Roundup: 1 in 5 U.S. Adults Infected With ‘High Risk’ HPV; Prolonged Antibiotic Use Linked to Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer

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April 7, 2017


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About 1 in 5 U.S. adults under age 60 are infected with a “high-risk” strain of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) that increases the risk of cancer, according to a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, published on Thursday, found that certain high-risk strains of the HPV virus infected 25 percent of men and 20 percent of women who took part in a health survey from 2013 to 2014. These strains are associated with more than 31,000 cases of cancer each year, other studies have found.

As part of the survey, the participants underwent a physical exam and were tested for DNA from 37 different types of HPV. Participants were Americans ages 18 to 59. The HPV virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

Fourteen of these HPV types are known as the high-risk strains because they can develop into certain cancers, including cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, penis and throat.

Overall, about 23 percent of the participants were infected with a high-risk strain of genital HPV, the report found. These strains were slightly more common in men than in women. About 25 percent of the men were infected with a high-risk strain, compared with 20 percent of women.

Two vaccines are effective in preventing sexually transmitted HPV infections. Researchers say they hope the new data will spur more parents to have their adolescent children vaccinated.

“If we can get 11- and 12-year-olds to get the vaccine, we’ll make some progress,” Geraldine McQuillan, an epidemiologist at the CDC, and lead author of the new report, told the New York Times. “By the time they’re in their mid-20s, people are infected and it’s too late. This is a vaccine against cancer — that’s the message.”

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Prolonged Antibiotic Use Linked to Higher Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Taking antibiotics for an prolonged period from your 20s through your 50s might increase the risk for precancerous growths in your colon later in life, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Their findings were based on data from 16,642 nurses in the long-term U.S. Nurses’ Health Study. The nurses were mainly fell into two categories, those age 20 to 39 and those age 40 to 59. Both groups had taken antibiotics for two months or more and were both found to be at an increased risk of developing bowel polyps known as adenomas, a precursor for the majority of colorectal cancers. All study participants had undergone at least one colonoscopy.

Researchers found 1,195 cases of adenoma among women who used antibiotics for two months or more between the ages of 20 to 39. They were more likely to be diagnosed with adenomas later in life. The study also found women who took antibiotics for two months or more between 40 and 59 were even more likely to be diagnosed with adenoma years later.

Antibiotics upset the diversity and number of bacteria in the gut, or “microbiome,” the researchers said. Antibiotics also lower resistance to toxic bacteria, which could increase the risk of developing precancerous growthsResearchers, however, say more studies on the impact of antibiotic exposure with gut microbial composition and function are needed. Several factors can increase a person’s risk of colorectal cancer including family history, diet, alcohol use, smoking and obesity.

“Antibiotics fundamentally alter the gut microbiome, by curbing the diversity and number of bacteria, and reducing the resistance to hostile bugs,” study authors stated. “This might all have a crucial role in the development of bowel cancer, added to which the bugs that require antibiotics may induce inflammation, which is a known risk for the development of (colorectal) cancer.”

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Global Smoking Death Rates Still Climbing

In many nations, such as the United States, the smoking rate has declined signficantly over the past three decades, but one in 10 deaths worldwide are still a result of the nicotine habit, a new study by a consortium of researchers reveals.

The number of deaths attributed to tobacco — which topped 6.4 million in 2015 — rose by 4.7 percent between 1990 and 2015 due to the expanding world population, the report found. The Global Burden of Diseases report, published in the medical journal The Lancet, was based on smoking habits in 195 countries and territories.

“Despite more than half a century of unequivocal evidence of the harmful effects of tobacco on health, today, one in every four men in the world is a daily smoker,” senior author Emmanuela Gakidou, M.D., told the BBC.

Smoking remains the second largest risk factor for early death and disability globally. “We must intensify tobacco control to further reduce smoking prevalence and attributable burden,” added Dr. Gakidou, of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle.

The study concluded that “intensified efforts are also greatly needed to keep smoking prevalence rates low in populations which have not experienced a devastating epidemic yet, and to prevent children, adolescents, and young adults from starting to smoke.”

Recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that current cigarette smoking among U.S. adults declined from 20.9 percent in 2005 to 15.1 percent in 2015. That’s the lowest prevalence of adult cigarette smoking since the CDC began tracking tobacco use in 1965, when more than 40 percent of Americans smoked cigarettes.

The CDC also reports that 40 percent of cancers diagnosed in the U.S. may have a link to tobacco use. Smoking causes about 90 percent of male and 80 percent of female lung cancer deaths. But tobacco use is also linked to cancer of the liver, colon and rectum, oral cavity, esophagus, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), stomach, pancreas, bladder, kidney, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia.

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‘Yo-yo’ Dieting May Be Dangerous for Those With Pre-Existing Heart Conditions

Going through cycles of losing and regaining weight — known as yo-yo dieting — is linked to a higher risk for stroke, heart attack, and death in people with pre-existing coronary artery disease, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Researchers looked at data on more than 9,500 men and women between the ages of 35 and 75. All of them had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, high cholesterol levels, or some other history of heart problems. All patients were followed for about five years.

Compared to heart patients who kept their weight at a steady level, those who saw the sharpest weight changes saw 136 percent more strokes, 117 percent more heart attacks, and 124 percent more deaths.

The study’s authors caution that their findings donot prove a cause-and-effect relationship between yo-yo dieting and increased risk of health problems and death among those with underlying heart health issues. “What this study clearly demonstrates is something we have suspected for a long time, that gaining, losing and re-graining weight is stressful on the body,” Alice H. Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at Tufts University, told CBS News.

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