Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
A new study finds that taking vitamin E may increase the risk of prostate cancer. The CDC released a report this week that found a 60% increase in head injuries among children between 2001 and 2009. Football and bicycling were the most common activities linked to brain injuries in boys. For girls, soccer, basketball and cycling caused most injuries. Apparently, teen boys are getting the message: A new government study found that 80% of teenage boys say they use condoms the first time they have sex. A recent listeria outbreak from cantaloupe is the deadliest known outbreak of foodborne illness in the United States in more than 25 years. It's been linked to 23 deaths.
This Issue: Study: Vitamin E Raises Prostate Risk Kids' ER Visits for Head Injuries Up More Teen Boys Use Condoms the First Time Listeria Outbreak Deadliest in a Quarter Century
In the News:
Study: Vitamin E Raises Prostate Risk
Taking vitamin E pills, once thought to help prevent prostate cancer, appears to actually increase a man's risk of the disease, a new study finds. The study included more than 35,000 men. They were healthy and at least age 50 when the study began. They were randomly divided into 4 groups. One group took a high-dose vitamin E pill each day. One group took selenium, another nutrient. One group took both. The fourth group took placebo (fake) pills. The study was halted after about 5 years because it was clear that the pills were providing no benefit. Early results also suggested a higher prostate cancer risk with vitamin E. But researchers still kept track of the men. The new follow-up study confirmed a 17% higher prostate cancer risk for the men who took vitamin E. In a 7-year period, there were 76 cases diagnosed per 1,000 men in this group. There were 65 cases per 1,000 in the placebo group. The Journal of the American Medical Association published the study. The Associated Press wrote about it October 12.
Kids' ER Visits for Head Injuries Up
More U.S. children are being treated in emergency rooms for head injuries, a new study finds. Between 2001 and 2009, the number rose 60%. For the most part, researchers think that's because people are more aware of the need to treat concussions. The study found that most injuries were linked with sports and other active pursuits, such as bicycling. About 71% of those injured were boys. About 71% were age 10 or older. Football and bicycling were the most common activities linked to brain injuries in boys. For girls, soccer, basketball and cycling caused most injuries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the report October 6. During the period covered by the study, the CDC launched a campaign to increase awareness about concussions. The campaign stressed the need to see a doctor if you have certain symptoms after a blow to the head. Someone with a concussion should stay away from the activity for a while. This allows the brain to heal. Another blow before healing occurs could cause worse damage. HealthDay news wrote about the report.
More Teen Boys Use Condoms the First Time
A government study found that 80% of teenage boys say they use condoms the first time they have sex. This is an almost 10% increase since 2002, a sign that sex education efforts are working. Also encouraging, most of the teens surveyed said they continue to use condoms. About 4,700 teens were interviewed from 2006 through 2010. The survey also found that about 42% of teens have ever had sexual intercourse. This rate has not changed from a 2002 survey. The report was released this week. The Associated Press wrote about it October 12.
Listeria Outbreak Deadliest in a Quarter Century
The recent outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe is the deadliest known outbreak of foodborne illness in the United States in more than 25 years. Officials said this is the first known outbreak of listeria in cantaloupe. Investigators have linked it to 23 deaths. The outbreak also has sickened close to 100 people. The cantaloupe came from a farm in Colorado. It was recalled in September. The cause of the outbreak is still under investigation. More deaths still may be reported, because listeria symptoms may not appear right away. Listeria can cause fever, muscle pain and sometimes nausea or diarrhea. Most healthy adults will not be affected, but it can be deadly for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The Associated Press wrote about it October 13.
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