July 2012

Rising Concerns about Melanoma and Indoor Tanning

A new study points to indoor tanning as a cause for melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer,  particularly among young sunbed users.  Overall, there was a 20% increased risk for melanoma with any indooor tanning, according to Mathieu Boniol, PhD, of the International Prevention Research institute in Lyon, France, and colleagues.   The risk nearly doubled when sunbed use began before age 35.

Depression Rising among Adolescent Girls

The onset of puberty is associated with an increase in depression among adolescents, particularly among adolescent girls. According to the 2008 to 2010 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, an annual average of 1.4 million girls aged 12 to 17 (12.0 percent) experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) in the past year—a rate nearly 3 times that of their male peers (4.5 percent). The percentage of girls who experienced MDE tripled between the ages of 12 and 15 (from 5.1 to 15.2 percent).

New Weight-Loss Drug Approved by the FDA

The FDA recently approved the first weight-loss drug, Belviq (lorcaserin hydrochloride), in 13 years.  Arena Pharmaceuticals of San Diego developed the pill to help people lose 3-4% of their body weight when coupled with exercise and a healthy diet.  The FDA approved the pill for obese people (BMI over 30) and some overweight people (BMI over 27) who suffer from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

The debate on personalized genetic testing

An estimated 848, 000 men and 790,000 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year according to the American Cancer Society.  New genetic sequencing technologies have made it possible to get personalized genetic tests to determine one’s risk for developing a disease, including many different types of cancers.  The goal of genetic testing is to utilize the results that may indicate the presence of a disease-associated gene mutation to determine appropriate preventative care or targeted treatments.

Study Finds a Link between Sunscreen Ingredient and Endometriosis

A recent study published in Environmental Science & Technology tied a group of chemicals called benzophenones to an increased risk of endometriosis.  The study measured the amount of benzophenones in the urine of 600 women who were tested for endometriosis.  One particular benzophenone, benzophenone-1, showed a significant association with the condition.  Compared to women with low levels, women who had the highest concentration of this chemical in their urine showed a 65% greater chance of having the condition.  In a separate study, th

The Rise of Eating Disorders in Women in their Early 50’s

In a study recently published by the International Journal of Eating Disorders, women in their early 50’s (midlife) show more symptoms of disordered eating and concerns over their weight and shape than women in their late adulthood (mid 50’s and over).  The concerns are comparable to those expressed only in young women.

HIV in Teens

Despite stable rates of HIV diagnosis in older populations, the rate of HIV diagnoses from 2006 to 2009 increased in teens 15-19 and youth 20-24 years of age, and was highest in the 20-24 year-old age group.  Undiagnosed HIV cases are also thought to be highest among young people. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than half of all undiagnosed HIV infections are youth ages 13 – 24.3.