HEALTH

Study: Energy drinks boost blood pressure, heart rate

BY Michael Johnsen

DETROIT People who have high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid consuming energy drinks, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study released Tuesday.

Researchers found that healthy adults who drank two cans per day of a popular energy drink experienced an increase in their blood pressure and heart rate.

No significant changes in EKG measurements were reported.

The increases in blood pressure and heart rate were insignificant for healthy adults, but could prove harmful to people with a heart-related condition, concluded James Kalus, senior manager of Patient Care Services at Henry Ford Hospital and lead author of the study.

“Based on our findings, we recommend that people who have hypertension or heart disease and are taking medication for them to avoid consuming energy drinks because of a potential risk to their health,” Kalus said.

Researchers believe the caffeine and taurine levels in energy drinks could be responsible for increases in blood pressure and heart rate. The brand of energy drink used in the study was not identified because most energy drinks on the market boast similar levels of caffeine and taurine, a non-essential amino acid derivative often found in meat and fish. The caffeine levels in energy drinks are equivalent to at least one to two cups of coffee, the researchers noted.

The study is slated for publication in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy.

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CDC: Influenza activity high, but flat

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Influenza activity in the United States remained high, but flat, compared with the week prior, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated on Friday.

To date, 35 states have reported widespread influenza activity, while 14 states reported regional activity. The District of Columbia and Utah reported local influenza activity; and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity.

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FTC seeks to revise the meaning of ‘results may vary’ for weight loss products

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON Manufacturers of weight loss diet aids may soon need to substantiate any “result not typical” testimonials with results that would be typical, if the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed revision to the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising — last updated in 1980 — is put into effect without any further revisions.

In the newly approved Federal Register notice, the FTC’s proposed revisions to the Guides address consumer endorsements, expert endorsements, endorsement by organizations, and disclosure of material connections between advertisers and endorsers. On the issue of consumer endorsements, the proposed revisions state that testimonials that do not describe typical consumer experiences should be accompanied by clear and conspicuous disclosure of the results consumers can generally expect to achieve from the advertised product or program.

For some product categories, however, where ascertaining typical results may be difficult, the proposed rule change could mean eliminating use of testimonials altogether.

“Some advertisers and marketers of new products will find it impossible to comply with this new standard, requiring that they forbear using truthful testimonials or face the threat of enforcement action by the Commission,” the Council for Responsible Nutrition stated in comments submitted to FTC earlier this month. “While the Commission’s response in the [Federal] Notice is that the marketer may say what the actual expected performance will be, this ignores the reality that it may be difficult or impossible to measure actual or expected performance with new products or products used under highly variable conditions.”

The FTC revision was published in November, 2008 in the Federal Register. The comment period regarding those revisions closed earlier this month.

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