Too much soda caused skin lesions

What happens if someone drinks eight liters of soda a day? Nothing good, surely. But for a 63-year-old who favored a citrus drink called Ruby Red Squirt, one result was rare and unpleasant skin lesions.

In a letter published last week in The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors described how the patient arrived at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland with ulcerations on his hands and fingers.

The diagnosis was bromoderma, a skin eruption brought on by bromine. But the cause, Dr. Debra M. Jih said, was hard to pin down.

"It took a few months," Jih said, "because basically it was a process of elimination."

The breakthrough occurred, she said, when the patient's family mentioned his fondness for Ruby Red Squirt. The man said he had been drinking eight liters a day for several months.

The soft drink contains brominated vegetable oil, a common ingredient used as an emulsifier and flavor carrier. The problem in this case was that the patient drank so much soda and that he apparently had a sensitivity to bromine, Jih said. When he stopped drinking the soda and took medicine, the lesions disappeared.

Mike Martin, a spokesman for the company that makes Ruby Red Squirt, Dr Pepper/Seven Up, part of Cadbury Schweppes, said the company had never heard of a similar case.

"We're grateful for customer loyalty," Martin said. But only to a point. Drinking eight liters a day of any product, he said, was excessive.

Women and the Susceptible Knee

Women who play sports like basketball that involve extensive jumping and pivoting are known to be much more susceptible to knee ligament injuries than men. A new report suggests some reasons and what women can do about the problem.

Writing in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery this month, researchers from the University of Michigan said men appeared better able to contract the muscles that support the knee and protect its ligaments.

Women involved in some sports are up to eight times as likely as men to rupture the ligament toward the front of the knee, the anterior cruciate ligament, the study said. But they should not feel discouraged from participating in the sports, the researchers said.

To test whether women are as able as men to stiffen the knee intentionally, the researchers used machines that assessed the knees of 12 men and 12 women, all college athletes, to see how they reacted to stress. The results showed significant differences in muscle responses.

New York Times

News Service

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