ST. PETERSBURG, Fla (Reuters) – More U.S. teenagers are using birth control pills, according to a new study by Thomson Reuters released on Thursday.
Eighteen percent of teenage women ages 13 to 18 filled prescriptions for oral contraceptives in 2009, a proportion that has steadily risen since 2002, the study found.
The number of commercially insured teens filling birth control prescriptions from 2002 to 2009 increased 50 percent, while prescriptions for those with Medicaid rose 29 percent.
Older teens account for the bulk of the prescriptions, the study found. Among Medicaid recipients, 27.1 percent of 18-year-olds were prescribed oral contraceptives in 2009, compared to 3.7 percent of 13-year-olds.
The birth control pill Yaz, made by Bayer, was by far the most popular brand in 2009 for women ages 13 to 18, according to the Thomson Reuters MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database.
The study is based on data from that database and the Thomson Reuters Multi-State Medicaid Database, which include more than 3 million individuals.
The subjects "were women ages 13 to 33 with at least six months of enrollment in a year and prescription drug coverage from 2002-2009," a Thomson Reuters statement said.
Patients' share of the medication costs has remained largely unchanged, the study found. Their share was $12.79 in 2009 and $11.90 in 2002, according to the study.
"These findings provide a benchmark for oral contraceptive use in the insured population," said Bill Marder, a senior vice president and healthcare economist at Thomson Reuters.
Marder said that the higher rate of birth-control pills may also figure into the debate on whether contraceptives should be provided as part of preventative health services offered under the Obama administration's healthcare law.
THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Women who suffered abuse in childhood are at increased risk of having low birth weight babies, a new study indicates.
It also found that poverty during childhood and substance use during adolescence and pregnancy boosts the chances of having low birth weight babies, who are at increased risk for death before their first birthday and chronic health problems.
About 8 percent of babies born in the United States each year have a low birth weight -- less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2,500 grams).
Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle examined data from 136 mothers who had been part of a study since childhood. They found that women who suffered emotional, physical or sexual abuse or poverty in childhood were more likely to smoke, drink or use drugs during pregnancy, which increases the risk of having a low birth weight baby.
"Our findings suggest that a mother's economic position in childhood and her experience of maltreatment during childhood have implications for her children born years later," study author Amelia Gavin, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work, said in a university news release.
"What is important about this study is that it was the mother's experience of poverty and maltreatment in childhood, not her poverty or depression or obesity in adulthood, that contributed to her infant's low birth weight," she added.
Doctors should ask prospective mothers about any childhood maltreatment and offer help to those at risk for substance abuse during pregnancy, Gavin suggested.
THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Correct and rapid antibiotic treatment is crucial for critically ill young children with bacterial pneumonia, says a new study.
Even a few hours' delay can lead to a longer hospital stay, said Dr. Jennifer A. Muszynski of Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
She and her colleagues looked at 45 infants and children, median age 17 months, who had severe bacterial pneumonia and required mechanical ventilation. Children with viral pneumonia or hospital-acquired pneumonia were not included in the study.
The study appears in the April issue of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal.
Doctors treating children with bacterial pneumonia have to decide quickly about antibiotic treatment and base their selection of an antibiotic on the likely cause of infection. In the meantime, tests are performed to determine if the chosen antibiotic will be effective. If it is not, the doctor should switch to another antibiotic as soon as possible, the researchers explained in a journal news release.
Of the 45 patients in this study, 71 percent were initially treated with the correct antibiotic. When these patients and patients whose initial antibiotic was changed after testing were looked at as a group, the median time to treatment with the correct antibiotic was about 10 hours, with a range of two to 38 hours.
Overall, children who received the correct antibiotic sooner spent fewer days in the hospital. For children with pneumonia as their only medical problem, waiting longer for correct antibiotic treatment was associated not only with a longer hospital stay, but with more time in the intensive care unit and on a mechanical ventilator.
THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- There may be a link between certain types of migraines in children and a common congenital heart defect, a new study suggests.
U.S. researchers looked at 109 children aged 6 to 18 who were diagnosed with migraines and treated at the Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, between 2008 and 2009.
The team checked each child's heart for a patent foramen ovale (PFO) -- a defect in the wall between the heart's two upper chambers that can allow unfiltered blood to bypass the lungs and circulate through the body. PFO is common, affecting about one in four people in the United States. Previous research has suggested an association between migraines and PFO.
The new study, scheduled for publication in the Journal of Pediatrics, found that 50 percent of children who had migraines with aura had a PFO, nearly double the rate of PFO in the general population. Migraine with aura includes a number of symptoms, such as blind spots, weakness and hallucinations.
Only one-quarter of children who had migraines without aura had a PFO, Dr. Rachel McCandless, of the Primary Children's Medical Center, and colleagues found.
If further research confirms a link, the use of a catheter device to close a PFO may help treat migraines with aura, the researchers noted.
Apr 02 2011
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Infant formula and solid baby food frequently contain fungus-derived hormones that have been shown to cause infertility in mammals, Italian researchers report.
Scientists at the University of Pisa report that as many as 28 percent of samples of milk-based baby formulas they tested were contaminated with the fungal hormones, known as mycoestrogens.
They tested 185 formula samples and 44 samples of meat-based baby food from a total of 21 brands commonly sold in Italy.
The substances detected in the baby products included zearalenone and its derivatives, which comes from Fusarium, a large family of fungi common in farm settings.
Although zearalenone and related chemicals that resemble the hormone estrogen have been linked to infertility in mammals, especially pigs, it's not clear whether babies exposed to the compounds through food or formula would be at risk for any reproductive problems later in life.
Previous research has shown that the body rapidly breaks down zearalenone into byproducts that pose no health threat.
Still, the Italian researchers say their findings merit follow-up and ought to prompt closer scrutiny of baby formula and baby foods for the presence of these and other toxins.
"Our study shows the presence of mycoestrogens in infant food," Francesco Massart, who led the study, told Reuters Health. "This is likely to have greater implications for infants and young children than for adults having a more varied diet."
Mycoestrogens such as zearalenone are a fact of life for commercial agriculture. They are present in crops like corn, wheat and soy that are used for both human consumption and animal feed. Cattle yards in the United States regularly use one such substance, alpha-zeralanol, as a growth stimulant for the animals, although the European Union banned this practice in ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The patriarch of the sibling piano group 5 Browns was sentenced to 10 years to life in prison by a judge in Provo, Utah for sexually abusing his daughters when they were children, a report said on Thursday.
Keith Brown, 55, was ordered to serve concurrent terms of 10 years to life in prison on a single count of sodomy on a child, and one to 15 years on two counts of sexual abuse of a child, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Brown pleaded guilty to the felony charges in February after nearly six months of negotiations with prosecutors. His three adult daughters publicly confirmed that they had been victimized by him during the 1990s.
The sisters -- Desirae, 32, Deondra, 30, and Melody, 26 -- are joined in the group by their brothers Ryan and Gregory. Their father formerly managed the group.
The plea deal, to which the sisters consented, meant that the sentences were at the lighter end of what Brown would have faced had he gone to trial and been convicted.
Fourth District Judge David Mortensen told Brown that he considered him a pedophile and a danger to society, he added that he was being given a lighter sentence "through the consent of your victims."
Deputy Utah County Attorney David Sturgill said Brown's daughters were abused for years and the abuse "has changed the course of their lives."
Of the sentence, Sturgill said, "This is what the victims wanted. ... I hope they're happy it finally came."
The 5 Browns rose to national prominence in 2002, and their three albums topped Billboard's classical chart. Even as the sex abuse saga unfolded, they kept up their busy touring schedule.
FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than one-quarter of women in the United States with two or more children have had children with different men, a new study shows.
University of Michigan demographer Cassandra Dorius analyzed data from nearly 4,000 women who were past their child-bearing years and had been interviewed more than 20 times over 27 years as part of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.
The analysis revealed that 28 percent of the women with two or more children had children by different fathers. The rate was highest among black mothers (59 percent), followed by Hispanic mothers (35 percent) and white mothers (22 percent).
Factors that increased the likelihood that a woman would have children by different fathers included if they weren't living with a man when they gave birth, and if they had low income and less education.
Dorius said she was surprised to find that women having children with different fathers is quite common at all levels of income and education, and is frequently associated with marriage and divorce rather than just single parenthood.
"We tend to think of women with multiple partner fertility as being only poor single women with little education and money, but in fact at some point, most were married, and working, and going to school, and doing all the things you're supposed to do to live the American dream," she said in a university news release.
The study was to be presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, in Washington, D.C.
Because this study was presented at a meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- At-home pregnancy tests can tell you unequivocally in minutes whether a baby is on the way and if it is time to call your doctor.
But, at-home genetic tests -- which may offer tantalizing clues about future health risks -- are still in their infancy, and genetic counselors are concerned that the results may puzzle or even panic consumers who don't seek professional guidance.
The explosion of direct-to-consumer genetic tests over the past several years has made it seemingly simple to test for a wide variety of medical scenarios. A swab of the cheek or a vial of blood can discern whether one is a carrier of an inherited disorder such as cystic fibrosis, for instance, or predict the risk for diseases such as breast cancer or Parkinson's. Newer tests purportedly predict how people might respond to a specific drug or medical treatment.
But shelling out several hundred dollars or more for one of these tests -- which are widely available online -- does not equip consumers to understand the findings or their repercussions, genetic counselors say. Because people might base medical decisions on the results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided this month to restrict the tests on a case-by-case basis.
"To me, it's still very much in the recreational realm," said Caroline Lieber, a genetic counselor and director of the graduate program in human genetics at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, N.Y. "The concern I have is the majority of the people feel knowledge is power, whereas most haven't thought through the implications at all."
The U.S. Human Genome Project, begun 21 years ago to map out which genes are responsible for both physical and functional traits, led to unprecedented knowledge about how genes affect people's ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
FRIDAY, April 1 (HealthDay News) -- A new technology that temporarily zaps away forehead wrinkles by freezing the nerves shows promise in early clinical trials, researchers say.
The technique, if eventually approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, could provide an alternative to Botox and Dysport. Both are injectable forms of Botulinum toxin type A, a neurotoxin that, when injected in small quantities, temporarily paralyzes facial muscles, thereby reducing wrinkles.
"It's a toxin-free alternative to treating unwanted lines and wrinkles, similar to what is being done with Botox and Dysport," said study co-author Francis Palmer, director of facial plastic surgery at the University of Southern California School of Medicine in Los Angeles. "From the early clinical trials, this procedure -- which its maker calls cryoneuromodulation -- appears to have the same clinical efficacy and safety comparable to the existing techniques."
Palmer is also consulting medical director of MyoScience, Inc., the Redwood City, Calif.-based company developing the "cryotechnology."
The results of the clinical trials were to be presented Friday at an American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) conference in Grapevine, Texas.
To do the procedure, physicians use small needles -- "cryoprobes" -- to deliver cold to nerves running through the forehead, specifically the temporal branch of the frontal nerve, Palmer said. The cold freezes the nerve, which interrupts the nerve signal and relaxes the muscle that causes vertical and horizontal forehead lines.
Although the nerve quickly returns to normal body temperature, the cold temporarily "injures" the nerve, allowing the signal to remain interrupted for some period of time after the patient leaves the office.
The technique does not permanently damage the nerve, Palmer said.
Researchers said they are still refining the technique and could not say how long the effect ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)
Apr 02 2011
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Cancer rates in the United States declined in the period from 2003 to 2007 while the odds for surviving the disease rose, a government study has shown.
The Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer showed a decline of slightly less than one percent per year for new cancer diagnoses for men and women over the period.
Cancer deaths over the period fell by 1.6 percent annually, according to the report that included contributions from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society.
The drop in cancer death rates continues a trend that began in the early 1990s but the report showed that for the first time, lung cancer death rates decreased in women, more than a decade after rates began dropping in men.
This probably reflects the fact that more women took up smoking while men began to quit, and females have since lowered their tobacco use.
Overall cancer incidence rates in men were essentially unchanged, the report said, citing a small uptick in prostate cancer rates that offset lower rates of other cancers.
Childhood cancer incidence rates -- in those age 19 or younger -- increased while death rates in this age group decreased.
"It is gratifying to see the continued steady decline in overall cancer incidence and death rates in the United States -- the result of improved methods for preventing, detecting, and treating several types of cancer," said Harold Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute.
"But the full repertoire of numbers reported today also reflects the enormous complexity of cancer, with different trends for different kinds of cancers, important differences among our diverse people, and different capabilities to prevent, detect, and treat ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)