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Old 16th May 2017, 11:02 PM   #1
Aepervius
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Caffeine death ?

I saw this article :

http://us.cnn.com/2017/05/15/health/...ine/index.html

The pretension is that a teenager died after drinking a few caffeinated beverage, he had no heart condition, and this was not a caffeine overdoses.

I don't know much about medicine, but I am smelling BS. A few hundred mg caffeine will not push a normal teenager heart without other illness, in such arrhythmia that it stops. Overdoses would do it though. This feel like those BS article warning us on what teenager should not do, and they are missing an important detail which would not make it a cautionary tale.

Anybody not a lay person like me can chime in ?
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:32 PM   #2
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It was a caffeine overdose, I don't understand why the coroner put it the way he did.

Quote:
"This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said.
That's an absurd premise that one cannot OD on legal substances. Of course you can.

I suspect the reporter and the coroner were not communicating.
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:38 PM   #3
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That seems rather puzzling, not seeing how he can claim the drinks caused the death. It just seems to have been "one of those things" tragedies that do happen.
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
It was a caffeine overdose, I don't understand why the coroner put it the way he did.



That's an absurd premise that one cannot OD on legal substances. Of course you can.

I suspect the reporter and the coroner were not communicating.
How do you know that?
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Old 16th May 2017, 11:50 PM   #5
Aepervius
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
How do you know that?
At one point of the article it is said to that the coroner conclusion is that it was due to the caffeine. At another point it is stated it was not an overdosis, but it may be the reporter and family own conclusion rather than the coroner. If the coroner state it was due to the caffeine, IMO it was as stated by Skeptic ginger , due to an overdosis.

the contradiction is solved by simply seeing that the family/reporter did not accept or understand that it was not the 3 drinks, but added caffeine by teaspoon, and thus overdosis.

It is more inference than explicitly written, though.
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Old 17th May 2017, 12:24 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
How do you know that?
Because the report says so.
Quote:
Too much caffeine caused the death of a 16-year-old high school student from South Carolina who collapsed during class last month, according to the county coroner.

Davis Allen Cripe died from a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts announced in a news conference Monday.
What is that if not an overdose?

That is inconsistent with
Quote:
"This was not an overdose. We lost Davis from a totally legal substance," Watts said.
I don't know who has gotten the story muddled, the reporter or the coroner.
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Old 17th May 2017, 05:17 AM   #7
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This strikes me as a diagnosis of exclusion. There's no reason to think caffeinated beverages are killing our kids. You can get some idea of what he ingested with a toxicology report, but the amounts given in the article fall in the normal/safe range (in my opinion).

It reminds me of this style of headline: "Kid Dies When Struck by Baseball in the Chest."

The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult.

Say the kid weighed 50kg (set low to be conservative). That's an LD50 at 200mg X 50 = 10 grams. Not gonna happen with the beverages described. Was he super sensitive to caffeine? Maybe. Stuff happens.
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Old 17th May 2017, 05:25 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
I saw this article :

http://us.cnn.com/2017/05/15/health/...ine/index.html

The pretension is that a teenager died after drinking a few caffeinated beverage, he had no heart condition, and this was not a caffeine overdoses.

I don't know much about medicine, but I am smelling BS. A few hundred mg caffeine will not push a normal teenager heart without other illness, in such arrhythmia that it stops. Overdoses would do it though. This feel like those BS article warning us on what teenager should not do, and they are missing an important detail which would not make it a cautionary tale.

Anybody not a lay person like me can chime in ?
Couldn't find in the article, but what was the energy drink, I wonder? Taurine and other stimulants are in most energy drinks, so caffeine may have only been part of the problem. I know that I'm sensitive to taurine, just a little will make my blood pressure sky rocket, whereas caffeine of less than 200mg will not. This kid might have had a similar problem.

I'm guessing there's a suit against the energy drink company, which is why they didn't mention the name.
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Old 17th May 2017, 05:37 AM   #9
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It looks like the coroner couldn't find a cause, so he made one up.

Quote:
"On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald's and also some type of energy drink," Watts said.
That doesn't seem like it would be a deadly amount of caffeine...?

Quote:
Watts, who is not a medical doctor, did not give details on how he came to the conclusion that the drinks killed Cripe. He said he did not know what type of energy drink Cripe drank.
http://www.today.com/health/16-year-...m_npd_td_fb_ma
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Old 17th May 2017, 07:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Cayvmann View Post
Couldn't find in the article, but what was the energy drink, I wonder? Taurine and other stimulants are in most energy drinks, so caffeine may have only been part of the problem. I know that I'm sensitive to taurine, just a little will make my blood pressure sky rocket, whereas caffeine of less than 200mg will not. This kid might have had a similar problem.

I'm guessing there's a suit against the energy drink company, which is why they didn't mention the name.
My thoughts as well. The other stims in the energy drink, combined with additional caffeine may have done the trick for this kid. Probably wouldn't be a lethal dose for most people, but it appears that it was for him.
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Old 17th May 2017, 10:04 AM   #11
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I though that maybe this was related to the use caffeine powder, but there is no indication of that in the reports
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Old 17th May 2017, 12:57 PM   #12
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The coroner doesn't seem to know what caused the death at all, even the arrhythmia appears to be assumed because his heart stopped.

Quote:
The official cause of death for Davis Allen Cripe was a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia,” said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.
The arrhythmia is only "probable".

They have no idea how much caffeine he actually consumed.

The caffeine connection appears tenuous at best.

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/a...150593402.html
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Old 17th May 2017, 01:04 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by LTC8K6 View Post
The coroner doesn't seem to know what caused the death at all, even the arrhythmia appears to be assumed because his heart stopped.



The arrhythmia is only "probable".

They have no idea how much caffeine he actually consumed.

The caffeine connection appears tenuous at best.

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/a...150593402.html
I agree it seems odd that they know so little, but I would say the caffeine connection is apparent unless and until there is some other cause of death found. I'm not saying it caused his death, but that it appears to have been connected to his death.
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Old 17th May 2017, 01:14 PM   #14
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Fortunately, I heard the story on NPR and they had better chemical/medical information than the article noted at the beginning probably did!!! And same suggested strongly that the combination of exertion and caffeine almost certainly was the cause.
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Old 17th May 2017, 01:28 PM   #15
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It says he collapsed in a school classroom, which doesn't seem like it would involve exertion?

Quote:
Watts said the teen was healthy and had no family history of a medical problem the caffeine could have exacerbated.

Davis had purchased the latte at a McDonald’s around 12:30 p.m. April 26, Watts said. He consumed the Diet Mountain Dew “a little time after that” and the energy drink sometime after the soda. Watts declined to name the energy drink.

EMS received the call about Davis collapsing in class at 2:28 p.m., Watts said. He was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. at Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital.
Quote:
The autopsy showed no “unfounded” or “undiagnosed heart condition,” said Watts, who was careful not to call Davis’ death a caffeine overdose. He added that Davis had “a previous history of drinking” caffeinated beverages but nothing that his family considered to be an addiction.
He's healthy, he has no heart condition, no family history of problems with caffeine, and he doesn't appear to have actually drank an inordinate amount of caffeine over the two hours. Drinking caffeinated beverages was apparently normal behavior for him, and didn't cause him problems in the past.

He apparently did not have high caffeine levels, or they'd have called it an overdose?

I'm puzzled by the caffeine line. Seems like it might well have been something else, possibly in the energy drink.

I guess the lawsuit against the energy drink maker will shed light on the case.

http://www.thestate.com/news/local/a...150593402.html
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Old 17th May 2017, 03:27 PM   #16
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There are a few known mutations that can make people more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. I wonder if they ran his DNA?
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Old 18th May 2017, 11:37 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
There are a few known mutations that can make people more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. I wonder if they ran his DNA?
The amount of caffeine we speculate he drank that morning doesn't seem to be being called out as abnormal for him. If he was that sensitive to caffeine wouldn't he have at least been suffering with some symptoms for a long time?

Still think the "death by caffeine" is clutching at straws as there doesn't seem to be any objective evidence that he did die as a result of his caffeine intake that day.

Sadly some people do "drop dead" - even young and otherwise assumed healthy people.
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Old 19th May 2017, 01:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The amount of caffeine we speculate he drank that morning doesn't seem to be being called out as abnormal for him. If he was that sensitive to caffeine wouldn't he have at least been suffering with some symptoms for a long time?
Yes, although (and I'm speculating here) you can have alterations/mutations which lead to a narrowing of the range of "safe." So, for instance, if I have a liver enzyme which is much lower than normal, I can take a dose of a drug which overwhelms the enzymes I have available leading to "dumping."

In effect, you get a tightening of the difference between Ok and toxic.

Of course, you'd want to look at his levels of caffeine post mortem. That tells you the actual numbers "seen" by the heart.

Quote:
Still think the "death by caffeine" is clutching at straws as there doesn't seem to be any objective evidence that he did die as a result of his caffeine intake that day.

Sadly some people do "drop dead" - even young and otherwise assumed healthy people.
I agree. For me it's still in the "possible but unknown" category. I can imagine stuff, but those imaginings suffer from a lack of any real data.
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:27 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult.

Say the kid weighed 50kg (set low to be conservative). That's an LD50 at 200mg X 50 = 10 grams. Not gonna happen with the beverages described. Was he super sensitive to caffeine? Maybe. Stuff happens.

The highlighted phrase lacks justification.

By definition, half of the sample population dies after ingesting less than half of the LD50. Even if the estimated LD50 for humans had been obtained through controlled experiments on humans, which it wasn't, an LD50 summary statistic by itself tells you nothing about the shape of the tails of the probability distribution.

If one out of a thousand humans is twenty times as sensitive as the estimated LD50, then we'd expect one out of two thousand 50kg humans to die after consuming 500mg of caffeine. Some energy drinks contain that much caffeine in a single serving.

The fact that caffeine deaths are so rare is evidence against one out of a thousand humans being twenty times as sensitive as the estimated LD50, but it is not strong evidence against caffeine having some role in this particular death.

I don't know whether caffeine was the real culprit in this case, but I do know you can't rule that out using an argument based on nothing more than the estimated LD50.
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Old 19th May 2017, 04:30 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
I saw this article :

http://us.cnn.com/2017/05/15/health/...ine/index.html

The pretension is that a teenager died after drinking a few caffeinated beverage, he had no known heart condition, and this was not a caffeine overdoses.
FTFY. He suffered a fatal arrhythmia from what some consider a normal breakfast drink. He either had an undiscovered underlying heart condition or was unusually sensitive to caffeine, or both.

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Old 19th May 2017, 04:35 AM   #21
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The arrhythmia is not even definite, though.

It was called a probable arrhythmia by the coroner.

I guess because there is no actual evidence of it, except that his heart stopped?
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Old 19th May 2017, 09:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
This strikes me as a diagnosis of exclusion. There's no reason to think caffeinated beverages are killing our kids. You can get some idea of what he ingested with a toxicology report, but the amounts given in the article fall in the normal/safe range (in my opinion).

It reminds me of this style of headline: "Kid Dies When Struck by Baseball in the Chest."

The LD50 of caffeine in humans is dependent on individual sensitivity, but is estimated to be about 150 to 200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass or roughly 80 to 100 cups of coffee for an average adult.

Say the kid weighed 50kg (set low to be conservative). That's an LD50 at 200mg X 50 = 10 grams. Not gonna happen with the beverages described. Was he super sensitive to caffeine? Maybe. Stuff happens.
Originally Posted by W.D.Clinger View Post
The highlighted phrase lacks justification.
You misparsed the phrasing, although I see where the ambiguity arises.

What is "not gonna happen" is 10 grams of caffeine (regardless of the relationship to LD50) in the beverages listed.

I'd also submit that, unlike many substances, we have pretty good data on caffeine beyond estimates usually available from animal models. These would include news reports on other "extreme" overdoses as well as information from poison control centers. This is very far from an unusual substance for humans to consume, even in large amounts.

For example, a quick look at poison control center data shows (over a 10 year period and more than 50,000 calls), only one recorded death from caffeine overdose. This doesn't tell us the LD50 directly, that would require dosage information, but it does tell us the extreme rarity of any deaths.

I also wanted to see who might have overdosed on caffeine purposefully, but I wasn't able to find much on a quick search. https://www.caffeineinformer.com/a-r...th-by-caffeine

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Old 19th May 2017, 03:34 PM   #23
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My doctor warned me that caffeine can kill me. Not so much an allergy but how it affects my muscles. I have Malignant Hyperthermia.

My muscles over-react to caffeine (as well as a few other chemicals) resulting in an increase in heat generation. Too much can lead to an attack that can result in core body temperature increasing to 108+ F resulting in death.

It can only be diagnosed via testing muscle tissue sample contraction in solutions of caffeine and halothane.

When asked how much caffeine was dangerous my doctor said that every bit will cause damage to my muscles that will never heal. Over my lifetime the damage will accumulate resulting in greater chronic pain and fatigue.

Any amount could be the bit that triggers an attack.
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Old 20th May 2017, 05:57 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Molinaro View Post
My doctor warned me that caffeine can kill me. Not so much an allergy but how it affects my muscles. I have Malignant Hyperthermia.
I came to post about exactly this condition.

My ex (and members of her family) have it, and coffee definitely gave her problems. One cup occasionally was OK, but multiple would be a disaster.

A lot of precautions had to be taken for her to have minor surgery.

My first guess when reading the article... Probably the family should be tested.

Often people don't know, until a family member dies under anesthetic.
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Old 20th May 2017, 06:41 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
My first guess when reading the article... Probably the family should be tested.
My mother was first to be tested and found positive. I then had the test and one brother also tested positive. My other brother just assumes he has it and behaves accordingly. Our children also just assume positive.

Not sure how the test goes these days. When I had it it was surgery under a general anesthetic. They called it a skeletal muscle biopsy. The sample had to be taken from the underside of the quadriceps where the muscle rests against the femur.
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