Energy drinks may provide a bit too much of a boost to your heart, creating additional strain on the organ and causing it to contract more rapidly than usual, German researchers report.
Healthy people who drank energy drinks high in caffeine and taurine experienced significantly increased heart contraction rates an hour later, according to research scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, in Chicago.
The study raises concerns that energy drinks might be bad for the heart, particularly for people who already have heart disease, said Dr. Kim Williams, vice president of the American College of Cardiology.
"We know there are drugs that can improve the function of the heart, but in the long term they have a detrimental effect on the heart," said Williams, a cardiology professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine, in Detroit.
For example, adrenaline can make the heart race, but such overexertion can wear the heart muscle down, he said. There's also the possibility that a person could develop an irregular heartbeat.
From 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency room visits related to energy drinks nearly doubled in the United States, rising from slightly more than 10,000 to nearly 21,000, according to a meeting news release. Most of the cases involved young adults aged 18 to 25, followed by people aged 26 to 39.
Read more from U.S. News.
Deaths from H1N1 influenza in 2009 may have been 10 times higher than previously estimated, killing 123,000 to 203,000 people from respiratory illness worldwide, according to a new analysis in the journal PLOS Medicine.
The World Health Organization had listed the global death toll from the H1N1 pandemic, also known as swine flu, at 18,449, based only on laboratory-confirmed cases.
That relatively low death tally had led some to wonder if the dangers of H1N1 had been overblown, according to the analysis, conducted by 60 researchers in 26 countries and funded by the WHO.
Most people infected with the flu never got a lab test to confirm their diagnosis, according to the study, whose authors used death records from countries around the world to estimate the true number of deaths.
Some flu deaths go uncounted, because the immediate cause of death of many people is actually pneumonia or another chronic respiratory ailment, according to the study led by researchers at George Washington University School of Public Health in Washington.
Read more from USA Today.
Overweight U.S. pilots and air traffic controllers will soon need to be screened for sleep apnea, a condition that can cause daytime sleepiness and potentially jeopardize passenger safety, according to a new federal policy.
The Federal Aviation Administration's chief medical officer told physicians in a recent memo that they will shortly be required to calculate the body mass index (BMI) of pilots and controllers and send those with a BMI of 40 or more to be evaluated by a sleep specialist.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a potentially serious disorder in which a person's breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It commonly affects people who are overweight.
The FAA said the condition has "significant safety implications," from excessive daytime sleepiness to personality disturbances, cognitive impairment and sudden cardiac death.
"Untreated obstructive sleep apnea is a disqualifying condition for airmen and air traffic control specialists," Dr. Fred Tilton, the Federal Air Surgeon, said in the memo to aviation medical examiners.
While the condition has been frequently discussed at flying safety meetings, and has been a "hot issue" at the National Transportation Safety Board for several years, the new policy will require airmen and controllers who are diagnosed with OSA to be treated before they can be medically certificated, Tilton said.
Read more from Reuters.
Boys are 14 percent more likely than girls to be born prematurely, and preterm boys have a greater risk of disability and death than preterm girls, new research finds.
These disabilities range from learning problems, blindness or deafness, to motor problems such as cerebral palsy, according to the authors of six studies published in the journal Pediatric Research.
"Baby boys have a higher likelihood of infections, jaundice, birth complications and congenital conditions, but the biggest risk for baby boys is due to preterm birth," said research team leader Dr. Joy Lawn of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in England.
"For two babies born at the same degree of prematurity, a boy will have a higher risk of death and disability compared to a girl," Lawn said. "Even in the womb, girls mature more rapidly than boys, which provides an advantage, because the lungs and other organs are more developed."
"One partial explanation for more preterm births among boys is that women pregnant with a boy are more likely to have placental problems, pre-eclampsia [a serious complication], and high blood pressure," conditions which are all associated with preterm births, Lawn added.
However, the study authors pointed out, preterm girls are more likely than boys to die in the first month of life in some countries where girls receive less nutrition and medical care than boys.
More than 80 percent of preterm infants (less than 37 weeks' gestation) in high-income countries survive and thrive. The risk of death and disability is greatest for those born at less than 28 weeks.
In middle-income countries, the risk of disability for infants born at 28 to 32 weeks is double that of those in high-income countries. In low-income countries, preterm babies are 10 times more likely to die than those in high-income countries. Death is twice as likely as disability for preterm babies in these countries.
For the study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 15 million preterm babies worldwide. Of the 13 million who survived beyond the first month of life, 4.4 percent had mild disability and 2.7 percent had moderate or severe disability.
The largest number of problems among preterm infants occurred in low-income countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where 2.2 million died and more than 600,000 had some degree of disability, according to the study findings.
India had the greatest number of preterm births at over 3.2 million. China had less than half that number -- 1.3 million -- followed by Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia. The United States recorded nearly 498,000 preterm births.
Malawi had the highest rate of preterm birth at 18.1 per 1,000 live births, the report noted.
-- U.S. NEWS
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the use of unregulated tobacco products is growing quickly among U.S. high school students. A study of teens from 2011 to 2012 showed:
The study showed no significant drop in student's cigarette smoking or tobacco use.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S., killing more than 1,200 every day.
The report notes that the increase in the use of electronic cigarettes and hookahs could be linked to an increase in marketing, availability, and visibility and the perception that they may be safer than cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes, hookahs, cigars and certain other new types of tobacco products are not yet subject to FDA regulation.
Read more from the 2011 and 2012 National Youth Tobacco Surveys.