Archive for February, 2011

Energy Drinks Pose Serious Risk to Kids

Monday, February 14th, 2011

From the NBC affiliate in Miami: A study  from the University of Miami School of Medicine says energy drinks could pose a risk for serious adverse health effects in some children, especially those with diabetes, seizures, cardiac abnormalities or mood and behavior disorders.

The study, called “Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults,” says the 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.”

According to study surveys, adolescents account for half of the energy drink market, and as many as 50 percent have reported consuming energy drinks.

The study says high levels of stimulants such as caffeine, taurine and guarana are in the energy drinks and that safe levels of consumption of these ingredients haven’t been established for children.

It also says energy drink overdose can lead to seizures, stroke and even sudden death.

But some are saying the study’s findings are hogwash, and that mainstream energy drinks like Red Bull contain as much and even only half as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.

“This literature review does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation about energy drinks, their ingredients and the regulatory process,” said Dr. Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association.

What happens when an employer receives a report of a dilute specimen?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

As the employer, if the MRO informs you that a positive drug test was dilute, you simply treat the test as a verified positive test. You must not direct the employee to take another test based on the fact that the specimen was dilute.
If the MRO informs you that a negative test was dilute, take the following action:
(1) If the MRO directs you to conduct a recollection under direct observation (i.e., because the creatinine concentration of the specimen was equal to or greater than 2mg/dL, but less than or equal to 5 mg/dL (see §40.155(c)), you must do so immediately.
(2) Otherwise (i.e., if the creatinine concentration of the dilute specimen is greater than 5 mg/dL), you may, but are not required to, direct the employee to take another test immediately.
Such recollections must not be collected under direct observation, unless there is another basis for use of direct observation. You must treat all employees the same for this purpose. For example, you must not retest some employees and not others. You may, however, establish different policies for different types of tests (e.g., conduct retests in pre-employment situations, but not in random test situations). You must inform your employees in advance of your decisions on these matters.

Caffeine Has No Affect on Alcohol Impairment

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

A police officer once said that when you give a drunk a cup of coffee, all you get is a wide-awake drunk. A recent study at Boston University confirms the truth of that statement. Despite contrary marketing claims, high-caffeineated beverages have little or no effect on the neuromotor impairment caused by alcohol, BU Today reported Jan. 19.

To measure the effects of caffeine and alcohol on motor skills, investigators from the Boston University (BU) School of Public Health and Brown University’s Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies randomized 127 young adults to one of four treatment conditions: beer with or without caffeine, or nonalcoholic beer with or without caffeine. None of the participants screened positive for alcohol dependence, but all reported participating in binge drinking.

After consuming the beverages until those drinking alcohol reached a blood alcohol level above the legal limit for driving, participants in each group were assessed on driving performance (via simulator) and on sustained attention/reaction time.

According to results, while alcohol significantly impaired driving, attention, and reaction skills, the addition of caffeine did nothing to improve driving performance and had only a barely measurable effect of attention/reaction scores.

Cars Test Blood Alcohol Level

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety, developed by Waltham, Mass.-based QinetiQ North America, would employ sensors that would test a drivers BAC either through his or her breath or skin. Sensitive breath sensors installed in the cabin could grab respiratory samples from the air to dial in a driver’s BAC, or strategically-placed sensors on the steering wheel and door locks could analyze a driver’s skin to get a BAC reading before allowing him or her to fire up the engine.

Both technologies are nascent, and government officials admit that neither technology would see a commercial rollout for another decade most likely. Even then, they wouldn’t be mandated.