New York [U.S.], Apr. 24 : Still downing gallons of diet soda despite knowing that it wrecks your body? Maybe the knowledge of artificially sweetened beverages taking a toll on your brain as well ought to make an impact on your unhealthy habit.
Artificially sweetened drinks, such as diet sodas, were tied to a higher risk of stroke and dementia in the study published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke reports CNN.
The study highlights only on an association, as the researchers were unable to determine an actual cause-and-effect relationship between sipping artificially sweetened drinks and an increased risk for stroke and dementia.
Therefore, some experts caution that the findings should be interpreted carefully. "We have little data on the health effects of diet drinks and this is problematic because diet drinks are popular amongst the general population.
More research is needed to study the health effects of diet drinks so that consumers can make informed choices concerning their health," said Matthew Pase, a senior research fellow in the department of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and lead author of the new study.
The new study involved data on 2,888 adults older than 45 and 1,484 adults older than 60 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts.
In the older-than-45 group, the researchers measured for stroke and in the older-than-60 group, they measured for dementia.
"The sample sizes are different because we studied people of different ages. Dementia is rare in people under the age of 60 and so we focused only on those aged over 60 years for dementia.
Similarly, stroke is rare in people aged under 45 and so we focused on people older than age 45 for stroke," Pase said.
Compared to never drinking artificially sweetened soft drinks, those who drank one a day were almost three times as likely to have an ischemic stroke, caused by blocked blood vessels, the researchers found.
They also found that those who drank one a day were nearly three times as likely to be diagnosed with dementia.
Those who drank one to six artificially sweetened beverages a week were 2.6 times as likely to experience an ischemic stroke but were no more likely to develop dementia, Pase observed.