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Study: Energy drinks are dangerous for kids, teens

Feb 14, 2011 6:25pm
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(NECN: Kenneth Craig, Worcester, Mass.) - They're popular, powerful and packed with caffeine. But a startling new study shows those high-caffeine energy drinks can be dangerous -- especially for children and teens.
     
     "What the study showed is that energy drinks may have a lot of caffeine in them, more than many parents would expect," said Dr. Darshak  Sanghavi, the Chief of  Pediatric Cardiology at UMass Medical School.
     
     It's all outlined in a review published today by the journal Pediatrics. In the paper, researches concluded that energy drinks "have been reported in association with serious adverse effects" and that despite makers' claims the drinks "have no therapeutic benefit."

     While Dr. Sanghavi had no part in the study, he agreed that consuming too much of the drink can be dangerous.
     
     "It can cause rapid heart rate, heart rhythm disturbances, and in very rare situations, even seizures or neurological problems," he said.

     According to the survey, as many as 50 percent of young adults consume energy drinks -- each with up to 80 milligrams of caffeine per serving, more than double the amount in soda. On top of that,  doctors say the caffeine content in soda is regulated by the FDA while the caffeine content in energy drinks isn't at all.
     
     "As a result no one really watching how much caffeine is going into them," Dr. Sanghavi said.

     The journal's review is already generating a wave of backlash from the energy drink industry.   In a statement, the American Beverage Association said, "this literature review does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation about energy drinks, their ingredients and the regulatory process."

     Doctors say concerned parents should talk with their children and keep a close on on just how much caffeine they're drinking.

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