Losing virginity early or late tied to health risks
December 4, 2007 02:43 PM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People who start having sex at a younger or older than average age appear to be at greater risk of developing sexual health problems later in life, a new study suggests.

The findings, according to researchers, cast some doubts on the benefits of abstinence-only sexual education that has been introduced in U.S. public schools.

Using data from a 1996 cross-sectional survey of more than 8,000 U.S. adults, the researchers found that those who started having sex at a relatively young age were more likely to have certain risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) -- including a high number of sexual partners and a history of having sex under the influence of alcohol.

India stops further trials of HIV vaccine
December 4, 2007 12:04 PM - T. V. Padma, SciDevNet

NEW DELHI - Human trials of a US-produced HIV/AIDS vaccine were halted in India last month (November) after it was found to induce poor immune responses.

The vaccine, developed by the US-based Targeted Genetics Corporation, uses the adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a vector to deliver an AIDS vaccine against subtype C, the dominant HIV subtype in India.



India's National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) tested the vaccine on 30 volunteers.

Calcium level may signal risk of mental decline
December 4, 2007 11:18 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In elderly people, higher levels of calcium in the blood are associated with poorer mental function and faster decline in cognitive ability, Dutch researchers have shown.

Some diseases that increase blood calcium -- such as kidney failure, cancer and excessive parathyroid gland activity -- could be a factor in the relationship, although it's also possible that an individual's calcium "set point" plays a role in cognitive decline with age, note Dr. Miranda D. Schram and colleagues in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mental disorders rife after Hurricane Katrina-study
December 3, 2007 06:39 PM - Reuters

Depression, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress were diagnosed in 49 percent of New Orleans residents surveyed five to seven months after the storm struck on August 29, 2005, the study found.

Brain misfires in people with self-image disorder
December 3, 2007 06:20 PM - By Will Dunham, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People with a disorder in which they are convinced they are ugly have a brain glitch when processing things they see, researchers said on Monday.

The findings, published in the journal Archives of General Psychiatry, shed light on body dysmorphic disorder, marked by a dramatically distorted self-image and obsessive thoughts about imagined or minor defects in their appearance.

Honey eases nighttime cough
December 3, 2007 05:52 PM - By Anne Harding, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A spoonful of honey can quiet children's nighttime cough and help them -- and their parents -- sleep better, a new study shows.

When compared to the cough syrup ingredient dextromethorphan or no treatment, honey came out on top.

"The results were so strong that we were able to say clearly that honey was better than no treatment and dextromethorphan was not," Dr. Ian M. Paul of Pennsylvania State University in Hershey, one of the study's authors, told Reuters Health.

Over 40 mln in U.S. can't afford health care: report
December 3, 2007 03:29 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 40 million people in the United States say they cannot afford adequate heath care and go without drugs, eyeglasses or dental treatment, according to a federal report released on Monday.

The latest look at the state of U.S. health care also shows that while death rates from cancer and heart disease have dropped in recent years, just as many Americans are dying in car crashes.

Half of U.S. doctors mum about incompetence: survey
December 3, 2007 02:07 PM - By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly half of all U.S. doctors fail to report incompetent or unethical colleagues, even though they agree that such mistakes should be reported, researchers said on Monday.

They found that 46 percent of physicians surveyed admitted they knew of a serious medical error that had been made but did not tell authorities about it.

"There is a measurable disconnect between what physicians say they think is the right thing to do and what they actually do," said Eric Campbell of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, who led the survey.

Study: More Than 20% of Staph Infections Linked to Animal Agriculture
December 3, 2007 01:14 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

WASHINGTON, - A new study published in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infectious Diseases links a new strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), once found only in pigs, to more than 20 percent of all human MRSA infections in the Netherlands.

Glucosamine not likely to raise "good" cholesterol
December 3, 2007 01:08 PM - By Megan Rauscher, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Glucosamine at commonly taken doses does not increase HDL ("good") cholesterol in people with diabetes, researchers have found.

"Many people take glucosamine for arthritis-like symptoms and, from previous research, we thought glucosamine may also have a beneficial effect on HDL cholesterol," Dr. Stewart G. Albert noted in comments to Reuters Health.

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