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Study: Energy Drinks May Cause Heart To Squeeze Harder

The manufacturers of a popular caffeinated alcohol drink announced on Nov. 16, 2010, that they will remove the caffeine from its controversial products -- just before the FDA reveals its intention to ban the Four Loko beverage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The manufacturers of a popular caffeinated alcohol drink announced on Nov. 16, 2010, that they will remove the caffeine from its controversial products — just before the FDA reveals its intention to ban the Four Loko beverage. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Energy drinks are extremely popular but many people do not know that they are loaded with caffeine and taurine. Now, there is a growing concern over their health effects, especially on the heart.

German researchers looked at the effects of the energy drinks with high levels of caffeine and taurine on the hearts of 18 healthy, young adults. They used MRI to look at the hearts of these young adults one hour after drinking an energy drink. They found no change in the heart rate, blood pressure, or the amount of blood the heart pumped per contraction.

But they did discover one interesting thing: energy drinks caused their hearts to squeeze harder. There were only 18 people in the study – a very small one – but it is clear more research is necessary.