart failure, reports the “New York Times”. Now the parents sue the manufacturer of the energy drink Monster. You are convinced that your daughter died from an overdose of caffeine.
The U.S. Agency for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been reported in recent years, four more deaths associated with monsters. Even with the 5 Hour Energy drinks and rock star there were reports of deaths. The French health authority ANSES initiated an investigation, because you too were dozens of reported incidents. Including heart attacks, seizures, kidney damage and confusion “The drinks are dangerous if you consume too much of it,” Wolfgang Schreiber, emergency medicine at the Medical University of Vienna says.

Imports from Asia

The idea of energy drinks is probably from Asia. Beginning of the 1980s to the Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz be so excited been from the drink Krating Daeng in business that he taxi driver in the drive from the airport every time therefore asked to stop to buy a bottle. In 1987, the first Red Bull came on the market in Austria. Other manufacturers quickly attacked the idea – with increasing success. In the U.S. alone, the company achieved in 2011 so that 16 percent more profit than the year before, namely seven billion euros.

Responsible for the “energy boost” is caffeine. The amount varies depending on the size cans fairly (see table below). Has the 14-year-old, as media reports, drank a 700-ml can, the 240 milligrams of caffeine would have been.

The fabric looks like the stress hormone adrenaline: It makes the heart beat faster and raises blood pressure. “For children who drink caffeinated beverages for the first time or in large quantities, can be dangerous,” Franz Eberli, Professor of Cardiology, said in Zurich. The heart races, it comes from the clock, in the worst case it suddenly stands still.

Whether caused deaths reported to the authorities by a real caffeine overdose, is not proven. So shall the 14-year-old who suffered from heart disease – this may lead to the death of the girl. So one must always critically analyze studies: Are the observed correlations really causally determined, that is, the energy drinks really solved problems from the heart, or both came together by chance?

Systematic investigation

“Until now, we learn only of tragic individual cases,” said Eberli, “which has been systematically investigated so far, unfortunately no one.” Researchers from the University of Miami in Florida sighted a year ago 121 reports in professional journals (Pediatrics 2011, Volume 127, p 511). They concluded that children with certain underlying medical conditions could be quite dangerous drinks. No more than 100 milligrams of caffeine or 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight should take children to a day to themselves, the researchers recommend. An overdose manifests itself initially by headaches, you will be restless and anxious, your heart is racing, and one is bad. Later come to hallucinations, paralysis, seizures and cardiac arrhythmias, at the very worst you can die from it.

If you drink coffee regularly, the effects of caffeine are weaker – the body gets used to the substance. “Why do some morning two to three cups of coffee to be really awake,” says cardiologist Eberli. Without the caffeine they get withdrawal symptoms: headache, fatigue and lethargy or restlessness. “There are more and more younger children, even year-olds who regularly drink energy drinks and then be dependent on caffeine,” says Roland Bingisser, chief of the emergency department at the University Hospital Basel. “The withdrawal symptoms can be seen in children is simple: Is it a fidget, or the child is restless because it lacks caffeine?”

Combination with vodka

Reading the reports of American Scientists, one can pass the desire for power drinks. Of liver inflammation is talk, kidney failure, brain hemorrhage, psychosis with anxiety disorders. Most young people had however been drinking several cans a day – the boy with kidney problems as three liters per day in combination with a liter of vodka.

Some States have already taken action. In Norway, energy drinks may be sold only in pharmacies in Sweden only for those aged 15 years. In Denmark and Uruguay are completely forbidden. In Austria should be noted, among other things on the box that you should not drink more than one serving per day. “For children under ten are not the drinks,” says Wolfgang Schreiber, “in the age to drink also still no coffee.” Older children and adolescents a can a day probably will not hurt – if they have no other diseases.

Unpleasant interaction

Sun caffeine dissolved in studies in children with cardiac disease, attention deficit disorder, eating disorders, rather from heart problems. In diabetics, it could increase the blood sugar – aggravating effect of high sugar content of the drinks. Certain drugs or alcohol may increase the effect of caffeine.

Meanwhile, the New York attorney has charged three companies to court for misleading information about the ingredients and the advertised effect. “The drinks are marketed in a brilliant way as something special, but there are not,” said Michael Christian, senior emergency physician at the University Hospital Nuremberg says, “children are water, tea or juice far better than any power shower