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DIY Save or Splurge: “Million Dollar Contractor” Shares Tips for Home Improvements

DIY Save or Splurge: “Million Dollar Contractor” Shares Tips for Home Improvements

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — DIY home improvement can get messy and costly. Enter Stephen Fanuka, who appeared on ABC's Good Morning America Wednesday to share his tips for how you can get a million-dollar look on your DIY home improvements without breaking the bank.Fanuka, who stars in the DIY Network’s Million Dollar Contractor, told viewers where they could save money and when they should splurge on improvements to the kitchen, home lighting, and the bathroom versus the basement.Here are his tips:The KitchenIt’s the most expensive room in the house to renovate. Fanuka said people can cut costs by painting existing cabinets and changing the hardware rather than replacing cabinets entirely, however he said people should consider spending more on stainless steel appliances and a tile backsplash.LightingLighting has a huge impact on the home. Fanuka suggested changing bulbs and adding a dimmer switch to change the look of any room. Adding new light fixtures in public areas of the home, such as the entry way, kitchen and hallway, can add drama in an instant, he said.Bathroom vs. BasementWhich should you save money on? Fanuka said there are small changes people can make in their bathrooms to update the room inexpensively. He also said it was important to refinish areas such as the basement or garage.Rather than changing tile -- which can be costly -- Fanuka suggested changing bathroom fixtures such as the toilet, sink, towel bars and shower trim. He also suggested painting the bathroom ceiling a highlight color, adding a new vanity cabinet and maybe adding crown molding. All of these changes can have a major impact on the room’s appearance, he said.People should finish their basements in order to add square footage to their homes, Fanuka said, adding that homeowners should install flooring that’s durable and low-maintenance.Extra Tips from Stephen Fanuka:

Glam up your kitchen by adding glass inserts to plain old cabinet doors. Don’t forget the fifth wall -- paint the ceiling of a room a fun color or in a high gloss accent color. Spruce up a plain door. Get an expensive panel door look without breaking the bank by adding a square of thin molding and paint. Ditch the shower curtain! Install partial glass doors on your shower. And for a touch of luxury, stay in bed by installing a remote controlled motorized curtain bar.

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Two Former Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Rape

Two Former Vanderbilt Football Players Found Guilty of Rape

iStock/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tn.) -- Corey Batey and Brandon Vandenburg were found guilty on all charges related to a rape case from 2013. 

The two former football players at Vanderbilt University were convicted by a Nashville jury after a little more than three hours of deliberation.

The two were accused of raping a female student in a dormitory.

Batey, 21, was found guilty on five charges of aggravated rape and two charges of aggravated sexual battery. While Vandenburg, 21, was found guilty on the same charges plus evidence tampering as well as unlawful photography.

Two other players are currently awaiting trial on similar charges.

The victim released a statement after the verdict:

"You are my heroes and I am so proud of and grateful for each of you," the statement read. "I am also hopeful that the publicity this case has received will lead to a discussion of how we can end sexual violence on college campuses. Finally, I want to remind other victims of sexual violence: You are not alone. You are not to blame."

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“Empire” Viewers Can Expect a New Woman on Wednesday’s Episode

“Empire” Viewers Can Expect a New Woman on Wednesday’s Episode

Frank Micelotta/FOX(NEW YORK) — When Empire returns Wednesday night, a new woman is welcomed into the life of Lucious Lyon, the head of Empire Records, played by Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard.According to E! News, viewers should "expect a new woman, Roxanne, a reporter tasked with profiling Lucious, to really hit it off with the Empire CEO." 

"Sexy banter will go down and Lucious will find the audacious and stylish Roxanne hard to resist," according to E!The new woman may cause problems at home for the married Lyon. His wife, Anika, is portrayed by Grace Gealey.E! adds that Lyon's ex-wife Cookie, played by Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson, is also getting a love interest. Could it be Cookie's childhood friend and songwriter, Puma, portrayed by Cuba Gooding Jr., who we were introduced to last week?Empire, which airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern time, centers on a music mogul who doesn't have long to live, and must decide to which of his three sons he'll leave his empire.

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Scientology Documentary Claims Tom Cruise Wiretapped Nicole Kidman’s Phone, Church Rejects Claims

Scientology Documentary Claims Tom Cruise Wiretapped Nicole Kidman’s Phone, Church Rejects Claims

ABC/RICK ROWELL(NEW YORK) — Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's well-publicized split after nearly 11 years of marriage is one of the subjects explored in Alex Gibney's HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and the church has wasted no time denying the claims made in the film.The film, based on Lawrence Wright's 2013 book, delves deeply into the Hollywood couple's breakup, which was shrouded in secrecy.According to Us Weekly, the movie alleges that after Kidman fell in love with Cruise on the set of the 1990 film Days of Thunder, she was labeled a P.T.S. or Potential Trouble Source by the Church because her father was a psychiatrist and Scientologists don't recognize the profession.The tabloid says the documentary claims the Church went to great lengths to keep Cruise in the fold after it feared he had "drifted" away during the marriage. According to Us Weekly, the film alleges that church head David Miscavige sanctioned a plan to "facilitate the breakup" by auditing the actor's mental state and stirring up his paranoia. One church member alleges in the film that Cruise hired a private investigator to wiretap his wife's phones.The Church flatly denies the allegations. "The accusations made in the film are entirely false and alleged without ever asking the Church," Scientology officials said in a statement. The Church said in its statement that "free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information."Church officials also took to task the people who participated in the film, noting in its statement that "Gibney's sources are the usual collection of obsessive, disgruntled former Church members kicked out as long as 30 years ago for malfeasance, who have a documented history of making up lies about the Church for money."Additionally, the religion launched a Twitter account called Freedom Media Ethics and recently took out an ad in The New York Times criticizing the movie.Cruise's attorney tells E! Online, "Tom Cruise did not hire any private investigator to spy on or investigate Nicole Kidman in any way.  Nor did he ask the Church of Scientology to do that.  Any statement to the contrary is provably false."A rep for Kidman declined to comment on the story.

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Angelina Jolie Makes Impassioned Plea to Help to Iraqi and Syrian Refugees

Angelina Jolie Makes Impassioned Plea to Help to Iraqi and Syrian Refugees

ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Angelina Jolie followed up her visit to Northern Iraq this past Sunday with an op-ed piece in The New York Times Tuesday that describes the devastation she witnessed in the refugee camps and pleas for help for the millions of displaced Syrians and Iraqis who are homeless."I have visited Iraq five times since 2007, and I have seen nothing like the suffering I'm witnessing now," she writes. "For many years I have visited camps, and every time, I sit in a tent and hear stories I try my best to give support. To say something that will show solidarity and give some kind of thoughtful guidance. On this trip I was speechless."The 39-year-old actor/director goes on to detail conversations she had with ISIS victims, and the helplessness she felt."What do you say to the 13-year-old girl who describes the warehouses where she and the others lived and would be pulled out, three at a time, to be raped by the men?" writes Jolie, who is also the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.Jolie continues, "How can you speak when a woman your own age looks you in the eye and tells you that her whole family was killed in front of her, and that she now lives alone in a tent and has minimal food rations?"She goes on to describe the dire situation, with neighboring countries running out of room for the refugees and her frustration over the international community's inaction.  "What does it say about our commitment to human rights and accountability that we seem to tolerate crimes against humanity happening in Syria and Iraq on a daily basis?" Jolie asks."It is not enough to defend our values at home, in our newspapers and in our institutions. We also have to defend them in the refugee camps of the Middle East, and the ruined ghost towns of Syria," she adds.

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New Season of “The Americans” Begins Wednesday Night

New Season of “The Americans” Begins Wednesday Night

Frank Ockenfels/FX(NEW YORK) — The third season of The Americans premieres Wednesday night on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern time.The critically-acclaimed period drama stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Russian spies living as an average American couple in the U.S.

Part of the new season will focus on their characters possibly having to turn their American-born teenage daughter into a spy as well.Russell likes the fact that she not only plays a sleeper agent, but also a mom and wife, too. She told journalists at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour in California, “The scenes I love the most are those emotional scenes about the complicated marriage. And then you get to go and have a day that's, like, beating dudes up outside.”Rhys agreed, saying, “The scheduling is incredibly athletic in that you have to go from these incredibly intense emotional scenes to putting on sort of wigs and then fighting.”For that reason, Rhys says, there’s no danger of his role becoming “dull.”

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Millennials Jumping Off the Traditional Banking Bandwagon

Millennials Jumping Off the Traditional Banking Bandwagon

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Millennials are marching to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to their personal banking.In a survey conducted for software company FICO of 900 adults, many people ages 18-34 are eschewing traditional banking services long used by older generations.For instance, 32 percent of millennials said they'd probably use mobile wallet services such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet during the next year. That's compared to 16 percent of Americans 35 and older.When the field of millennials is narrowed down to those between the ages of 18 and 24, 56 percent acknowledged that they were already using or plan to use Venmo and PayPal to make payments.Among the entire group of respondents, five percent say they now use a mobile wallet with 18 percent plan on doing so over the next 12 months.

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Valentine’s Day Expected to Generate $18.9 Billion in Sales

Valentine’s Day Expected to Generate $18.9 Billion in Sales

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Once the Super Bowl comes and goes, what is there to look forward to in February? Oh yeah, Valentine's Day, which is great in theory as long as you've got someone to celebrate it with.Millions seem pretty gung-ho about V-Day, according to the National Retail Federation's Valentine's Day spending survey, which finds that total spending in 2015 should reach a record high of $18.9 billion.The average amount spent per American for Valentine's Day 2015 will be $142.31, eight bucks more than a year ago.As usual, sweets for the sweet is the most popular gift with 53 percent saying they'll give candy as opposed to 38 percent who'll buy flowers and 35 percent planning a special night out.About 21 percent of Valentine's Day shoppers will give jewelry, totaling $4.8 billion in sales, the most the NRF has recorded in five years of running the survey.

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Kevin Costner’s “Black or White” Role Has Love But No Parenting Skills

Kevin Costner’s “Black or White” Role Has Love But No Parenting Skills

"Black or White" - Relativity(NEW YORK) — Kevin Costner stars opposite fellow Oscar winner Octavia Spencer in Black or White, a drama opening in theaters this Friday.In the film, Costner plays Elliot, a very wealthy white man who suddenly has to raise his black granddaughter by himself after his wife dies.

He explains, “This child has been raised in this home by these two grandparents, now there's one and it happens to be me and my skill set is not great. My love is great but my skill set is not.”Elliot subsequently becomes involved in a somewhat-racially-charged custody battle with the child’s other grandmother, played by Spencer.Anthony Mackie also stars in Black or White.

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Various Factions Vie for Control of Yemen

Various Factions Vie for Control of Yemen

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — There were indications Tuesday that Yemen is closer to splitting into a country run by numerous factions as the head of the Houthi rebel group in control of the capital city of Sanaa denounced a separatist movement in the south that wants to act autonomously, The New York Times reports.With the resignation last week of Yemen's president and cabinet, it is unclear who's exactly in charge as Washington ponders how to continue counterterrorism operations against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in the country.The majority party of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh still runs parliament and is seeking approval from the Houthis to appoint a transitional president.Houthi leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi suggested in a televised speech there is room for compromise with supporters of the old government, citing the release of a presidential aide who was kidnapped during the midst of a violent uprising by rebel forces against Yemen's military.However, al-Houthi, who opposes relations with the U.S., also warned that the southern separatist movement, Heraq, is the biggest threat to unification. Heraq, meanwhile, has seized control of territories and government buildings in the southern region as it tries to assert its independence.Caught between a rock and a hard place, the U.S. nonetheless is trying to conduct operations against AQAP, launching a CIA drone strike Monday that killed three suspected terrorists.

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Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron Carter

Report: Colts to Sign WR Duron CarterTom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) -- The Indianapolis Colts are in the final stages of signing wide receiver Duron Carter, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 6'5" Carter is the son of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter,...

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Red Sox, Rangers Complete Pitching Swap

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) -- The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers have swapped pitchers struggling to find their role.

Rangers vice president of communications John Blake announced via Twitter Tuesday that Boston has sent right-hander Anthony Ranaudo to Texas in exchange for left-hander Robbie Ross, Jr.

Ranaudo, 25, displayed fantastic play in Triple A, compiling a 14-4 record in 2014 with a 2.61 ERA and 111 strikeouts over 138 innings pitched. He made his Major League debut last season, but struggled to find the same groove as his ERA ballooned to 4.81 in 39.1 innings of work.

Ross, 25, struggled last season after a transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. Posting a 6.20 ERA in 78.1 innings, Ross failed to find a role in the Rangers injury-riddled rotation.  He will likely resume his role as a left-handed reliever with Boston, a role he excelled in during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In his career, he has a 53.8 percent ground ball rate.

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Massachusetts Nuclear Plant Shut Down During Winter Storm

Massachusetts Nuclear Plant Shut Down During Winter Storm

Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(PLYMOUTH, Mass.) -- The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth was shut down early Tuesday morning as a result of the strong winter storm that swept through the Northeast.The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee said on its website Tuesday that the plant experienced an automatic shutdown after one of the site's offsite power lines was deenergized due to weather concerns and a second was tripped early Tuesday morning. At that point, at about 4 a.m., the reactor was shut down. A third, less powerful, offsite power line remains available, but the primary source of power -- for safety systems -- are the plant's emergency diesel generators. The exact cause of the loss of the second offsite power line is still under investigation.Messages posted to the plant's Twitter account explained that it is in "safe, stable shutdown" and "has enough fuel onsite to operate our emergency generators for 10 days." More fuel can also be delivered as needed. The plant says it is in stable condition and there is no threat to the safety of workers or the public.

 

Status Update (1/2): Pilgrim remains in safe, stable shutdown and using emergency onsite diesel generators to run our safety systems

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

Status Update (2/2): Pilgrim has enough fuel onsite to operate our emergency generators for 10 days.More fuel can be delivered as needed.

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

NOTE: As backup, the plant has additional standby power available from an offsitte power line and another onsite emergency generator

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

 

Plant conditions are stable and there is no threat to the safety of plant workers or the public. All systems worked as designed.

— Pilgrim Nuclear (@PilgrimNuclear) January 27, 2015

 

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WVU Student Who Died in Fraternity Pledging Had Blood Alcohol Six Times Legal Limit

WVU Student Who Died in Fraternity Pledging Had Blood Alcohol Six Times Legal Limit

pixelpup/iStock/Thinkstock(MORGANTOWN, W.Va.) -- A West Virginia University student who died during a fraternity pledge event had a blood-alcohol level of more than six times the legal limit, well above what health officials consider lethal, police said Tuesday.Nolan Burch, 18, of Williamsville, N.Y., died Nov. 14, after suffering a "catastrophic medical emergency" during a pledging ceremony at Kappa Sigma fraternity, police said.Burch and 19 other fraternity pledges were taking part in an initiation function known as "Big-Little," Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston said in a statement released Tuesday.Burch and the others were taken to a room in the fraternity where they were blindfolded and then taken to another house where they were presented to the "Big," a senior member or alumnus of Kappa Sigma, and given a bottle of liquor, Preston said.After he drank a large quantity of alcohol, Burch was taken back to the fraternity house, where he was so intoxicated he was laid on a table, the police chief said.Later that night, a fraternity member noticed that Burch's face was blue and tried to wake him, but it was found that he had no pulse, Preston said.While some fraternity members performed CPR, a call was placed to 911. He later died at a Morgantown hospital. A report from the medical examiner is still pending, the police chief said.Subsequent tests revealed that his blood-alcohol level was 0.493, Preston said.The day after Burch's death, the school put a moratorium on Greek activity on the campus."And while some events such as chapter meetings, philanthropic activities and educational programming are allowed, the ban remains in place for social activities with the exception of alcohol free/dry events, pending approval of plans," WVU officials, the WVU InterFraternity Council, the WVU Pan-Hellenic Council and the WVU National Pan-Hellenic Council said in a joint statement released Tuesday evening.

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Surveillance Video Shows Moment Man Allegedly Hit Pregnant Girlfriend With Car

Surveillance Video Shows Moment Man Allegedly Hit Pregnant Girlfriend With Car

welcomia/iStock/Thinkstock(PASCO COUNTY, Fla.) -- Surveillance footage released by Florida police shows the terrifying moment a pregnant woman was struck by a car driven by her boyfriend, according to police.Justin Colby, 33, was arrested on charges of attempted homicide after he allegedly hit his pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Noordhuizen, with his car on Monday.Noordhuizen, about seven months pregnant, suffered minor injuries and was recovering at an area hospital, according to a police spokesman.She told police she had been fighting with Colby, her live-in boyfriend, when she decided to leave their home, according to the arrest report from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office in Pasco County, Florida.Officials from the Pasco Sheriff's Department said video of the incident shows Noordhuizen being hit by a car they said was driven by Colby.Noordhuizen told police she was waiting across the street for a ride when Colby reportedly called to her and said, “Are you ready for your abortion date?” according to the police report.Colby then allegedly drove his car onto the sidewalk where Noordhuizen was standing, striking her before he hit a nearby pole.He was arrested a short time after the crash and was being held at the Pasco County Jail on charges of attempted murder and attempted murder of an unborn child.Public defenders for Colby did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

World News Videos | ABC World News

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E. Coli Found in Winnipeg, Boil Water Advisory Issued

E. Coli Found in Winnipeg, Boil Water Advisory Issued

Tomjac80/iStock/Thinkstock(WINNIPEG, Manitoba) -- Health officials instituted a boil water advisory for the city of Winnipeg on Tuesday after two clusters of E. coli were located.Officials at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority say that no source for the contamination was located as of Tuesday afternoon. Still, residents east of the Red River were being urged to boil all water used for drinking, ice making, food and beverage preparation and teeth brushing. Officials say the advisory was issued as a precautionary measure.The WRHA expects additional information to be available on Wednesday.

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GoDaddy Yanks Super Bowl Ad After Animal Rights Complaints

GoDaddy Yanks Super Bowl Ad After Animal Rights Complaints

Credit: Tom Pennington / Contributor/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- That was fast. Internet giant GoDaddy released its Super Bowl ad online Tuesday, then said it won't be using it, after howls of discontent from dog advocates over the spot, which featured NASCAR's Danica Patrick and a golden retriever.In the 30-second ad, a golden retriever puppy falls out of a truck but finds its way home. Unfortunately for the pooch, its owner went on GoDaddy.com to make a website to sell the dog.Animal lovers didn't get the joke, though. They pointed out that dogs sold often come from puppy mills, and set up the hashtag #GoDaddyPuppy to rally critics.GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving went on Twitter to say "we will not air" the ad.

 

Loud and clear, we heard you. @Blakei on changing course with this year’s Super Bowl Ad: https://t.co/gzduFypdEi

— GoDaddy (@GoDaddy) January 27, 2015

But don't worry about the dog.While shooting the Super Bowl commercial with Patrick, GoDaddy employees fell in love with the pup, later named Buddy by GoDaddy followers on social media, and the company adopted it."As our Chief Companion Officer, Buddy will be interacting with customers, mostly small business owners who are looking for relaxation and a reprieve from their hectic workday," GoDaddy Chief Marketing Officer Barb Rechterman said in a news release. "We're already booking time with customers ... and our own employees are lining up to meet the little guy. All you have to do is look at him and 'bam,' your stress level goes down and your mood goes up."

 

 

That's a wrap with sweet little Buddy for the @godaddy Super Bowl spot! He's a keeper! pic.twitter.com/GqOQl1i3SH

— Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) December 13, 2014

 

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UN Says 3,000 Child Soldiers in South Sudan to Be Released

UN Says 3,000 Child Soldiers in South Sudan to Be Released

PeterHermesFurian/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The United Nations says that 3,000 child soldiers in South Sudan are to be freed thanks to the United Nations Children's Fund.According to a U.N. statement, the first group of 280 children were released on Tuesday at the village of Gumuruk. Ranging from 11 to 17 years old, the children were recruited by the South Sudan Democratic Army Cobra Faction and have been fighting for up to four years. Many of them have never attended school, the U.N. says.The U.N. further claims that 12,000 children have been recruited and used as soldiers by armed groups in South Sudan in the last year."These children have been forced to do and see things no child should ever experience," UNICEF South Sudan Representative Jonathan Veitch said. "The release of thousands of children requires a massive response to provide the support and protection these children need to begin rebuilding their lives."The children being released by Cobra Faction will be supported with basic health care, protection, food, water and clothing.

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Study: ‘Targeted’ Biopsy May Help Detect High-Risk Prostate Cancer Early

Study: ‘Targeted’ Biopsy May Help Detect High-Risk Prostate Cancer Early

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found a new method that may help detect high-risk prostate cancer early.According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at 1,000 men with either elevated test results or suspicious results from rectal examinations with an MRI to identify suspicious areas of prostate cancer. The patients were then biopsied twice, including once with a standard biopsy method and once with a new "targeted" method.The results of the study determined that the "targeted" method may be better for differentiating between low-, intermediate- and high-risk cancers. The procedure for the "targeted" biopsy is the same as the standard biopsy, researchers say, making procedural risks more tolerable. Nonetheless, the study did not follow the participants for an extended period of time, making it impossible to determine the predictability of "targeted" biopsies for long-term outcomes, such as recurrence and mortality.

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Sugary Drinks Could Be Linked to Earlier Onset of Menstruation

Sugary Drinks Could Be Linked to Earlier Onset of Menstruation

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Researchers at Harvard Medical School say that sugary drinks may be linked to the earlier onset of menstruation.According to a study published in the journal Human Reproduction, researchers surveyed girls between the ages of 9 and 14 who had not yet begun to have their periods, to calculate the amount of sugary drinks they consumed. They found that girls who drank more than 1.5 sugary drinks each day had their first periods about 2.7 months earlier, on average, than those girls who drank two or fewer sugary drinks each week.Researchers say the results of the study held up even when accounting for other factors, such as ethnicity and BMI, which are believed to affect the onset of menstruation. Earlier onset of menstruation has been linked to health risks including an increased lifetime risk of breast cancer.The study shows only a link, not a cause, between consumption of sugary drinks and early menstruation. Researchers note that girls who drank more sugary drinks may also have other dietary habits contributing to the results of the study.

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