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Valley doctor: Energy drinks can be fatal

PHOENIX -- A Valley mom says her daughter died of a heart attack while on vacation in Rocky Point.

Kris Hamann blames the death of her 16-year-old daughter Lanna on energy drinks. Lanna's friends say she was drinking very little water but a lot of energy drinks on the day she died.

A Valley doctor confirms that energy drinks can be dangerous. Dr. Hammad Amer, a vascular surgeon at Banner Heart Hospital, said they are way more potent than soft drinks. He cited the results of a recent study by the University of Miami.

"The single-use drinks that come in those little bottles can be up to 10 times as much caffeine as a soda," Amer said. "It can cause increased anxiety, disruptions in sleep habits, arrhythmia and sudden death."

Amer said that the energy drinks are often marketed similar to sports drinks, but they don't replace the body's fluids.

For those who consume energy drinks, Amer gave this advice.

"I think moderation is probably best, and stay hydrated," he

Amer would also like to see more government regulation of energy drinks.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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