Study: Drinking More Than Two Sodas Daily Can Increase Risk of Death

tongpatong/iStock via Getty Images
tongpatong/iStock via Getty Images

Soda has never been part of a healthy diet. In addition to promoting weight gain and concurrent health issues, it can be particularly tough on teeth thanks to its sugar and acidic content. And now it appears that we have more evidence that picking up a soda bottle may have even more dire consequences. According to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, drinking two soft drinks daily is associated with a higher risk of death from a variety of ailments.

The study looked at 451,743 healthy subjects from 10 European countries that had been recruited for the long-running European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, or EPIC. The participants provided information between 1992 and 2000.

The researchers examined the subjects' reported consumption of soft drinks and their overall mortality rate during a follow-up period of between 11 and 19 years later, which saw 41,693 deaths in that time. Mortality among those who consumed more than two sugary drinks a day was higher than those reporting consumption of less than one drink a month. This was in spite of the fact high-volume consumers were an average of roughly two years younger than their low-volume counterparts.

Notably, the study found that the cause of death differed among subjects who reported drinking artificially sweetened beverages and sugar-sweetened options. Drinks with artificial sweeteners were associated with circulatory diseases like coronary artery disease. Sugar-laden drinks were linked to digestive diseases, which can include ailments involving the liver and intestines.

The study’s authors drew two possible conclusions. One, fructose in sugary drinks leads to liver lipogenesis, a precursor to liver disease in non-alcoholics. Artificially flavored drinks might introduce glucose intolerance. Deaths among those consuming the artificially flavored beverages were consistent even among those with a healthy body weight. The authors were careful to note that long-term effects of sweeteners are still poorly understood.

[h/t MarketWatch]

Veterans Can Now Access Their Health Records Through Apple’s Health App

SeventyFour/iStock via Getty Images
SeventyFour/iStock via Getty Images

Apple’s iOS Health app is great for more than just checking how many steps you took during a lengthy walk in the park—it also stores health records from Johns Hopkins, Quest Diagnostics, Allscripts, and more than 400 other healthcare organizations.

Now, Fortune reports that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has joined that list, making it easier than ever for military veterans who receive healthcare through the Veterans Health Administration to access all of their health records, including medications, immunizations, lab results, and other information. In the press release, Apple explains that the app will automatically update the records, so all veterans need to do is log into their providers’s patient portals through the Health app for a “single, integrated snapshot of their health profile whenever they want, quickly, and privately.”

apple VA health app screenshot

Though the official announcement coincides nicely with Veterans Day on Monday, the change itself has been in the works for several months—the VA released the new feature to certain patients over the summer.

According to its website, the Veterans Health Administration is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country, servicing more than 9 million patients across 1255 healthcare facilities. With such an expansive network, any successful attempt to streamline processes and improve the flow of information—especially when it comes to sensitive, personal data—has the potential to be a major game-changer for veterans.

apple VA health app screenshot

“Helping veterans gain a better understanding of their health is our chance to show our gratitude for their service,” Apple COO Jeff Williams said in the press release. “By working with the VA to offer Health Records on iPhone, we hope to help those who served have greater peace of mind that their healthcare is in good hands.”

Wondering what you can do to help veterans? Here are 11 honorable ideas.

[h/t Fortune]

A Handful of Lucky College Students Live With Senior Citizens in This Minnesota Mansion

vadimguzhva/iStock via Getty Images
vadimguzhva/iStock via Getty Images

When Winona State University student Ashley McGaw skateboards home after a long day of nursing classes, she’s greeted by an unusual entourage: the elderly residents of a Minnesota assisted living facility called Senior Living at Watkins.

According to WFAA, McGaw and several other college kids live there with 45 seniors as part of Winona Health’s “Students in Residence" program, in which students volunteer their time with residents in exchange for discounted rent. For 10 volunteer hours per month, it’s $400, and doubling your hours drops it to just $200 per month. Not only does that include meals, it also gives students the chance to forgo the usual college dorm building for the stately glamour of an old mansion—their rooms are located in the historic Watkins Manor House, which is attached to the assisted living facility.

For freshman Joel Olson, the opportunity seemed like a no-brainer.

“'All you have to do is spend some time with some really nice people?'” he remembers thinking, according to KARE 11. “Of course!”

As for how they spend that time, it’s up to the students. Graduate student Laura Jensen hosts weekly crocheting sessions, nursing student Hanna Rottier offers manicures, and bulletin boards advertise free tech support.

And, in return for sharing their time and talents, students get to experience the familial affection and grandparental concern that’s often scarce on a college campus.

“They all mother me,” Jensen tells KARE 11 about the members of her crocheting club. “They take care of me.”

Winona Health assisted living director Cheryl Krage sees evidence of this, too.

“I hear residents wondering how the students are doing with their studies,” Winona Health assisted living director Cheryl Krage tells KARE 11. “‘Are you eating enough, are you getting enough fruits and vegetable[s]?"

According to the program page on Winona Health’s website, the program is especially beneficial to students looking to enter the healthcare industry, whether that’s medical school, nursing, social work, rehabilitative therapy, or even music therapy.

It also keeps senior citizens connected to the next generation in a deeper way.

“Helps us stay young – ger,” senior resident Diane Sheldon told KARE 11.

[h/t WFAA]