Our weekly roundup of the latest news in the world of health.
Hormone levels change after a large weight loss and stay that way for at least a year, a study released this week found. The net effect is to increase hunger, researchers said. Other research this week found that BPA exposure may affect girls' behavior. Girls who were exposed to bisphenol-A before birth had less control of feelings and behavior. An expert panel that advises the U.S. government said this week that boys also should get a vaccine now given to girls. The shots protect against human papilloma virus. In other vaccine news, researchers said that seasonal flu shots protect only 59% of adults who get them from flu infection. As Occupy Wall Street protests continue, sanitation issues were reported this week in several cities.
This Issue: Hormones Undermine Weight Loss, Study Says Study: BPA May Affect Girls' Behavior HPV Vaccine Recommended for Boys Study: Flu Shots' Success 59% for Adults Lingering Protests Raise Sanitation Concerns
In the News:
Hormones Undermine Weight Loss, Study Says
If you lose a lot of weight, hormones in your body will increase your appetite for at least the next year, a study released this week finds. The study included 50 overweight or obese adults. Researchers put them on a strict diet. They could have no more than 550 calories a day. They used a meal replacement plan and also ate vegetables. This lasted 8 weeks. For the next 2 weeks, they gradually began eating normal foods again. The goal was to lose at least 10% of body weight. In all, 34 people managed to do that and stuck with the study through a year of follow-up. On average, they lost 30 pounds. People got advice on how to maintain their new weight. But a year later, they had gained back an average of 12 pounds. They also had changes in blood hormones that affect appetite. All of these changes were likely to increase hunger. Before and after the diet, researchers also asked people how hungry they felt after meals. Most people felt hungrier a year after the diet. The New England Journal of Medicine published the study. The Associated Press wrote about it.
Study: BPA May Affect Girls' Behavior
Exposure to BPA before birth could affect young girls' behavior, a study published this week suggests. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a chemical found in some plastics and many other products. The study included 244 pregnant women. Researchers measured BPA levels during pregnancy. They also measured it in the children. When the children were 3 years old, the mothers evaluated their behavior using a standard questionnaire. Girls whose mothers had high BPA levels during pregnancy scored lower. They were more likely to be anxious, depressed than other girls. They also had more problems with control of feelings or behavior. All of these measures were in normal ranges, however. No effect was seen in boys. Researchers said they were not sure why only girls seemed to be affected. But some research suggests that BPA mimics the effects of the female hormone estrogen. The journal Pediatrics published the study online. The Associated Press wrote about it.
HPV Vaccine Recommended for Boys
Boys should get shots to prevent a virus that causes cervical and several other kinds of cancer, an expert panel says. The vaccine Gardasil is approved for both girls and boys. It protects against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes genital warts. Some types of HPV also cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. HPV can cause cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, head and neck as well. It is spread by skin-to-skin contact during sex. An expert committee said this week that boys should get the Gardasil vaccine at age 11 or 12. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention usually follows the group's advice. Current guidelines recommend that all girls get the vaccine, or another version called Cervarix, to protect against cervical cancer. Cervarix is not approved for use in boys. Part of the reason for the new advice is that vaccinating boys could help to prevent spread of HPV to girls. Only half of eligible girls have received any HPV shots. Only one-third have had all three recommended doses. The Associated Press wrote about the new advice.
Study: Flu Shots' Success 59% for Adults
Seasonal flu shots protect only about 59% of adults who get them, a research analysis finds. That's not enough to protect people in a major outbreak, the study said. The study looked at previous research on flu vaccines. It found that the H1N1 or "swine flu" vaccine worked better than the regular seasonal flu vaccine. It reduced infections by 69% in adults under 65. Nasal spray vaccines against seasonal flu had the best results. They prevented infections in 83% of vaccinated children under age 7. One study found that vaccines reduce hospital stays as a result of flu by 8%. In the United States, that would be 16,000 fewer admissions a year. Better vaccines are needed, the main author told USA Today. But he said people should still get their flu shots because current vaccines do help to reduce illness. The journal Lancet Infectious Diseases published the study this week.
Lingering Protests Raise Sanitation Concerns
Occupy Wall Street protesters have been occupying parks for up to six weeks, and that's raising health concerns in several U.S. cities. The Associated Press (AP) wrote about the problems this week. In Philadelphia, inspectors found human waste in the open, AP said. Portable toilets there also have not been emptied regularly. In Oakland, police forced 200 protesters to Ieave a public plaza because of health concerns. They cited public urination and defecation. They also said poor food storage had made a rat problem worse, AP reported. In Los Angeles, health officials have told protest organizers to pour water from portable showers into drains, not onto the ground. They have told them to add more portable toilets and empty them twice a day. LA officials also shut down a cooking tent because it did not comply with food handling laws, AP said. So far cities have not reported any outbreaks of disease linked to sanitation issues. But two people were treated for exposure to the cold during a Denver snowstorm.
Used with the permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved. The above summaries are not intended to provide advice on personal medical matters, nor are they intended to be a substitute for consultation with a physician.