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By Stephen Luntz

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Soft Drinks Affect Breathing
Soft drink consumption has been linked to higher rates of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Dr Zumin Shi of Adelaide University used a computer-assisted telephone study of almost 17,000 South Australians to investigate the effect of consuming cola, lemonade, flavoured mineral water or sports drinks on the two conditions. Shi found that 10% of adults reported drinking more than 500 mL/day, and these people were 26% more likely to suffer from asthma and 70% more likely to have COPD.

The effects were more dramatic for smokers. Even those who smoke but do not consume soft drinks had rates of COPD 3.4 times higher than those who did neither. However, drinking small quantities of soft drink raised this to 4.3 times, and smokers consuming more than 500 mL/day were 6.6 times as vulnerable. Shi did not measure the impact of even higher consumption, but suspects it would be greater still.

The survey did not distinguish between those drinking sugared and diet varieties, so Shi says it is not possible to assess whether the effects are a result of the sugar content, carbonisation or some other factor.

Crocodile Hearts Get Treadmill Workout
The crocodile’s four-chambered heart is a candidate for the most advanced example of that organ in the animal kingdom. Dr...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.