ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Bone Loss Stable on Restricted Calorie Diet
Rheumatoid Arthritis Hits Women Harder
CANCER
Study Cites Gains in Gall Bladder Cancer Treatment
Green Tea May Help Prevent Oral Cancer
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
CAREGIVING
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Reduce Suffering, Urge Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
DIET, NUTRITION
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
Eating in America Still Unhealthy
Compound in Red Wine Fights Ravages of Age
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Small Doses of Carbon Monoxide Might Help Stroke Victims
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
School Phys. Ed. Injuries Up 150 Percent
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Week of Historic Senate Hearings on Integrative Medicine May Open New Doors
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Using the Mind to Heal the Heart
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Video Gaming Just Might Fight Aging
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
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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