Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cola and honey: Exploring food riddles in rhythm disturbances

25.06.2013
Drinking excessive amounts of cola and eating honey made from the pollen of Rhododendrons can cause unusual syncope (fainting) and symptoms of arrhythmia
Drinking excessive amounts of cola and eating honey made from the pollen of Rhododendrons can cause unusual syncope (fainting) and symptoms of arrhythmia, report two case studies presented as abstracts at the EHRA EUROPACE 2013 meeting, in Athens 23 to 26 June.

"Both these studies underline the importance of clinicians taking detailed medical histories for patients with unexplained arrhythmias and including questions about their dietary intakes," says Professor Andreas Goette, the EHRA Scientific Programme Committee chairperson.

In the first abstract¹ Dr. Naima Zarqane and Prof. Nadir Saoudi, from the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, Monaco, report how excessive consumption of cola drinks can result in marked potassium loss (hypokalemia), QT prolongation on ECGs and potentially life threatening arrhythmias.

In the abstract the team describe the case of a 31 year old woman admitted to hospital for traumatic syncope. Once other problems had been excluded (including a family history of sudden death, digestive symptoms, and metabolic or hormonal abnormalities), tests revealed the patient had blood potassium levels of 2.4 mmol/L, and a QTc (The QT interval on the ECG corrected for heart rate) of 610 ms. Normal blood potassium levels range between 3.5 to 5.1 mmol/L; while the normal QTc for women is less than or equal to 450 ms.

When they took a medical history the clinicians discovered that since the age of 15 years the patient had exclusively replaced water with cola beverages. When cola consumption ceased on medical advice, the patient's potassium level returned to 4.1 mmol/L at one week, and 4.2 mmol/L at one month, and her QTc duration returned to 430 ms at one week.

A literature search revealed six other case studies where excessive cola consumption could be related to adverse medical conditions including rhabdomyolysis (damaged skeletal muscle tissue), arrhythmias, and even one death related to Torsades de pointes (a form of ventricular tachycardia that can degenerate into ventricular fibrillation).

There are two potential explanations for the connection between cola consumption and low blood potassium level the authors say. Through osmotic principles the high fructose corn syrup content of cola is likely to prevent water from being absorbed by the gut and lead to people suffering from diarrhoea that is associated with heavy fluid losses that 'flush' potassium out of the body. Additionally, caffeine in the cola is also likely to have an effect on the loop of Henle in the kidneys where it reduces the amount of potassium that is reabsorbed. In the heart reduced extracellular potassium can inhibit the potassium current in ion channels and delay ventricular repolarisation that may in turn promote arrhythmias.

"One of the take home messages is that cardiologists need to be aware of the connection between cola consumption and potassium loss and should ask patients found to have QT prolongation about beverage habits," says Dr. Zarqane.

"It's also important that the people are made aware of the potential health dangers of excessive consumption of sugary drinks. There are important political messages for governments to ensure that bottled water is cheaper than sugary drinks, which is not always the case," says Prof. Saoudi.

In a further study it would be helpful to explore whether there are differences in blood levels of potassium between people who had high cola intakes, and people who did not consume the drink, he says. Excessive drinking of cola and other sugary beverages is likely to have additional adverse cardiovascular effects. "Due to the high calorie intake it's likely to result in weight gain which increases the risk of developing metabolic syndrome," said Prof. Saoudi.

'Mad Honey Poisoning'
In the second abstract² Dr. Ugur Turk, from Central Hospital, Izmir, Turkey, reports on the cases of a 68 year old father and 27 year old son who were both admitted to the Izmir emergency department at the same time with symptoms of vomiting and dizziness. Surface ECGs revealed both patients to have complete atrioventricular block and atrial flutter with slow ventricular responses.

When a history was taken both father and son reported that their breakfasts over the past three mornings had included high amounts of honey from the Black sea region of Turkey. This information immediately triggered Turk and colleagues to consider that their patients could be suffering from 'mad honey poisoning'.

Mad honey poisoning occurs after people consume honey contaminated with grayanotoxin, a chemical contained in nectar from the Rhododendron species ponticum and luteum. Grayanotoxin is a neurotoxin that binds to the sodium channels in the cell membrane, maintaining them in an open state and prolonging depolarisation.

"It's like the effect of cholingeric agents, and results in stimulation of the unmyelinated afferent cardiac branches of the vagus nerve which leads to a tonic inhibition of central vasomotor centres with a reduced sympathetic output and a reduced peripheral vascular resistance,"says Dr. Turk, "This in turn triggers the cardioinhibitory Berzold-Jarisch reflex which leads to bradycardia, continued hypotension, and peripheral vasodilatation."

Mad honey poisoning generally lasts no more than 24 hours, with symptoms of the mild form including dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, excessive perspiration, hypersalivation and paraesthesia. Symptoms of the more severe form include syncope, seizures, complete atrioventricular block and even fatal tachyarrhythmias (due to oscillatory after potentials).

While no specific antidote exists for grayanotoxin poisoning mild cases can be treated with atropine and selective M2 muscarinic receptor antagonists; while for the more severe form treatment options include temporary pacemaker implantation, and vasopressor agents.

The possibility of honey poisoning, says Dr. Turk, should always be considered in previously healthy patients admitted with unexplained hypotension, bradycardia and other rhythm disturbances. The condition occurs most frequently in people who have consumed honey from the Black sea region of Turkey, a major bee keeping area that is also the native habitat of Rhododendron ponticum and luteum.

"The dissemination of honey around the world means that physicians any where may be faced with honey poisoning," says Dr. Turk. Anyone buying honey from Turkey should first consume a small amount and leave it a few days before eating any more to check that they do not experience strange side effects.

The symptoms of both father and son resolved without the need for any medications and they were discharged from hospital on the fourth day. When their honey was sent away for melissopalynology, (analysis of the pollen contained in honey) the result revealed it did indeed contain pollen from the Rhododendron species.

Jacqueline Partarrieu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.escardio.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>