In the first two months of this year, the United States has had more cases of measles than we had in all of 2017. Experts say it’s because some parents still believe the disproven claim that the measles vaccine causes autism, so they don’t have their kids vaccinated. But how much evidence will it take to convince them? Yet another study, this one on more than a half-million people and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, finds there is absolutely no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.
If you don’t get enough sleep during the week, your body can’t catch up over the weekend. A new study in the journal Current Biology shows that even when people sleep in as long as they want on Saturday and Sunday, chronic sleep deprivation during the week causes metabolic changes leading to weight gain and a higher risk for diabetes. Researchers suggest the long-term effects of chronic sleep loss are severe enough that people need to start prioritizing sleep.
And finally, might it be possible that the secret to a long life is coffee and alcohol? It sure sounds that way, according to the results of the ’90+ study’ at the University of California-Irvine. Researchers say one of their main findings is that people who drink alcohol and coffee live longer than those who don’t. People who made it to at least 90 years old also tended to be overweight in their 70s, while those who died sooner were normal weight or underweight.
Nearly 25 million adults and children in the United States have been diagnosed with hay fever… and millions more probably have it without being diagnosed. But a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that a hay fever vaccine developed for mice not only works… it works quickly. Human vaccines for some forms of human allergy already exist, including hay fever, but they take three to five years to be effective. Scientists hope the new vaccine in development may change how people approach allergy season.
Egg freezing has become almost common among upwardly mobile young women, but a new study finds that holding off kids for work doesn’t have much to do with it. Rather, the study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology shows that a much higher proportion of women are freezing their eggs because they haven’t found a man they want to have a family with.
And finally… here’s more evidence that there really may be such a thing as junk food addiction. A study in the journal Appetite shows that people who quit eating junk food suffer withdrawal symptoms that are remarkably like someone stopping drug use. Researchers say symptoms like sadness, irritability, and cravings peaked in the first two to five days after quitting junk food… and then tapered off.
This year’s flu season is barely over but a new analysis predicts that next fall’s flu vaccine is likely to be just as ineffective as this year’s. The study in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases estimates that next fall’s flu vaccine will be only 20 percent effective against the dominant strain of influenza A. However, that’s better than nothing, so health officials are likely to say a flu shot is still worth it. Researchers say mass production of the vaccine produces mutations cutting its effectiveness by nearly 30 percent.
A lot of people take calcium supplements for bone health. But a new study finds that calcium may increase the risk of one kind of colon polyps that can later turn cancerous. The study in the journal Gut shows that calcium supplements raise the risk of sessile serrated polyps in the colon. Researchers say the increased risk is greatest in smokers and those with a previous history of polyps in the colon.
And finally, researchers say that the world’s supply of chocolate is in danger. It’s all because of a group of viruses in the six West African countries that produce 70 percent of the world’s cocoa. A study in the Virology Journal finds that the mysterious viruses can kill trees in less than a year. However, farmers are reluctant to take down diseased trees if they’re still bearing pods and that spreads the disease quickly. scientists hope to use gene editing to develop virus-resistant plants.
Synopsis: Human papilloma viruses are responsible for many cancers, especially cervical cancer and throat cancer. Vaccines exist for the major HPV’s that cause these cancers, yet relatively few eligible youths have gotten them. Experts discuss the toll of HPV and the reasons so many people avoid both vaccination and Pap tests that can detect cervical cancer early.
Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Rodney Willoughby, Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin and member, American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. Dr. Susan Vadaparampil, Senior Member, Division of Population Sciences, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL. Dr. Leah Smith, postdoctoral fellow, Queen’s University. Dr. Linda Levesque, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, Queen’s University