ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Safe Toys for Dogs
BONES & JOINTS
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Vitamin K Doesn't Slow Bone Loss
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Falls Are Top Cause of Injury, Death Among Elderly
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Omega-3 May Reduce Endometriosis Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Warmer-Than-Average Temperatures Raise Migraine Risk
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
FITNESS
Fitness Fades Fast After 45
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Ginkgo Won't Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke in Elderly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Teens Lose More Weight Using Healthy Strategies
Don't Leave Your Kids In The Car !
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Countdown to Hair Loss
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
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Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes

(HealthDay News) -- Women who drink five or more servings of sugar-sweetened cola per week before they conceive increase their risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, a new study indicates.

"Previous studies have shown an association with other chronic metabolic problems," said study author Dr. Liwei Chen, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, in New Orleans. "This is the first to show an increased risk among pregnant women."

Gestational diabetes, known as glucose intolerance during pregnancy, is one of the most common complications of pregnancy. It increases the chances of lifelong diabetes for the woman and also can have permanent effects on the unborn child, Chen said. The report appears in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

"Other studies suggest that babies born to women who are diabetic during pregnancy have higher weight at birth and also higher rates of obesity and diabetes early in life," she added.

Chen, working with researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, studied 10 years of medical records on a group of 13,475 women from the Nurses' Health Study II. After adjusting for known risk factors for gestational diabetes, such as age, family history and smoking, the researchers found that women who had more than five servings per week of sugar-sweetened cola beverages had a 22 percent higher risk of gestational diabetes than women who had less than one serving per month.

No such association was found for consumption of other sugar-sweetened beverages or artificially sweetened drinks.

It's not clear why only cola drinks are associated with the increased risk, Chen said. One explanation could be "the tremendous popularity of cola in the United States," she said.

The results are not conclusive, and "we need other studies to confirm our findings," Chen said. "We plan to study other populations, and we hope that other investigators start such studies."

But meanwhile, "I suggest that women reduce their intake of sugary beverages," she said. "Women need to be aware of the possible risk not only for their pregnancy but also of the long-term consequences for their babies."

Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy for the American Beverage Association, which represents soft drink companies, said she was skeptical about the findings.

"As with all epidemiological studies, the data do not show a cause-and-effect relationship," Storey said in a statement.

Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption has not been among the risk factors for gestational diabetes identified by "leading scientific bodies," Storey added.

"The key to a healthy pregnancy is seeking good medical care and having a healthy lifestyle before and during pregnancy," the statement said. "This includes eating a variety of foods and beverages in moderation along with getting regular physical activity."

According to the journal report, there are several potential explanations for the association. For example, sugar-rich foods or beverages can overload the body with glucose, which can impair the function of the beta cells of the pancreas, which make insulin that metabolizes glucose.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the leading source of added sugar in the American diet, Chen said. The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that soft drink intake more than doubled between 1977 and 2001 among 19- to 39-year-old Americans, going from 4.1 percent to 9.8 percent, and that those in this age group had the highest rate of soft drink consumption.

SOURCES: Liwei Chen, M.D., assistant professor, epidemiology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans; Dec. 1, 2009, statement, American Beverage Association, Washington, D.C.; December 2009, Diabetes Care Published on: December 02, 2009