Today’s Headlines: The Connection Between Soda and Cancer, Why Being Overweight Can Decrease Your Life Span, and an Update on the Zika Virus

A new study suggests that drinking soda could increase your risk for developing cancer in your gallbladder or liver. These cancers have been observed to affect those with a higher BMI and increased blood sugar levels, both of which can be caused by drinking soda in excess. “To explore this possibility, researchers analyzed survey data on the eating and drinking habits of more than 70,000 adults then followed them for more than 13 years on average to see whether cancers got diagnosed.”

“Only about 150 people developed biliary tract or gallbladder cancers during the study period. But compared with people who avoided sugar-sweetened drinks altogether, individuals who consumed two or more juice drinks or sodas, including artificially sweetened sodas, a day had more than twice the risk of developing gallbladder tumors and 79 percent higher odds of getting biliary tract cancer, the study found.” The study was preliminary and does not prove that soda and cancer are definitely linked, but the researchers would like to continue to look into their hypothesis. (NBC)

Researchers are now adding being overweight, not just obese, to the list of risk factors that could cause premature death. New evidence shows that just a “slight increase in BMI” may cause issues later in life. “According to the report, people with BMI readings above the recommended range who were considered overweight showed an 11% increased risk of dying early, defined as death before age 70, compared to people who maintained their recommended BMI. For people with BMI between 30 and 35, the first category for obesity, the risk of premature death increased to 45%, and for those with the highest level of obesity, or BMI of 40 or more, the risk nearly tripled.” The study was done in 32 different countries and collected data from four million people so the researchers are very confident in their results and believe that doctors should continue to emphasize the importance of being a healthy weight. (Time)

Zika may be over with in the next two to three years. While Zika is a global health concern right now, scientists expect that it will die out after a couple years due to developing immunity. “The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Science, estimated that infections from the mosquito-borne virus will become so widespread in affected countries that populations will develop what is called “herd immunity.” This occurs when a high percentage of a population has become immune to an infection either through developing natural immunity or through vaccination, making a wider outbreak less likely.That would prevent further transmission of the Zika virus for at least a decade, with only smaller, intermittent outbreaks, they said.” There is currently no vaccine for Zika, however the virus seems “unable to infect the same person twice.” (Reuters)