A summary of important health news from the past week.
New vaccines for HPV, meningitis recommended for kids and adults
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its yearly updates for vaccine schedules. Updates include advice for the MenB vaccine, which protects against meningococcal serotype B infections, for 16 to 23 year olds even if not at high risk. There is also a new human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for 11 and 12 year old girls and boys that protects against nine types of the virus.
Sleep Problems Tied to Type 2 Diabetes
New research has shown that diabetes is linked with difficulty sleeping. Although the data is correlational and influenced by other risk factors, such as depression and BMI, there is still a significant correlation between sleep disturbances and type 2 diabetes. Researchers speculate that this link is explained by the alteration in the secretion of hormones, such as ghrelin and leptin, that regulate appetite and and the hormone cortisol, which moderates stress. See the original study here.
Study links eating fish with healthier brains, regardless of mercury
At the least, eating about one serving of fish or seafood could help delay Alzheimer's disease. A study has looked to see how omega-3 fatty acids could be protective against the neurological disease. The study has yet to see whether or not these protective factors are forgone due to the amount of mercury in fish, which can ultimately be toxic to the brain. The study, looking at this in Chicago adults, saw that this may not be the case, and more research in another study will be presented later.
More and more data is surfacing that point to BPA-free products still being unsafe. As an alternative to BPA, companies use a similar substance called BPS. In animal studies, BPS causes altered embryonic and fetal development, thyroid disruption, accelerated neural growth, hyperactivity, and premature birth. Though these effects may not mirror human outcomes, the general consensus is that we need to be wary of BPA-free plastic products. The Breast Cancer Fund advises against using plastic for food and drink storage and microwaving; safer alternatives include ceramic, glass and stainless steel.
Zika prompts urgent debate about abortion in Latin America
The spread of Zika virus across Latin America has called attention to reproductive rights and the restrictive laws surrounding these rights. Countries like El Salvador and Colombia have some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world due to limited contraceptive education and access and Roman Catholic views. Organized movements in Colombia and the health minister in El Salvador are urging for a lift of the ban, because the virus is dangerous to fetal development and promotes illegal, back-alley abortions. In addition, there are multiple neurological problems that can arise later in life due to the virus (ie-epilepsy and behavioral problems).
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