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Study: Sugary drinks linked to Alzheimer's, cancers

Wednesday - 11/20/2013, 4:38am  ET

diet coke (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
There may be serious health implications associated with drinking soft drinks. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - While the tongue might sing a happy tune when it gets a taste of Coca-Cola, new research shows the brain may pay the ultimate price.

NewScientist reports researchers in Australia say sugary drinks have a link to certain cancers, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

When rats were given sweet beverages, 20 percent of the proteins in parts of the brain associated with decision making were changed. The rats who drank water did not experience the change.

At the end of the study, the rats who consumed sugar were also hyperactive, which further supports the evidence.

"Hyperactivity is a physical sign that something unusual is happening in the brain," Jane Franklin of the behavioral neuropharmacology lab at Macquarie University in Sydney, who conducted the study, tells NewScientist.

"We know that soft drinks are bad for the body, so it's reasonable to assume that they aren't doing anything good for your brain, either."

While Franklin says the new data doesn't confirm that sugary beverages cause these diseases, it does provide evidence that the connection needs additional study.

WTOP's Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP and @WTOPliving on Twitter.

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