Consuming sugary drinks may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, two recent studies revealed. To carry out the first study, a team of researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine pooled data from the Framingham Heart Study and examined more than 5,000 volunteer participants. The participants were instructed to log their beverage intake through questionnaires that assessed their diets over the past year. The research team found that consuming artificially-sweetened drinks was associated with increased odds of stroke and dementia among the participants. However, the experts did not observe a causal relationship between sugary drinks and higher dementia rick. The findings were published in the journal Stroke.

The second study, conducted by the same researchers, examined more than 4,000 participants who underwent magnetic resonance imaging, psychological tests, and food frequency questionnaires. The research team found that increased consumption of sugary drinks,which included sodas and fruit juices, was tied to reduced brain volume and lower memory test scores. According to the experts, brain shrinkage is correlated to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

The study also revealed that participants who consumed one or two sugary drinks a day displayed reduced brain volume equivalent to 1.6 years of normal aging, and lower memory scores equivalent to 5.8 years of aging.

Participants who consumed more than two sugary drinks per day exhibited brain volume declines equivalent to two years of normal aging, and lower memory test scores equivalent to 11 years of aging.