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ADHD (Illusory, Non-Disease) or Ritalin/Amphetamines as Heart-Death Risk

Comments of Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD


Cardiac arrests rise in young adults during 1990s

March 2, 2001

Web posted at: 9:43 AM EST (1443 GMT)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (AP) -- The death rate from cardiac arrest
rose surprisingly among young U.S. adults in the 1990s, climbing 10
percent in men and 32 percent in women, federal officials said.

Cardiac arrest is still rare under age 35, accounting for just 1 percent

of all deaths from this cause. But experts said the newly recognized
increase is troubling and almost certainly represents a real trend and
not a statistical blip.

Researchers believe a major reason for the increase is the epidemic of
obesity, along with increased smoking and drug abuse, particularly
cocaine, which can be a powerful trigger of cardiac arrest.

Doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
conducted the first-ever survey of cardiac arrest in people ages 15 to
34. They released the figures Thursday in San Antonio at an
epidemiology conference of the American Heart Association.

Across the United States, the number of fatal cardiac arrests in this
age group rose from 2,710 in 1989 to 3,000 in 1996. In all, 23,320
young adults died, almost three-quarters of them men.

"It's a very scary finding, and it deserves a lot of attention," said Dr.
Murray Mittleman of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in
Boston. "If it is a behavioral factor, such as smoking or illicit drug
use, that will be very important to tease out."

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Methylphenidate—Ritalin, and the amphetamines, in wide use for
treatment of the never-validated ‘disease’ ADHD can be both licit/legal
and illicit/illegal. Does the body know when they are taken legally as
opposed to illegally? The US, ADHD/mental health industry often suggests
as much. They frequently suggest that these substances of addiction are
not addictive when given to children for ADHD. Just the other evening I
got word of the sudden death, during a nap, of a 30-year-old father who
had had a history of school-time use of Ritalin (details of his usage
are being sought). I have consulted in 3 cases of heart deaths in
children due to these drugs as they were being used legally in the
treatment of the of so-called ADHD. Matthew Smith was 14 when he fell
off of his skate board and died. His heart was badly scarred as were
the walls of his coronary arteries, just as in amphetamine addicts.
Stephanie Hall, almost 12 died in her sleep the day of a prescribed
increase of her Ritalin dose. Randy Steel, 9 was being restrained when
he became unresponsive. His first psychiatric label was ADHD, his first
drug—Dexedrine. His heart was ‘enlarged.’ In 1970 there were 150,000
cases nationwide; in 1985, 500,000, in 1990, one million; today 5-6

Dr. George Mensah, chief of the CDC's cardiovascular division, said
that doctors have traditionally considered cardiac arrest to be
exclusively a problem of older people.

"We need to increase awareness," he said. "Dying suddenly is not just
an old folks' problem. It can happen to young people, too. Three
thousand deaths are not trivial. These are people who should not die

Mensah said researchers were especially disturbed by gender and
racial disparities. During the eight years, the death rate from cardiac
arrest increased three times faster in women than in men.

It went up 19 percent in blacks and 14 percent in whites. The study
did not break down the increase in other racial and ethnic groups.

In 1996, the last year of the survey, the death rate for men ranged
from two per 100,000 for those in their late teens to 11 per 100,000
for those in their early 30s. In women, this ranged from one to 4 per
100,000 for the two age groups.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly quits pumping in an
organized way, stopping blood circulation. Unless victims are quickly
revived by defibrillators, they soon die or suffer irreversible brain

Although the specific triggers in the young are unclear, doctors know
that in older people, cardiac arrest often results from the same disease
process that makes the arteries clog up.

"Sudden cardiac death is a tragedy in anyone, and it is a particular
tragedy in a young person," said Dr. Rose Marie Robertson of
Vanderbilt University, president of the heart association. "Clearly we
don't understand all the underlying reasons for this increase. It clearly
has happened at a time when we've seen an increase in cardiac risk

According to federal figures, 17 percent of U.S. high school students
say they smoke cigarettes regularly, compared with 12 percent a
decade ago.

[Fred A. Baughman Jr., MD:
Deaths during restraint seem increasingly common among persons in
psychiatric institutions, juvenile and adult detention facilities
(prisons). A recent survey found that 2/3rds of girls and 3/4ths of
boys in a juvenile detention system had mental ‘diseases.’ Wherever
their is a mental ‘disease’ there are one or more psychiatric drugs and
almost all psychiatric drugs are more or less cardiotoxic (all are
brain-altering, brain-toxic). In a striking number of these deaths, as
in the case of Randy Steele, the struggle has been mild up to the time
of unresponsiveness and death. All such cases should be considered
cardiac deaths until proven otherwise and deserve expert, close
postmortem evaluation of the heart. In 1998 the American Heart
Association put out an advisory on the use of Ritalin and amphetamines,
but then withdrew it, leaving the impression there were no significant
cardiac risks]

Twelve percent of people in their 20s are now considered obese,
compared with 7 percent 10 years ago. Among people in their 30s,
obesity has risen from 11 percent to 19 percent.

Too much weight causes an array of ill effects that might increase the
risk of cardiac arrest, including higher cholesterol levels, high blood
pressure and diabetes.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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