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The recipe for a hyperactive middle schooler? Just add energy drink.

Children who had at least one energy drink were 66% more likely to report symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention than those who had not, researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found.

The same was not true for sugary sodas or sports drinks, explained lead researcher Jeannette Ickovics.

The more sugary beverages in general a kid had, the greater the risk for symptoms of hyperactivity — but energy drinks had an impact even if a child only drank one.

“Parents should restrict their children from (having) all sugar-sweetened beverages, and especially energy drinks,” Ickovics said.

The Yale researchers surveyed more than 1,600 Connecticut middle schoolers.

The popularity of products like Red Bull, Monster and Five Hour Energy is on the rise among kids — in the Yale study, one out of seven students reported having an energy drink the day before.

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Over the past 40 years the consumption of soda has increased substantially, much to the pleasure of the soda manufacturers; however, so have the ill effects of its over consumption.

The fact is that today kids consume way too much sugar as compared to 40 years ago. Teenagers are drinking less milk and, as a result, are getting less calcium. They are getting about 40% of their energy/sugar calories from soft drinks.

Currently, teens are drinking half as much milk as soda as compared to 20 years ago. There have been research studies which show that teenage girls who require 1300mg of calcium/day are only getting about 800mg. This lack of calcium can predispose one to broken bones and osteoporosis. Calcium is also important for bone development up to the age of 18.

It is a natural fact that teenage girls who drink too much soda have a much greater risk of breaking a bone or developing osteoporosis. Three cans of soda/day poses a serious risk for teenage boys. Males in the 12 to 29 age range are known to be the single largest group of people who indulge in soda. The risks to one’s health from the over consumption of soda include tooth decay and destruction, osteoporosis, obesity, kidney stones, and diabetes.

Soda contents include caffeine, acid, additive dye, and a high fructose corn syrup. An average can of soda has about 10 to 12 tsp of sugar or 40 to 48 grams of phosphoric or carbonic acid.

The fructose syrup contains zero nutritional value. Caffeine, which is stimulant that is mildly addictive, causes calcium excretion that can result in an increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis.

Most people think that the sugar in the soda is bad and that is what causes tooth decay. However, the research shows that the real danger is in the acid. The phosphoric or carbonic acid dissolves the calcium out of the enamel leaving it a softened matrix for bacteria to enter the teeth and cause wholesale tooth destruction. Therefore, sugar free sodas are not a viable answer.

Most individuals who drink a lot of soda range from some minor decalcification of teeth, with white bands of softened enamel which encircle the teeth at or near the gum line to cases where numerous teeth are totally destroyed from decay.

Many of these individuals are students who study while continuously sipping a soda which creates an acid bath for their teeth. Don’t forget the fact that the sugar itself is also converted to acid by the bacteria on the teeth. Coupled all this with poor dental hygiene and you have a recipe for an oral disaster in the making.

The public should be educated regarding the ill effects and the soda companies need to take some responsibility since they insist on glorifying drinking their brands as being a sort of cool. So the next time your kids or you drink a soda, be aware and concerned. Always use moderation. Don’t bathe your teeth in acid, rinse with water and practice good oral hygiene.

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The British government is looking into the effect of hard water on eczema sufferers. The aim by a study supported by the Department of Health is to test the effect of installing water softeners into eczema sufferers’ homes in a bid to alleviate the painful condition.

Scientists will test the effect on children between 6 months and 16 years old who have moderate to severe eczema. The reason why water softeners are being installed is because past studies have revealed a correlation between hard water areas and a prevalence of eczema.

In the UK, nearly 20% of children have eczema conditions of some level and it is usually found on the ankles, face, knees and neck.

The study originally started in 2007 with 230 participants and before it comes to a conclusion in August 2009, the study leaders want to enrol another 80 participants.

The study involves the children’s parents keeping a record of the eczema symptoms and the child wearing a wrist band that detects scratching at night. Also, for 3 months a water softener is installed in the home and then removed for 4 weeks to observe if there is any change to the symptoms.

One mother tells the story of her son’s participation in the study:

Anne-Marie said “Dylan (her son) had bleeding sores, and even changing him was heart-breaking. Every time his skin was exposed, he started scratching. And he wouldn’t sleep for more than an hour without waking up to scratch.”

“We had about a dozen different creams on prescription and I was at my wit’s end,” she added.

The water softener resulted in a fast and pronounced improvement in the baby’s condition.

Anne-Marie described the effect of using softened water in the home: “Less than two weeks after the softener was installed there was a dramatic improvement. Now there’s barely a mark on him. He’s a completely different baby.”

From Portsmouth University, Professor Tara Dean who is looking after the study said: “If water softeners are found to improve the symptoms of eczema it will be a breakthrough for both patients and doctors.”

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