Medical News Update For 05/2017

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In case you’ve missed the latest news – higher consumption of artificially sweetened drinks is associated with increased risk of stroke and dementia.

In the Framingham Heart study of more than 4000 participants, those who drank at least one artificially-sweetened beverage per day were nearly 3 times more likely to develop a stroke and 2.9 times more likely to develop all cause dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia over 10 years than those who abstained, even after adjustment for total caloric intake, diet quality, physical activity, and smoking status. [1]

This data complements other findings that higher consumption of both diet and sugary beverages was associated with smaller brain volumes. Sugary drinks, which include both soda and fruit juice, were also associated with worse episodic memory and other markers of preclinical Alzheimer’s dementia. [2]

So what can we drink? Of course water is the best.

But you can also enjoy beetroot juice. In the recent study, researchers looked specifically at beetroot juice, a source of dietary nitrate – a compound that dilates blood vessels to decrease blood pressure and may reduce over-stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system that occurs with heart disease. They confirmed that beetroot juice may provide benefits to patients with heart disease. [3]

By the way, don’t forget my favorite fermented milk- kefir, that was proven to prolong life in another study of 103,256 adult participants, both women and men, from Northern Sweden. [4]

Let’s talk about fish. Do you know your Omega-3 index? Ask your doctor, if you do not.

Recently, several studies have used the Omega–3 index, a validated biomarker of omega–3 fatty acid tissue levels, to evaluate risk for heart disease. Keep your Omega-3 index above 8% to decrease the risk of heart disease by 30%. [5]

And never forget to exercise. We know that an increase in physical activity ameliorates low-grade systemic inflammation in disease populations, such as Type 2 diabetes mellitus and heart disease.[6]

Another recent study showed the positive effect of exercise training on inflammatory markers in non-disease, “healthy”, physically inactive adults. The available evidence suggests potential for the greatest benefit to be seen in older populations and with higher intensity aerobic exercise. [7]

And if you are tired, go for a walk. Researchers at the University of Georgia found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs at a regular pace was more likely to make participants feel energized than ingesting 50 milligrams of caffeine – about the equivalent to the amount in a can of soda. Even a brief bout of stair walking can enhance feelings of energy, without reducing cognitive function or causing long term brain shrinkage. [8]

Some good news for patients with chronic pain. A study suggests that chronic pain sufferers can get relief by getting more sleep, or, short of that, by taking medications to promote wakefulness, such as caffeine. [9]

For more information on the latest medical research and recommendations on a healthy lifestyle, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000 or


[1] Pase M P, et al. Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia. A Prospective Cohort Study. 2017;STROKEAHA.116.016027

[2] Pase M P, et al. Sugary beverage intake and preclinical Alzheimer’s disease in the community.

[3] Karambir Notay, et al. Acute beetroot juice supplementation on sympathetic nerve activity: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept study. American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology . May 5, 2017.

[4] Tognon G, et al. Non fermented milk and other dairy products: associations with all-cause mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. ajcn 140798, May 10, 2017.

[5] Harris W S, et al. The Omega-3 Index and relative risk for coronary heart disease mortality: Estimation from 10 cohort studies. Atherosclerosis.

[6] Melo LC, et al. Physical Exercise on Inflammatory Markers in Type 2 Diabetes Patients: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2017;2017:8523728. doi: 10.1155/2017/8523728.

[7] Cronin o, et al. The effect of exercise interventions on inflammatory biomarkers in healthy, physically inactive subjects: a systematic review. QJM. 2017 May 2. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcx091.


[9] Alexandre c, et al. Decreased alertness due to sleep loss increases pain sensitivity in mice. Nature Medicine (2017) doi:10.1038/nm.4329.


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Heart Disease

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