Wednesday, August 21st, 2013
A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that nearly a third of all white teen girls visit tanning salons, despite warnings that tanning increases their risk of a lethal form of skin cancer (as well as wrinkles). In fact, the study revealed that more than 15 percent of girls use tanning beds ten times or more a year.
Here’s more from Today Health:
“We need to encourage young women to embrace their natural, untanned skin colors,” says Gery Guy of the CDC’s division of cancer control, who led the research.
Guy’s team looked at surveys of high school students and young adults from 2010 and 2011, which cover tens of thousands of people interviewed in depth.
“Among non-Hispanic white female high school students, 29.3 percent engaged in indoor tanning and 16.7 percent engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months,” they wrote. “Among non-Hispanic white women aged 18-34 years, 24.9 percent engaged in indoor tanning and 15.1 percent engaged in frequent indoor tanning during the previous 12 months.”
That’s even though people who use indoor tanning treatments raise their risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—by 59 to 75 percent. People who use tanning booths or lights before they are 25 raise the risk by as much as 100 percent.
“This widespread use is of great concern given the elevated risk of skin cancer among younger users and frequent users,” Guy’s team wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Melanoma kills more than 9,000 Americans a year.
Image: Girl’s legs in tanning bed, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Girls who suffer from the eating disorder anorexia often exhibit some traits and behaviors that are similar to those who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to research by Simon Baron-Cohen of Cambridge University’s Autism Research Centre. The anorexic girls, Cohen found, suffered an above average number of autistic traits. More from Reuters:
They were also found to have an above-average interest in systems and order, and below-average scores in empathy – a profile similar, but less pronounced, to that seen in people with autism, suggesting the two disorders may have common underlying features, Baron-Cohen said.
“Traditionally, anorexia has been viewed purely as an eating disorder. This is quite reasonable, since the girls’ dangerously low weight and their risk of malnutrition or even death has to be the highest priority,” he said.
“But this new research is suggesting that underlying the surface behavior, the mind of a person with anorexia may share a lot with the mind of a person with autism. In both conditions, there is a strong interest in systems. In girls with anorexia, they have latched onto a system that concerns body weight, shape, and food intake.”
People with autism have varying levels of impairment across three main areas – social interaction and empathy or understanding, repetitive behavior and interests, and language and communication.
Cohen noted that autism and anorexia share certain features, such as rigid attitudes and behaviors, a tendency to be very self-focused, and a fascination with detail. Both disorders also share similar differences in the structure and function of brain regions involved in social perception.
The findings, researchers say, could help in the development of new treatments for anorexia.
Image: Anorexia sign, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, August 7th, 2013
The popular children’s clothing store The Children’s Place has apologized after a photo of a t-shirt went viral and prompted accusations that the shirt perpetuates the stereotype that girls are more interested in shopping than math. As Boston.com reports, the store apologized via Twitter, saying, “We take feedback from our customers seriously. We pulled the tshirt from our stores and express apologies to anyone we may have offended.”
Apparently there are at least two versions of the shirt, with one customer, who purchased her shirt in Canada, posting a photo that shows the “Math” box checked along with “Shopping,” “Music,” and “Dancing.”
The company’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments from some parents who are enraged at the shirt’s seemingly anti-intellectual message, and others who feel the issue is much ado about nothing.
Image via Twitter
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Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Women who had cancer as girls are often concerned that they will experience diminished or lost fertility, but a new study conducted by researchers from the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center offers hopeful news–though it took female cancer survivors longer to get pregnant than sisters who had not had cancer, two-thirds of the cancer survivors did eventually become pregnant. More from Reuters:
“The main message counters what some people have thought, which is if you had cancer you won’t be able to get pregnant or have children,” said Dr. Lisa Diller, the study’s senior author, from the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Historically, childhood cancer survivors have been counseled that they may be unable to get pregnant because cancer-fighting chemotherapy and radiation can damage their ovaries.
For the new study, Diller and her colleagues used data from questionnaires in an ongoing study of 3,531 cancer survivors and 1,366 of their sisters between the ages of 18 and 39 years old.
The survivors were all diagnosed before age 21 with cancer at one of 26 medical centers in the U.S. or Canada from 1970 through 1986. The women had all been cancer free for at least five years.
Compared to their sisters, cancer survivors were more likely to be clinically infertile, which means they had been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for more than a year.
Thirteen percent of survivors were clinically infertile, compared to 10 percent of their sisters.
Still, 64 percent of the 455 clinically infertile survivors eventually got pregnant.
That pregnancy rate is similar to what has been observed in clinically infertile women without a history of cancer, Richard Anderson, a professor of clinical reproductive science at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, writes in an editorial accompanying the new study in the journal Lancet Oncology….
….But Dr. Mitchell Rosen, director of the University of California, San Francisco Fertility Preservation Center, cautions that the new study cannot predict how childhood cancer survivors’ fertility will change as they get into their late 30s or their 40s.
Rosen, who wasn’t involved in the new study, told Reuters Health that getting pregnant gets harder about 10 years before women go through menopause and childhood cancer survivors tend to go through early menopause.
That means childhood cancer survivors’ fertility problems may be amplified in their late thirties and early forties, compared to women without a history of cancer.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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Friday, June 14th, 2013
The chemical compound bisphenol-a (BPA), which is found in plastics and many food containers, has been linked with childhood obesity in girls, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. BPA has long been associated with health problems in boys and men, including prostate issues, but this study calls the compound a major environmental culprit in obesity among young girls. More from CNN:
[Dr. De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California,] and colleagues studied 1,326 school-age children in Shanghai, China, and measured BPA levels in their urine. In girls ages 9 to 12, higher BPA urine levels were associated with a doubled risk of obesity. And as BPA urine levels increased, so did the girls’ obesity risk – measured using their weight in reference to weight distribution in the population.
But strikingly, only girls in this age group were affected, the research showed. Neither girls outside of the 9-12 age range nor boys experienced a risk of being overweight or obese, even with high levels of BPA in their urine.
“Girls seem to be more sensitive to environmental impact, and we don’t know exactly why,” said Li, the lead study author.
Researchers do know BPA is an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It enters the body and mimics estrogen, the main hormone involved in female development.
When BPA acts like estrogen in young girls, it may accelerate the onset of puberty and cause weight gain – thus earning its “endocrine-disrupting” title.
“It is biologically plausible that BPA interferes with your normal hormone process – then your body gets screwed up,” said Li.
In March, a study reported a link between BPA and childhood asthma, and last year, the FDA banned BPA from all baby bottles and sippy cups.
Image: Overweight girl, via Shutterstock
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