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Old 08-11-2005, 12:26 PM   #1
David Birozy
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Found this article in the Washington Post about a cop who died after drinking too much water (about 3 gallons) during a 12 mile bike ride. As the article states, don't panic and stop drinking!!
District Officer Dies After Bike Ride
Over-Hydration Cited as Factor

By Del Quentin Wilber and David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, August 11, 2005; B01

A highly honored 25-year-old D.C. police officer died yesterday after he apparently drank too much water Tuesday while training to use a bicycle on patrol, police officials said.

Doctors believe that hyponatremia, a sodium imbalance caused by drinking excessive amounts of fluid, most likely caused or contributed to the death of Officer James C. McBride, police officials said. McBride consumed as much as three gallons of water during and after the 12-mile training ride Tuesday morning, police said.

The doctors "did mention that he had consumed an awful lot of water," said D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, adding that authorities are awaiting autopsy results. "They are saying that is a possibility it might have contributed. . . . This is something that is really unusual. We are usually concerned about dehydration as opposed to people consuming too much water."

Hyponatremia, an abnormally low salt concentration in the blood, occurs when a person loses a large amount of sodium or consumes a large amount of water. Hyponatremia in athletes is almost always caused by drinking too much water.

As the blood becomes increasingly diluted, water moves out of the bloodstream and into cells, which swell. The swelling of the brain is responsible for the symptoms of severe hyponatremia -- nausea, confusion, seizures and coma. If pressure inside the skull increases enough, the base of the brain is squeezed downward through where connects it to the spinal cord, causing death.

McBride, who joined the force two years ago, was named the 1st Police District's rookie of the year. Colleagues said he pushed supervisors to allow him to attend the weeklong bicycle training course so he could better patrol his beat, Sursum Corda -- a notoriously violent public housing complex off North Capitol Street.

"This guy is really out here hustling to make a difference," D.C. Police Inspector Andrew Solberg said. "I read the arrest reports, and it seemed like his name was on them all the time. He just seemed to be a central component in everything that was going on."

Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) issued a statement saying McBride was an officer who "loved his city and who served it well." Police said McBride lived in Maryland.

McBride and 15 other officers started the course Monday at the department's academy complex in Southwest Washington. The next morning, the officers did a 12-mile training ride that included hills, police said.

About 2 p.m. Tuesday, McBride attended a training session that focused on how to dismount a bike. An instructor noticed that McBride looked ill and asked him to sit down. McBride complained of dizziness and nausea, police said. He then vomited, they said. Officers initially thought he might have suffered heat stroke.

Sgt. Timothy Evans, who ran the bike course, said he was not aware that McBride had drunk so much liquid and gave him some water to cool him down.

"I thought it was heat exhaustion," said Evans, who worked with McBride in the 1st District. "It never dawned on me that it might have been over-hydration."

At some point, McBride told an instructor that he had consumed perhaps as much as three gallons of water contained in a backpack he was carrying. Bicyclists often drink water through a tube connected to a bladder contained in such packs.

Officers said that McBride seemed to be recovering as he sat out the exercise. When another officer hurt his knee, police summoned an ambulance. The paramedics noticed that McBride was convulsing and continuing to vomit. They took him to Washington Hospital Center, where he died about 1:30 p.m. yesterday.

Many experts believe hyponatremia has become more common in recent years. More people are engaging in endurance events, such as marathons, that last many hours and during which participants are urged to drink water.

The blood concentration of sodium is normally about 145, measured in millimoles per liter. A study published in April in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in a random sample of 488 Boston Marathon runners, 22 percent of women and 8 percent of men had sodium levels below 135, the formal definition of hyponatremia. One participant, a 28-year-old woman, died of the condition.

In the Marine Corps Marathon last year in Virginia, four runners were treated for hyponatremia, and two were admitted to hospital intensive care units. A 35-year-old woman died of the condition in the 2002 race.

Some experts, however, caution against overreacting.

"We don't want to alarm people into drinking too little, because dehydration can cause problems as well," said Christopher Almond, a cardiologist at Children's Hospital in Boston who headed the Boston Marathon study.

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Old 08-11-2005, 02:30 PM   #2
Keith Wittenstein
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3 gallons over 12 miles?

My coach says, "good fighters don't need water and bad fighters don't deserve it!"

I agree.
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Old 08-11-2005, 10:52 PM   #3
Christian Hansen
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A 12 mile ride is pretty short. Who brings 3 gallons. This sounds fishy.
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:27 AM   #4
Tim Weaver
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Perhaps they are confusing gallons with liters...most hydration reservoirs are either 2L or 3L (70oz/100oz). 3 gallons would also weigh nearly 25 pounds....
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:54 AM   #5
Andrew Gray
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I first want to give my deepest condolences to officer McBride's family and friends. It sounds like he was a good cop who gave everything to try and be the best he could be.

I am also wondering if you can get hyponatremia from drinking too much gatorade? I know gatorade puts some sodium back into you, but would drinking enough still cause this problem? or other problems for that matter?
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Old 08-12-2005, 05:22 AM   #6
Ben Kaminski
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I think you could drink more gatorade than water before symptoms of hypoanatremia appeared, but gatorade is not a complete sweat replacement either.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:27 AM   #7
David Birozy
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Article says 3 gallons before AND AFTER the ride, so he didn't carry all three gallons with him.

The other problem to bear in mind is that we are relying on a newspaper account of an incident. Newspapers are NEVER accurate. Even when the reporters try to be, they simply don't have all the facts surrounding the incident, so the report the best they can. We don't know if he had any underlying medical conditions, or if other things contributed to his death.

That being said, hydration is obviously important, but unfortunatly, as this article points out, anything in excess can be dangerous.

Andrew, thanks for thinking of the family. Sometimes we (I) tend to miss these things as we debrief and evaluate critical incidents in order to learn from them. I couldn't agree more.
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Old 08-12-2005, 09:03 PM   #8
Kristian Palaoro
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Ben, as straightforward and simple an answer as is possible, no you cannot get it from drinking too much gatorade.

I tried to address this issue at least twice in a few past threads with people drinking large amounts of deionized/distilled waters.

The buffering zone of body fluids is placed largely out of balance with the addition of straight water, and it must be a large quantity over a short period. The body will respond by dumping excess fluid as fast as possible and then adding back electrolytes to get back in the buffering zone.

Pure water [DON'T try this] does not readily conduct electricity. When the body's levels of electrolytes drops far enough, signal transmission will be impacted. Under heavy strain when no electrical information gets through your body, you die.

Gatorade has twice the body's concentration of electrolytes. For safest results, either dilute it 1:1 with water, or switch back and forth in equal amounts. There is a whole untapped market for a diet gatorade, so it might be a good wagon to jump on of you ever get an opportunity.

Don't start a workout dehydrated and think you can make up for it by drinking lots of water. You should be hydrated enough to complete a workout without fluids, and I would encourage sipping between sets.
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Old 08-13-2005, 05:59 AM   #9
Ryan Heck
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Gatorade Research Labs are one of the best resources for info on hyponatremia and hydration. 4943&CFTOKEN=44688871
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Old 08-13-2005, 07:35 PM   #10
Kristian Palaoro
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Unfortunately though, there is an absolute confounding conflict between GRL and their products. This is something that must be declared in scientific research publications. What becomes published is inevitably the trials that produced the most Gatorade-supporting evidence. Contrary to marketing schemes, GRL is not a reliable source for effective hydration information. They are, undoubtably, a terrific resource for good-tasting liquid replenishment. Their reseach is intended to benefit Gatorade and hook the public with a safe product.

The rule in science is that if a t-test produces p<.05, you have produced results that are scientifically credible. A corporate monster such as (Coca-Cola?) Gatorade has the near limitless funds to complete enough favorable replications in order to publish whatever they want. It's referred to as lying with statistics. This is not to say that they are wrong or right, just that you should use their corporate recommendations as a starting point, whereby you look into peer-reviewed publications and compare credibility between independent experiments and the corporate giants. You may very well find concurrence.

Independent experimentation must disprove that your product is no better than any other, allowing a less than 5% chance that the results are merely due to chance. If you had the money, you could conceiveably run enough replicates to find a batch that would support whatever you wanted, ignoring all other data. This is often the technique used with homeopathic remedies, such as Zinc and colds. Do the reseach for the real results.

It seems our good friend Robert Murray, Ph.D. in exercise physiology, has forgotten that water moves UP the concentration gradient, not down, as it appears he misunderstands in his still very good explanation of Hyponatremia. As sodium concentrations in blood plasma increase, water flows into your veins in order to try to equalize the solute concentrations on both sides. This is why high salt diets increase blood pressure, and is the principle behind dialysis. You swell your veins with excess water. By losing electrolytes and increasing rapidly the amount of intrasystem water, the water outside of your veins satisfies the balance between the pressure exerted by your veins resisting more water intake and the propensity of water to move up the concentration gradient.

2 kidneys can eliminate about 1.5L of water per hour. If you are intaking more water than both your body loses to urination, and to sweating, eventually the extra water must go somewhere. It cannot be forced into active muscles as easily as it can be forced into soft brain tissue. The brain simply cannot provide energy to resist the influx, as in the case of muscle contractions, and electrical conductivity decreases along with the swelling. Results are headaches, nausea, vomiting, stupor, coma, death (often due to both brain swelling and inability to pass electrical information to regulate mandatory body functions).

Hyponatremia, pseudohyponatremia, and water intoxication, are all related to excess water intake in the absence of electrolytes. Famous sufferers include Leah Betts and Anna Wood (both fatal), 2002 Boston Marathon competitor Cynthia Lucero (also fatal) and 1998 athlete Craig Barrett (recovered). Water intoxication invariably leads to hyponatremia, but the two are distinct. Pseudohyponatremia is, interestingly enough Dr. Murray, related to having too much glucose or lipids along with too much water. Somehow this didn't make it into the final cut of his paper, which recommends sports drinks, and has a convenient link to Gatorade products.

Final lesson:
caveat emptor
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