Too much caffeine

 

Sir, – That drinking coffee is associated with longevity and health appears fairly well established, as Dawn McKeen describes (“How much coffee should I drink? How much is too much?”, Life, February 21st). And its being such a healthy pleasure surely deserves to be better known. The statement that, while extremely high doses of caffeine can be fatal, it is rare to see someone in an emergency room “because they accidentally drank too much coffee” reminded me another source of the stimulant. I once saw a patient in a hospital emergency room at 6pm, a woman of about 18 years. She had been out the previous night and had consumed 15 vodkas, each mixed with a high-energy drink. The latter is russet in hue and famed for its bullish qualities. She hadn’t slept at all since getting home in the early hours, was very anxious and still had a pulse rate of 150, about twice what it should have been. There is, as Dawn McKeen says, much more than caffeine in coffee – and there less salutary sources of caffeine. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.