ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
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Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Genes May Help Drive Rotator Cuff Injury
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More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
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TV Watching Doesn't Fast-Track Baby's Skills
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Many Alzheimer's Caregivers Admit to Abusive Behavior
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
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24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
Abnormal Heart Rhythm Boosts Death Risk for Diabetics
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More Educated Choose Healthier Foods, But Pay More
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Imagine Food Aromas That Prevent Overeating
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gas Stove Emissions Boost Asthma in Inner-City Kids
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Exhaust From Railroad Diesel Linked to Lung Ailments
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
FITNESS
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Dangerous Toys Still on Store Shelves, Report Finds
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Help Your Kids Stay Active
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
How to Attack Holiday Stress Head-On
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
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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