from the world's big
Fruit juice may raise cancer risk, study finds. Here's why.
A new study found a positive association between sugary drinks and cancer.
- The study monitored the health of more than 100,000 adults over a five-year period.
- During this time, some 2,200 people developed cancer, the majority of whom regularly consumed sugary drinks.
- Still, the researchers said the results don't prove that sugar causes cancer.
A new study found that drinking sugary beverages such as soda and fruit juice may increase your risk of developing cancer. The study, published in the BMJ on July 10, found that consuming sugary drinks was "significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer." Sugary drinks were defined as those containing more than 5 percent sugar, including soda and 100 percent fruit juice with no added sugar.
For the study, the researchers tracked the health, lifestyle and eating habits of 101,257 adults over a five-year period. During this time, cancer developed in about 2,200 people, the majority of whom regularly consumed sugary drinks.
The findings are some of the first to show a positive association between drinking sugary drinks and cancer. What's more, this positive association was observed for both soda and 100 percent fruit juices.
Still, the results don't necessarily prove that sugar causes cancer.
"These results need replication in other large scale prospective studies," the researchers wrote. "They suggest that sugary drinks, which are widely consumed in Western countries, might represent a modifiable risk factor for cancer prevention."
It's probably safe to drink soda or fruit juice on occasion, lead researcher Dr. Mathilde Touvier told The Guardian:
"The recommendation from several public health agencies is to consume less than one drink per day. If you consume from time to time a sugary drink it won't be a problem, but if you drink at least one glass a day it can raise the risk of several diseases — here, maybe cancer, but also with a high level of evidence, cardiometabolic diseases."
The researchers said the results could help inform future policy decisions. A handful of U.S. cities have levied taxes on the soda industry, including Boulder, Colorado; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Seattle, Washington, as well as Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco in California. Generally, distributors and wholesalers pay the tax when they deliver soda to retailers, though it's expected that consumers also end up paying more in the form of higher retail prices.
These taxes seem to decrease soda consumption. A recent study showed that soda purchases in Philadelphia dropped by 1 billion ounces in 2017, which was the first year of the soda tax.
Does sugar cause cancer?
Although consuming large amounts of sugar has been linked to some forms of cancer, like esophageal cancer, there's no strong evidence showing that it causes the disease, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. But there is an indirect link: Eating high-sugar foods often leads to obesity, which, in turn, raises the risk of developing cancer.
To consume less sugar, the institute recommends several strategies:
- switch sodas for flavored sparkling water without added sugar
- opt for unsweetened tea
- add colorful fruit like berries, melon and citrus to your water
- sprinkle cinnamon or cocoa on your coffee beverages and skip the sugar
- carry healthy snacks like nuts, fresh or dried fruit or whole grain crackers and cheese instead of sugary snacks.
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A recent study on monkeys found that stimulating a certain part of the forebrain wakes monkeys from anesthesia.
- Scientists electrically stimulated the brains of macaque monkeys in an effort to determine which areas are responsible for driving consciousness.
- The monkeys were anesthetized, and the goal was to see whether activating certain parts of the brain would wake up the animals.
- The forebrain's central lateral thalamus seems to be one of the "minimum mechanisms" necessary for consciousness.
Pixabay<p>When the team electrically stimulated a part of the brain called the central lateral thalamus, located in the forebrain, the monkeys woke up: they opened their eyes, blinked, reached out, made facial expressions and showed altered vital signs. </p><p>"We found that when we stimulated this tiny little brain area, we could wake the animals up and reinstate all the neural activity that you'd normally see in the cortex during wakefulness," Saalmann told Cell Press. "They acted just as they would if they were awake. When we switched off the stimulation, the animals went straight back to being unconscious."</p><p>This area of the brain may function as an "engine for consciousness," Redinbaugh told Inverse. Although past studies have shown that electrical stimulation can arouse the brains of humans and animals, the new findings are unique because they reveal which specific neural interactions appear to be minimally necessary for consciousness.</p><p>"Science doesn't often leave opportunity for exhilaration, but that's what that moment was like for those of us who were in the room," Redinbaugh told <a href="https://www.inverse.com/science/first-squid-mri-study-brain-complexity-similar-dogs" target="_blank"><em>Inverse</em></a><em>.</em></p>
Future applications<p>The team said the findings could have many applications down the road, but more research is needed.</p><p>"The overriding motivation of this research is to help people with disorders of consciousness to live better lives," Redinbaugh told Cell Press. "We have to start by understanding the minimum mechanism that is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, so that the correct part of the brain can be targeted clinically."</p><p>"It's possible we may be able to use these kinds of deep-brain stimulating electrodes to bring people out of comas. Our findings may also be useful for developing new ways to monitor patients under clinical anesthesia, to make sure they are safely unconscious."</p>
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.
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