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Diet soda tied to stroke risk, but reasons unclear

Feb 10, 2011 12:41:00 AM - thestate.com
It's far from definitive proof, but new research raises concern about diet soda, finding higher risks for stroke and heart attack among people who drink it everyday versus those who drink no soda at all.

The beverage findings should be "a wakeup call to pay attention to diet sodas," said Dr. Steven Greenberg. He is a Harvard Medical School neurologist and vice chairman of the International Stroke Conference in California, where the research was presented on Wednesday.

A simple solution, health experts say, is to drink water instead.

Doctors have no chemical or biological explanation for why diet soda may be risky. It could be that people who drink lots of it also fail to exercise, weigh more, drink more alcohol or have other risk factors like high blood pressure and smoking. However, the researchers took these and many other factors into account and didn't see a change in the trend.

"It's reasonable to have doubts, because we don't have a clear mechanism. This needs to be viewed as a preliminary study," said lead researcher Hannah Gardener of the University of Miami.

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