Health briefs: To lose weight, drink diet pop instead of water?

  • Updated: June 7, 2014 - 2:00 PM

FILE - In this April 24, 2006 file photo, Darrie Hutchison, an R.N. at the Wichita Clinic draws a dose of mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine in Wichita, Kan. Measles cases in the last five months have caused more U.S. illnesses than in any entire year since 1996, according to numbers released by the Center for Disease control and Prevention on Thursday, May 29, 2014. (AP Photo/The Wichita Eagle, Mike Hutmacher, File) LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT; LOCAL RADIO OUT; LOCAL INTERNET OUT

diet soda over water for weight loss?

People taking part in a weight-loss program did better over 12 weeks if they drank diet soda than if they drank only water, researchers reported.

Among the 303 dieters, the people who drank only water lost 8.4 pounds; those who drank diet soda lost 12.1 pounds, and they reported “greater reduction in subjective feelings of hunger,” the researchers said in the journal Obesity.

However, the researchers noted that several observational studies have reported an association between diet soda consumption and weight gain or higher weights. The American Beverage Association, a trade group that represents soft drink makers, funded the current study. That, said dietitian Andy Bellatti, raises a red flag.

James Hill, one of the researchers who conducted the study and a professor of pediatrics, medicine, and physiology and biophysics at the Anschutz Medical Campus of University of Colorado, said the trade group had nothing to do with the study design or analysis and noted that the results were reviewed by other scientists. “I think it is very fair to recognize the funding source and if people are worried they should carefully scrutinize the results,” Hill said.

delaying vaccination has Seizure tie

Childhood vaccinations like the one for measles, mumps and rubella carry a small risk of seizures. Some parents postpone their children’s vaccinations because they believe the delay decreases the risk. But a new study finds the opposite may be true. The analysis, published online in Pediatrics, involved 5,496 children born from 2004 to 2008 who had seizures in the first two years of life.

For children who received any of their measles-mumps-rubella shots as recommended before age 1, there was no difference in the incidence of seizures in the 10 days after vaccination compared with the period before vaccination. But compared with children who had the vaccine in the first year, children who received it at 16 months had double the incidence of seizure, and those who had the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine at that age had an incidence that increased almost six times. The risk of seizure after these vaccinations at any age is small — about 1 in 3,000 doses for the MMR vaccine and one in 1,250 for the MMRV vaccine.

antidepressant may help Hot Flashes

The hormone estrogen is the recommended treatment for menopausal night sweats and hot flashes, but some women are unable to use it. Now a trial suggests that the antidepressant venlafaxine, often used as an alternative, is equally effective.

In an eight-week placebo-controlled double-blind study, researchers assigned 339 perimenopausal and postmenopausal women to one of three treatments: 0.5 milligrams a day of estrogen (estradiol), 75 milligrams a day of the antidepressant venlafaxine (Effexor), or a placebo. Before the start of the study, all the women had had symptoms at least 14 times a week.

Compared to the rate before the study — an average of 8.1 episodes a day — the frequency of hot flashes and night sweats declined by 52.9 percent in the estradiol group, 47.6 percent in the Effexor group, and 28.6 percent among those who took a placebo. Both Effexor and estradiol were effective treatments, but the study, published online in JAMA Internal Medicine, was not large enough to show that one was better than the other. “Women have important choices,” said the lead author, Hadine Joffe, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard. “They should know … that both are effective.”

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