Posts Tagged ‘ race ’

Circumcision, Prostate Health Linked

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Being circumcised may offer men a degree of protection against developing prostate cancer later in life, according to new research published in the journal BUJ International.  The findings build on previous research that linked circumcision with lower risk of a number of sexually transmitted diseases as well as urinary tract infections and cancer of the penis.

More on the new research, which also found a significantly higher effect among African American men, from Reuters:

Researchers suspect the connection may be the lower rate among circumcised men of sexually transmitted diseases (STD), which raise prostate cancer risk, but they caution that more study is needed to confirm that theory.

“It’s still premature to say go ahead with circumcision to prevent prostate cancer,” said lead author Marie-Elise Parent. “But, we think it could be helpful.”

Based on interviews with more than 3,000 men, her team found that those circumcised as infants were 14 percent less likely than uncircumcised men to develop prostate cancer. The men who had been circumcised as adults were 45 percent less likely to develop the cancer than uncircumcised men.

Researchers have long known that Muslim and Jewish men have lower rates of prostate cancer than men in the West, suggesting that circumcision may play a role in cancer risk, the study team writes in the British urology journal BJU International.

To investigate the connection, Parent, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Quebec’s INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier in Montreal, and her colleagues recruited 3,208 men in the Montreal area.

The participants were all between 40 and 75 years old when they were recruited and 1,590 of them had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The other 1,618 men did not have prostate cancer but were otherwise similar in health and age.

Between 2006 and 2011, all the men were interviewed at home, with in-depth questions about their health and lifestyle, medical history, family history of cancer and work history.

Overall, 40 percent of white men and 30 percent of black men interviewed were circumcised.

For the entire group, researchers found an 11 percent lower risk of having prostate cancer among circumcised men, but noted that it was not statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.

The team did find a significant difference among circumcised black men, who were 60 percent less likely than uncircumcised men to have prostate cancer.

“Black men have the highest rate (of prostate cancer) on the planet and we don’t know why,” Parent told Reuters Health. “It’s really puzzling trying to figure out why this cancer is so common in men that live in industrialized countries, when we understand so little about what’s going on with it and have no way of preventing it.”

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Babies Only Prefer Social Fairness If It Benefits Them

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Babies are drawn to adults who distribute desired items fairly and equally–as long as they perceive that the “fairness” will benefit them.  These are the findings of a new study that examined how babies choose playmates based on whether the playmates share toys equally, or unequally based on race.  More from the University of Washington:

The findings, published in the online journal Frontiers in Psychology, show that 15-month-old babies value a person’s fairness – whether or not an experimenter equally distributes toys – unless babies see that the experimenter unevenly distributed toys in a way that benefits a person of the same race as the infant.

“It’s surprising to see these pro-social traits of valuing fairness so early on, but at the same time, we’re also seeing that babies have self-motivated concerns too,” Sommerville said.

Forty white 15-month-old babies sat on their parents’ laps while watching two white experimenters divide toys between recipients. One experimenter divided the toys equally, and the other experimenter divided the toys unequally….

Later, when the babies had a chance to choose who to play with, 70 percent of the time infants preferred the experimenter who distributed the toys fairly. This suggests that when individuals are the same race as the infant, babies favor fair over unfair individuals as playmates….

Next, Sommerville and her team asked a more complex question. What would happen when individuals who were of the same race as the infant actually stood to benefit from inequity?

In a second experiment, 80 white 15-month-old infants saw a fair and an unfair experimenter distribute toys to a white and to an Asian recipient. Half the babies saw the unfair experimenter give more to the Asian recipient; and the other half of babies saw the experimenter give more to the white recipient.

When it came time to decide a playmate, infants seemed more tolerant of unfairness when the white recipient benefited from it. They picked the fair experimenter less often when the unfair experimenter gave more toys to the white recipient versus the Asian recipient.

“If all babies care about is fairness, then they would always pick the fair distributor, but we’re also seeing that they’re interested in consequences for their own group members,” Sommerville said.

The findings imply that infants can take into account both race and social history (how a person treats someone else) when deciding which person would make a better playmate.

“Babies are sensitive to how people of the same ethnicity as the infant, versus a different ethnicity, are treated – they weren’t just interested in who was being fair or unfair,” said Monica Burns, co-author of the study and a former UW psychology undergraduate student. She’s now a psychology graduate student at Harvard University.

Image: Infants playing, via Shutterstock

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Playing With Baby: Baby Toys
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Playing With Baby: Baby Toys

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Car Seat Safety Practices Differ Among Racial Groups

Friday, January 17th, 2014

A new study has found that children in non-white families are less likely to be placed in age- and size-appropriate car seats and boosters.  More on the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, from Reuters:

“We expected that differences in family income, parental education, and sources of information would explain the racial disparities in age-appropriate restraint use and they did not,” lead author Dr. Michelle L. Macy told Reuters Health by email.

Certain parents may face barriers to car seat and booster seat use that researchers haven’t discovered yet, Macy, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said. Or social norms could explain the differences between racial groups.

The new study took place in Michigan, where state law requires that children under four use a car seat and kids four to seven use a car seat or booster seat unless they are taller than 4 feet, 9 inches.

Experts generally recommend older kids under that height keep using a booster seat as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says all kids under 13 should ride only in the back seat.

The new study was based on surveys of 600 parents of kids ages one to 12.

Close to 3 percent of kids under age four ever sat in the front seat, compared to 10 percent of kids ages four to seven and 34 percent of kids ages eight to 12, according to findings published in Pediatrics.

Among four- to seven-year-olds, twice as many non-white kids sat in the front seat as white kids. For the other age groups, there was no difference based on race.

Across the board, white parents were between three and four times more likely to report using age-appropriate seats for their children than non-white parents.

Parents’ education and income didn’t explain the racial differences in seat use, and all parents got their child safety information from similar sources.

Parents most often learned to use car seats by reading the instruction manual or “just figuring it out.” They sought child car safety information from friends, family, doctors or nurses. The most common source of information was the Internet, which was used more often by white parents.

Image: Baby in car seat, via Shutterstock

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Poll: Women Should Have Kids Earlier than Men

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

A recent Gallup poll has found that they a majority of Americans believe that age 25 or younger is the ideal time for women to start a family, while men should wait until they are age 26 or older.  More from Today.com:

The majority of Americans, 58 percent, believe the ideal age for women to start having children is 25 or younger, while the majority, 52 percent, said men should start having children at 26 or older, a recent Gallup poll found.

The average perceived ideal age for each gender to have children differs only slightly: 25 for women and 27 for men, Gallup found. Some 5,100 U.S. adults took part in the survey.

Gallup acknowledged “tension between biology and societal norms” in the results, noting young women may have the best odds of conceiving a healthy child but that rushing to become a parent “doesn’t square with modern Western sensibilities about pursuing higher education and career goals, finding the perfect partner, or simply relishing the experience of young adulthood.”

Gallup also found “significant differences by education and race” in the poll. The proportion of respondents saying the ideal time for a woman to have her first child by age 25 was greater among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.

Image: Expectant couple, via Shutterstock

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Puberty Coming Earlier for U.S. Girls

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

A new study has confirmed what many have observed–that American girls are hitting puberty and younger and younger ages.  Reuters has more on new research that attributes the drop in the puberty age to a rise in childhood obesity, among other factors:

Researchers found African American girls started getting breasts just before they turned nine, on average. Among white girls the average age was about nine and a half – a few months earlier than in the 1990s.

The findings “confirm an ongoing downward trend in pubertal timing among U.S. girls,” said Dr. Anders Juul.

“It’s been worrying for the U.S. as well as the rest of the world,” Juul said. He heads the Department of Growth and Reproduction at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, and wasn’t involved in the new report.

The data come from a long-term study of more than 1,200 girls in and around San Francisco, Cincinnati and New York City. Girls were enrolled in the study between ages six and eight and followed with annual or semi-annual visits.

At each visit, staff assessed breast development using Tanner stages, which measure how far along a young person is in puberty.

African American girls first showed signs of breast development at eight years, 10 months, on average. That compared to nine years, four months among Hispanic girls and nine years, eight months among white and Asian girls.

For white girls, puberty hit about four months earlier than in a 1997 study that also measured breast development. That study concluded girls were entering puberty earlier than in the past.

Heavier girls tended to start developing at younger ages. Rising obesity rates seem to be a “prime driver” behind breast development starting earlier, Dr. Frank Biro and his colleagues wrote Monday in Pediatrics.

Still, Juul’s own work has suggested obesity isn’t behind earlier breast development among Danish girls.

Researchers said how much exercise girls get, diabetes precursors and chemicals in the environment that can mimic hormones may all play a role in pushing up the onset of puberty.

“One of our challenges is going to be, there are literally hundreds of chemicals that could be candidates,” Biro said. He works in the adolescent medicine division at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.

Where girls live, meat and dairy in their diets and family stress have also been tied to earlier development, Marcia Herman-Giddens wrote in a commentary on the report. She studies maternal and child health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The study didn’t look at when girls started getting their periods, or at other measures of puberty.

The researchers said maturing at a younger age could come with long-term risks for some girls.

For instance, those who hit puberty earlier could be at higher risk of breast and other cancers because their bodies spend more years making and being exposed to estrogen.

They also tend to start having sex or using drugs and alcohol at younger ages and are more likely to become depressed or develop low self-esteem.

“You’ve got a 10-year-old who looks like a 14-year-old. We interact with kids based on the way that they look,” Biro said. “Kids interact with each other that way also.”

Is your child bound to be a doctor or a fashion designer? Take this quick quiz and find out. Plus, do you know which sick kid symptoms you should never ignore?

Image: Girl with acne, via Shutterstock

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