Tag Archives: Livestrong

Kings College London study: Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life

5 Feb

Human Intelligence has a very good summary of the Bell Curve book:

The Bell Curve, published in 1994, was written by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray as a work designed to explain, using empirical statistical analysis, the variations in intelligence in American Society, raise some warnings regarding the consequences of this intelligence gap, and propose national social policy with the goal of mitigating the worst of the consequences attributed to this intelligence gap. Many of the assertions put forth and conclusions reached by the authors are very controversial, ranging from the relationships between low measured intelligence and anti-social behavior, to the observed relationship between low African-American test scores (compared to whites and Asians) and genetic factors in intelligence abilities. The book was released and received with a large public response. In the first several months of its release, 400,000 copies of the book were sold around the world. Several thousand reviews and commentaries have been written in the short time since the book’s publication….
The Bell Curve, in its introduction, begins with a brief description of the history of intelligence theory and recent developments in intelligence thought and testing, through the eyes of the authors. The introduction concludes with six important assumptions that the authors build much of the Bell Curve’s case upon. These six assumptions regarding the validity of “classical” cognitive testing techniques include:
There is such a difference as a general factor of cognitive ability on which human beings differ.
All standardized test of academic aptitude or achievement measure this general factor to some degree, but IQ tests expressly designed for that purpose measure it most accurately.
IQ scores match, to a first degree, whatever it is that people mean when they use the word intelligent, or smart in ordinary language.
IQ scores are stable, although not perfectly so, over much of a person’s life.
Properly administered IQ tests are not demonstrably biased against social, economic, ethnic, or racial groups.
Cognitive ability is substantially heritable, apparently no less than 40 percent and no more than 80 percent.
The authors proceed to explain, using classical cognitive test results primarily, to explain how lower levels of measured intelligence impact an individual’s, or indeed an entire class or group of individual’s life in American society. The rest of the book is divided into four major parts. http://www.indiana.edu/~intell/bellcurve.shtml

Needless to say, this book ignited a firestorm.

Cam Soucy wrote an excellent summary of IQ tests for the Livestrong site in the article, What Is the Definition of IQ Test?

History
French psychologist Alfred Binet developed the the first IQ-style tests at the beginning of the 20th century. The first tests were designed only to assess the intelligence of children. The U.S. military relied on intelligence testing to assess and place recruits during World Wars I and II. Psychologist David Wechsler used the military IQ tests as a model in devising his own test in 1949. Today, a group of tests derived from Wechsler’s work are the most widely used IQ tests.
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Tests
The fourth version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the WISC-IV, was released in 2009. A companion test, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, targets people 16 and older. Other frequently used IQ tests include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the Das-Naglieri Cognitive Assessment System and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children.
Elements
IQ tests commonly assess the taker’s logical reasoning, math ability, spatial-relations skills, short-term memory and problem-solving skills.
Scoring
IQ tests originally were scored by dividing the subject’s “mental age,” as determined by which questions she answered correctly on the test, by her “chronological age,” her actual age in years, then multiplying that quotient by 100. For example, an 8-year-old child with a mental age of 12 would have an IQ of 125, with the calculation being 12/8 = 1.25, and 1.25 x 100 = 125. A person whose mental age precisely matched his actual age would have an IQ of 100, so a 100 IQ was defined as “average.”
Modern IQ tests no longer use such a formula. They simply compare a person’s test results with those of everyone else in the same age group, on a scale where 100 is defined as average intelligence.
Criticism
Criticism of IQ tests focuses on the content of the tests–that is, the type of questions they ask–and their application. Such areas as vocabulary and “logic” can be strongly influenced by culture and socioeconomics. For example, consider a test that asks what word goes best with “cup”: saucer, plate or bowl. The test may intend “saucer” to be the correct answer. However, a test-taker who grew up in a home where tables weren’t set in a formal fashion might not know what a saucer is. He may be just as “intelligent” as the next person, but his score will suffer because of cultural factors. Authors of IQ tests are continually refining tests to address such concerns; some tests have removed verbal elements entirely.
Even test creators argue that the results are only one tool for assessing a person’s abilities, and that “intelligence” in a person is not a fixed quality, but changeable–even from day to day. In reality, however, people and institutions tend to put great weight on IQ scores. Students have been labeled “learning disabled” based on the outcome of IQ tests alone. As authors revise their tests, they also are revising their instructions to stress the tests’ limited application
http://www.livestrong.com/article/130019-definition-iq-test/

Daniel Willingham, cognitive scientist and a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and author of “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His next book, “When Can You Trust The Experts? How to tell good science from bad in education,” http://www.danielwillingham.com/books.html Willingham’s research is crucial for understanding IQ.

Science Daily reported in Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life:

New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior — when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge — and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers… https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180131133348.htm

Citation:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Date:
January 31, 2018
Source:
King’s College London
Summary:
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Journal Reference:
1. Josephine Mollon, Anthony S. David, Stanley Zammit, Glyn Lewis, Abraham Reichenberg. Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum. JAMA Psychiatry, 2018; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327

Here is the press release from King’s College:

Falling IQ scores in childhood may signal psychotic disorders in later life
Posted on 01/02/2018
New research shows adults who develop psychotic disorders experience declines in IQ during childhood and adolescence, falling progressively further behind their peers across a range of cognitive abilities. The researchers from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the United States found falls in IQ start in early childhood, and suggest educational interventions could potentially delay the onset of mental illness.
Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, are severe mental illnesses affecting 1-3% of the UK population that cause a range of abnormalities in perception and thinking. The study, published today in JAMA Psychiatry, is the first to track IQ scores and cognitive abilities throughout the entire first two decades of life among individuals who develop psychotic disorders in adulthood.
Dr Josephine Mollon from King’s IoPPN, now with Yale University, said: ‘For individuals with psychotic disorders, cognitive decline does not just begin in adulthood, when individuals start to experience symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, but rather many years prior – when difficulties with intellectual tasks first emerge – and worsen over time. Our results suggest that among adults with a psychotic disorder, the first signs of cognitive decline are apparent as early as age 4.’
Previous studies have shown that deficits in IQ begin many years before hallucinations and delusions first appear in patients with psychotic disorders, but the timing of when these IQ deficits emerge has not been clear. The new study provides the clearest evidence to date of early life cognitive decline in individuals with psychotic disorders.
The study included 4322 UK-based individuals who were followed from 18 months to 20 years old. Those who developed psychotic disorders as adults had normal IQ scores in infancy, but by age 4 their IQ started to decline, and continued to drop throughout childhood, adolescence and early adulthood until they were an average of 15 points lower than their healthy peers.
As well as falling behind in IQ, individuals who developed psychotic disorders lagged increasingly behind their peers in cognitive abilities such as working memory, processing speed and attention.
IQ scores fluctuate among healthy individuals, and not all children struggling at school are at risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders. Senior author Dr Abraham Reichenberg, Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and with King’s IoPPN said: ‘It is important to bear in mind that many children will experience some difficulties with schoolwork or other intellectual tasks at some point in their lives, and only a small minority will go on to develop a psychotic disorder.’
The results suggest that adults who develop psychotic disorders do not go through a deterioration in cognitive function, but instead they fail to keep up with normal developmental processes. Early interventions to improve cognitive abilities may potentially help stave off psychotic symptoms from developing in later life.
‘There are early interventions offered to adolescents and young adults with psychosis,’ said Dr Reichenberg. ‘Our results show the potential importance of interventions happening much earlier in life. Intervening in childhood or early adolescence may prevent cognitive abilities from worsening and this may even delay or prevent illness onset.’
The researchers are now examining changes in the brains of individuals who go on to develop psychotic disorders, as well as potential environmental and genetic risk factors that may predispose individuals to poor cognition.
The study was funded by the Medical Research Council, and the data was drawn from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC).
Notes to editors
Paper reference:
‘Course of Cognitive Development From Infancy to Early Adulthood in the Psychosis Spectrum’ by Mollon et al., JAMA Psychiatry, DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.4327
To contact the authors, or for further media information, please contact: Robin Bisson, Senior Press Officer, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, robin.bisson@kcl.ac.uk / +44 20 7848 5377 / +44 7718 697176. +45 87165358

Here are some key findings of Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical

Developments. American Psychologist. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026699 which deal directly with the Bell Curve:
Stress, Intelligence, and Social Class
One factor that Neisser and colleagues (1996) did not deal with extensively is stress. Chronic, continuous stress—what can be considered as “toxic” stress—is injurious over time to organ systems, including the brain. Chronically high levels of stress hormones damage specific areas of the brain—namely, the neural circuitry of PFC and hippocampus—that are important for regulating attention and for short-term memory, long-term memory, and working memory (McEwen, 2000). Although the extent to which the effect of early stress on brain development and stress physiology may affect the development of intelligence is not currently known, we do know that (a) stress is greater in low-income home environments (Evans, 2004) and (b) a low level of stress is important for self-regulation and early learning in school (Blair & Razza, 2007; Ferrer & McArdle, 2004; Ferrer et al., 2007). Research suggests that part of the Black–White IQ gap may be attributable to the fact that Blacks, on average, tend to live in more stressful environments than do Whites. This is particularly the case in urban environments, where Black children are exposed to multiple stressors. Sharkey (2010), for example, has recently found that Black children living in Chicago (ages 5–17) scored between 0.5 and 0.66 SD worse on tests (both the WISC-Revised and the Wide Range Achievement Test-3) in the aftermath of a homicide in their neighborhood. Sharkey’s data show that debilitating effects were evident among children regardless of whether they were witnesses to the homicide or had simply heard about it. An impressive study by Eccleston (2011) indicates that even stress on the pregnant mother may have enduring effects on her children. The children born to women in New York City who were in the first six months of pregnancy when 9/11 occurred had lower birth weights than children born before 9/11 or well after it, and the boys at the age of six were more than 7% more likely to be in special education and more than 15% more likely to be in kindergarten rather than first grade. Oddly, girls’ academic status was unaffected by mothers’ stress. Investigation of relations between early stress and intelligence thus seems an important direction for future research. A particularly important issue concerns the degree to which the effects of stress on the brain are reversible. These five unresolved issues are merely examples of some of the important contemporary paradoxes and unknowns in intelligence research. It is to be hoped that as much progress on these and other issues will be made in the next 15 years as has been made on some of the paradoxes and unknowns since the time of the Neisser et al. (1996) review.

IQ is not a simple concept and this newest research points to more questions than answers.

Children will have the most success in school, if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Is Aspartame in milk given to children a good idea?

12 Mar

Moi wrote in New emphasis on obesity: Possible unintended consequences, eating disorders:

The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is reporting in the study, School Obesity Programs May Promote Worrisome Eating Behaviors and Physical Activity in Children:

Report Highlights

82% of parents report at least one school-based intervention aimed at preventing childhood obesity within their children’s schools.

30% of parents of children age 6-14 report worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children.

7% of parents say that their children have been made to feel bad at school about what or how much they were eating.

B.A. Birch reports about the Mott study in the Education News article, Report: School Food Programs Could Trigger Eating Disorders:

David Rosen, a professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, said:

We have to be really careful that we’re not putting things out there, particularly to younger kids, that might be misinterpreted, not be given appropriate supervision, and being done in ways that kids can, or some kids, can go off in dangerous directions and have bad outcomes.”

Rosen believes it is important that parents talk to their children about what they’re being told at the schools and to keep an eye out for worrying behavior.

Parents need to know what’s going on in school. They need to be able to talk with their kids about the information they’re getting in schools, be attentive to any changes they’re seeing in their kids, particularly if those behaviors seem to persist or seem to be getting worse.

We think the parents ought to be talking to schools about this kind of education.”

The schools must also take responsibility, says Rosen. Officials should pay attention to the outcomes of their programs. http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/report-school-food-programs-could-trigger-eating-disorders/

The key is moderation in both eating habits and exercise. The latest battle in the obesity fight in the school lunch program centers on adding Aspartame to milk consumed by children.

Allison Aubrey reports in the NPR article, Can Milk Sweetened With Aspartame Still Be Called Milk?

The dairy industry has a problem. Despite studies demonstrating milk’s nutritional benefits, people are drinking less and less of it.

Even children are increasingly opting for water or other low-cal options — including diet soda and artificially sweetened sports drinks.

So how can milk — especially school kids’ favorite, chocolate milk — compete in the low-cal arena? The dairy industry has a strategy: Swap the sugar that’s added to flavored milks for a zero-calorie sweetener such as aspartame (or other options such as plant-based stevia).

Now, in order to pull this off, the dairy industry has some regulatory hoops to jump through. Currently, if dairy producers want to add an artificial or no-cal sweetener, the resulting beverage is no longer allowed to be called milk (it wouldn’t meet the FDA’s technical definition of milk).

So the dairy industry is petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to change the standard of what qualifies as milk. The industry wants the iconic MILK label to remain on the front of the package, without any mention of the reduced calories — or the added artificial sweeteners (at least, not on the front label). And the FDA has opened up this petition for public comment.

“Kids don’t like the term ‘low-calorie,’ ” says Greg Miller of the National Dairy Council. “It’s a turnoff.”

Some school districts have banned flavored milk because of the high-calorie content. And some studies suggest that when you take chocolate milk out of schools, consumption of milk declines. During a phone interview, Miller told The Salt that the industry’s petition is aimed at offering school districts a lower-calorie milk option that kids will actually want to drink.

Miller says the petition does not seek to change existing regulations that require added sweeteners (such as aspartame or stevia) to be named in the list of ingredients — usually found on the back of a container.

“We are not trying to be sneaky,” Miller says.

But so far, lots of folks seem skeptical of the plan.

More than 90,000 people have joined a new online petition organized by SumOfUs.org, a consumer advocacy group, opposing the dairy industry’s petition.

And nutrition experts are weighing in, too, including Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has studied the links between sugary drinks and obesity. If the goal is to reduce the amount of calories that kids get from sweetened beverages, then removing sugar from flavored milk is one option, he says.

“If the option is flavored (milk) with diet (sweetener) vs. regular sugar, then diet (sweetener) is favored,” he wrote to us in an email.

But he says there’s no evidence that kids need flavored milk, such as chocolate milk. “It has not been shown to increase milk intake,” he says. The dairy industry disagrees.

And the dairy industry’s petition is also facing opposition from school food advocates.

“I think it’s unconscionable,” says school chef Ann Cooper, who’s been working to reform the way kids eat at school. She argues that parents and students will have a hard time discerning what’s in the milk. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/03/06/173618723/can-milk-sweetened-with-aspartame-still-be-called-milk

The effects of Aspartame on children has been studied.

For a concise description of Aspartame’s effects on children, see Cydney Walker’s Livestrong article, The Effects of Aspartame on Kids:

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that has been implicated in causing health problems since its use in processed foods and medications. It is made from two naturally occuring amino acids, L-phenylalanine and L-aspartic acid; when combined, it provides a sweetness that is 200 times greater than regular sugar, as stated by Aspartame Information Center. Testing was performed on the sweetener and the Food and Drug Administration provided the sweetener with the title of GRAS, generally recognized as safe.

Agression

The Aspartame Information Center states to date, no studies have shown conclusive evidence that aspartame causes aggressive behavior in children. Dr. Paul, a pediatrician, states that in small amounts found in medication, aspartame is safe for children. Drinking diet drinks is not considered safe as the amount of aspartame consumed by a small child is twice the recommended amount.

Brain Tumors

Aspartame has been stated to cause brain tumors in monkeys used to test the safety of the artificial sweetener. Osteopathic physician Dr. Mercola states that long-term use of phenylalanine products increases byproduct of diketopiperazine. This chemical is made by your body when metabolizing aspartame into the respective amino acids and formaldehyde. Diketopiperazine is a cause for concern because this chemical is implicated in causing brain tumors, especially when consumed from liquid products. Liquids that contain aspartame that are stored for long periods can have an increase in diketopiperazine levels. James Gurney, a researcher investigating brain tumor incidence, states brain tumors in both children and adults have increased since the release of aspartame in the 1980s, but concludes after review of multiple studies that the occurrence of brain tumors caused by aspartame is unlikely. When consumed in moderation, aspartame doesn’t pose a threat to the development of brain tumors in children.

Nerve Cell Death

Excitotoxins are chemicals that stimulate your nerve cells to fire continuously, and can cause premature death. Aspartic acid found in aspartame turns into a nerve cell stimulator with glutamic acid that is circulating around the blood. According to Dr. Mercola, 75 percent of the neurons are killed before chronic disease is noticed and diagnosed. This is critical for children because the blood brain barrier that usually protects an adult brain from exocitoxins is not developed enough in children. Higher levels of glutamate and aspartic acid in children’s brains could lead to heightened brain activity in children, thus causing behavioral problems.

Depression

Phenylalanine is the other component of aspartame that may predispose children to mood disorders. Phenylalanine accumulates in the blood of persons without phenylketonuria, which is a genetic disorder where phenylalaine isn’t broken down and collects in the brain. According to Dr. Mercola, phenylalanine, when combined with carbohydrates, can increases the blood and brain levels of the amino acid in persons without phenylketonuria. Increased phenylalanine levels interupt serotonin levels, causing depression.

For reliable and official information about aspartame www.Aspartame.net

http://www.livestrong.com/article/343251-the-effects-of-aspartame-on-kids/

Resources:

Aspartame withdrawal and side effects explained – Here’s how to protect yourself
http://www.naturalnews.com/035126_aspartame_side_effects_withdrawal.html#ixzz2NJ1PaBZ4

The History of Aspartame http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/244/Nill,_Ashley_-_The_History_of_Aspartame.html

Clearly the scope of the science is outside moi’s expertise, but she has a strong caution against allowing this additive to milk consumed by children. There are some big $$$ interests and those who want children to consume HEALTHY FOOD will have to remain vigilant.

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Energy drinks may pose a danger

18 Dec

The American Academy of Pediatrics is reporting at its site, Healthy Children.Org in the study, Energy Drinks Can Harm Children

Energy drinks may pose a risk for serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders.

A new study, “Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults,” in the March issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 14), determined that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit to children, and both the known and unknown properties of the ingredients, combined with reports of toxicity, may put some children at risk for adverse health events.

Youth account for half of the energy drink market, and according to surveys, 30 percent to 50 percent of adolescents report consuming energy drinks. Typically, energy drinks contain high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine, and guarana, and safe consumption levels have not been established for most adolescents. Because energy drinks are frequently marketed to athletes and at-risk young adults, it is important for pediatric health care providers to screen for heavy use both alone and with alcohol, and to educate families and children at-risk for energy drink overdose, which can result in seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

Several deaths have been attributed to energy drinks.

The Washington Post reports in the articleEnergy drink popularity booms at college, despite health concerns:

A 2008 study of undergraduates at a large public university found that 39 percent of students had consumed at least one energy drink in the past month, with considerably higher rates for males and white students. The study, funded with a National Institute on Drug Abuse grant, noted that energy drink marketing tactics are “similar to those used to sell tobacco and alcohol to youths….”

Red Bull, which hit the country in the late 1990s, is credited with creating this industry using a Thai recipe. Today there are hundreds of energy drinks on the market, ranging from 1.93-ounce 5-Hour Energy shots to 32-ounce cans of Monster. Even Starbucks has gotten into the game, producing sparkling energy drinks and canned espresso beverages.

That proliferation has intensified debate about a long-standing question: Are energy drinks safe?

The focus of that question is often one of the main ingredients: caffeine. Energy drinks contain from 2.5 to 35.7 milligrams of caffeine per ounce; energy shots may have as much as 170 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, according to researchers. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/energy-drink-popularity-booms-at-college-despite-health-concerns/2012/12/18/740e994e-45f8-11e2-8e70-e1993528222d_story.html

As more young people consume energy drinks, more problems are occurring.

Daniel J. DeNoon of WebMD Health News reports in the article, More Deaths, Illness Linked to Energy Drinks which was reviewed by Louise Chang, MD reports:

Nov. 16, 2012 — The FDA has posted adverse-event reports for two more energy drinks: 40 illnesses and five deaths linked to Monster Energy, and 13 illnesses and two lasting disabilities linked to Rockstar Energy.

The new reports follow this week’s revelation of FDA reports linking 92 illnesses and 13 deaths to 5-Hour Energy shots. The FDA previously said it was investigating the deaths linked to Monster Energy.

These adverse-event reports (AERs) are filed by patients, families, or doctors. They simply warn that the products might have harmed someone — but they do not prove that the product caused harm. The FDA can remove a product from the market only when investigation shows that the product causes harm when used according to the product label.

“If we find a relationship between consumption of the product and harm, FDA will take appropriate action to reduce or eliminate the risk,”  FDA public information officer Shelly Burgess says.

Moreover, the reports do not offer details on any underlying medical conditions that may have led to product-related illnesses.

The reports, some dating back to 2004, are not a complete inventory of all events that product users may have suffered. Most people, and many doctors, do not know how to file these reports or do not get around to filing them. And even when a product actually causes an illness, a user or doctor may not associate the product with the illness.

The new reports detail the events suffered by users of 5-Hour, Monster, and Rockstar energy drinks. These include:

  • Deaths due to heart attack or suicide linked to 5-Hour Energy
  • A miscarriage linked to 5-Hour Energy
  • Convulsions, life-threatening fear, deafness, and hemorrhage linked to 5-Hour Energy
  • Deaths due to heart attack or loss of consciousness linked to Monster Energy drink
  • Hospitalization due to irregular heartbeat, severe diarrhea, migraine, psychotic disorder, heart attack, and/or vomiting linked to Monster Energy drink
  • Disability from irregular heartbeat or stroke linked to Rockstar Energy drink
  • Hospitalization due to psychotic disorder, increased heart rate, or loss of consciousness linked to Rockstar Energy drink

All of these reports are collected by the product manufacturers. Because they market their products as nutritional supplements, they are required to submit them to the FDA. http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20121116/more-deaths-illness-energy-drinks

There are many reasons why people use energy drinks.

Barbara Aufiero reports in the Livestrong article, Why Do People Buy Energy Drinks?

Daytime Sleepiness

Many people depend on coffee to start their day. Caffeine boosts your energy and causes you to feel more alert and awake. Since these effects wear off after a few hours, you may experience a mid-afternoon lull shortly after lunch. Energy drinks can provide the extra oomph that you seek in order to get through your day. These energy drinks are often marketed towards young adults who have responsibilities in addition to work, such as family obligations, or aspirations to further their education.

Lack of Sleep

The regular use of energy drinks may be indicative of an underlying condition such as fatigue or insomnia, according to registered dietitian Kara Mitchell from Duke University. Fatigue is a symptom of a multitude of mental and physical health conditions. Fatigue caused by insomnia or lack of sleep is treatable. However, frequent use of energy drinks may mask the underlying condition. Energy drinks may also cause adverse health conditions such as irritability and high blood pressure, according to Mitchell.

Alcohol

The majority of energy drinks do not contain alcohol. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks is not uncommon among college students and young adults. The idea is that caffeine will reduce the sedative effects of alcohol and make you more alert. Researchers assessed the attention and reaction times of young adult drinkers between the ages of 21 and 30, after drinking energy drinks with alcohol. This study was published in the February 2011 issue of “Addiction,” and found an association between alcohol and impairments in attention and reaction. However, the addition of caffeine did not mitigate these impairments.

Increase Performance

Energy drinks and sports drinks, like Gatorade and Powerade, are not interchangeable. As such, they may be kept in separate aisles at supermarkets. Dr. Edward Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic suggests drinking water or sports drinks when you exercise, not energy drinks. One reason is that sports drinks replenish fluids and electrolytes, whereas energy drinks do not. Another reason is that the caffeine in energy drinks may cause restlessness, headaches, nausea and tremors. Excessive use is associated with chest pains, seizures, heart attack and even sudden cardiac death.
http://www.livestrong.com/article/423042-why-do-people-buy-energy-drinks/#ixzz2FTi9iueO

Whatever benefit there is to the use of energy drinks must be weighed against the risks which can be substantial for some individuals.

Resources:

Energy Drinks (Audio Description)

Nutrition and Sports

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