Laying Off Sugary Drinks Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Cutting sugar intake by 130 calories a day—the amount in one 12-ounce can of regular soda—may help lower blood pressure, according to a new study of 810 adults published in the journal Circulation. Researchers saw a 1.8 point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 1.1 point drop in diastolic blood pressure when participants drank one less 12-ounce serving of sugary beverages per day during the 18-month study period, HealthDay reports. The relationship held even after the team adjusted for weight loss and other variables that may influence blood pressure. On average, adults in the U.S. drink 28 ounces of sweetened beverages daily, says study author Liwei Chen of Louisiana State University.
Study: Early Childhood Vaccines Don't Damage Kids' Development
Many parents worry that the vaccines recommended for a baby in the first year of life are just too much too soon for an infant's immature immune system. Those fears have fueled a growing trend of parents delaying or refusing to vaccinate their babies. But a new study in Pediatrics examined the long-term effects of delaying vaccines and found that children whose parents refused or postponed vaccines did no better than children who were vaccinated on time, when tested on things like speech, language, achievement, fine motor skills, attention, and general intellectual function seven to 10 years later, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute reports.
The news came the same day that Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who did more than any one person to propagate the belief that vaccines cause autism, was barred from practicing medicine in Britain. Wakefield's 1998 study, published in The Lancet, fingered the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, as a cause of autism, though he looked at just 12 children. In February, The Lancet retracted his study, and Britain's regulatory group said Wakefield had been "dishonest" and "misleading" in conducting the research, including failing to disclose that he was working with lawyers who sought to sue vaccine manufacturers.
The new study on delaying vaccines doesn't look at cause and effect, but it is one of the first to focus on whether postponing vaccinations provides health benefits to children. [Read more: Study: Early Childhood Vaccines Don't Damage Kids' Development.]
To Guard Against Alzheimer's Disease, Drink Alcohol?
A new study suggests that drinking alcohol in moderation may provide some protection against Alzheimer's disease. Researchers in Spain examined the impact that cigarettes and alcohol had on Alzheimer's disease risk, HealthDay reports. Though smoking by itself did not appear to affect risk, the team found that moderate drinking—especially in nonsmoking women—was associated with a reduced risk of the disease.
In September, U.S. News offered ways to lower the odds of developing Alzheimer's disease. While genes influence the risk of developing Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, they "are not even the dominant factor" for the vast majority of people, according to Paul Thompson, professor of neurology at the University of California Los Angeles School of Medicine. There is a rare genetic scenario that appears to guarantee dementia, he said. But for everyone else, Thompson explained, science knows several factors that help keep brains healthy and build up reserves that will compensate as certain areas become diminished through normal aging. [Read more: Alzheimer's Disease Is Sharply Rising, But You Can Lower Your Odds.]
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