STDs Continue to Spread in U.S.

American squeamishness about talking about sex has helped keep common sexually transmitted infections far too common, especially among vulnerable teens, U.S. researchers reported Monday.

Latest statistics on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis show the three highly treatable infections continue to spread in the United States.

"Chlamydia and gonorrhea are stable at unacceptably high levels, and syphilis is resurgent after almost being eliminated," said John Douglas, director of the division of sexually transmitted diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We have among the highest rates of STDs of any developed country in the world," Douglas added in a telephone interview.

The administration of President Barack Obama has signaled a willingness to move away from so-called abstinence-only sex education approaches that his predecessor, George W. Bush, and conservative state and local governments have promoted.

Several studies have shown such approaches do not work well and that it is better to encourage abstinence while also offering children and teens information about how to protect themselves from diseases as well as pregnancy.

"We haven't been promoting the full battery of messages," Douglas said. "We have been sending people out with one seatbelt in the whole car."

The CDC's latest study on STDs found:


Extraordinary Benefits of Exercise

The results of two new German studies emphasize that exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing disease. The first study found that exercise has an extraordinary potential to prevent stroke. Rapid walking or cycling lowered the risk of cerebral hemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) by 40 percent in men and cerebral infarction (blood supply blocked by a clot) by 27 percent.

The second study found that regular walking lowers the risk of colorectal cancer by 40 percent. It also found that patients with colorectal carcinoma can improve their chances of survival by exercising.

Professor Dieter Leyk of the German Sport University in Cologne raises the question of why the tremendous benefits of exercise, both preventive and therapeutic, are not fully utilized by medical professionals.

Food Poisoning Can Cause Lifelong Problems

More than just a bad bout of stomach flu, some food-borne illnesses can cause long-term consequences, especially for young people, a report released on Thursday has found.

Researchers at the Center for Foodborne Illness Research & Prevention in Pennsylvania studied the five most common food-borne diseases and found they can cause life-long complications including kidney failure, paralysis, seizures, hearing or visual impairments and mental retardation.

"It's not just a tummy ache," the center's Tanya Roberts told a news briefing.

Acetaminophen Increases Asthma Risk

An analysis of 19 studies provides additional evidence of increased asthma risk in children and adults given acetaminophen.

The study's lead author told Reuters Health, while this type of study isn't the best way to prove that the medication actually causes the illness, it does show that the relationship should be investigated further.

"We know acetaminophen affects inflammatory cells in the airway," said Dr. J. Mark FitzGerald of the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute in British Columbia. But even if the medication does boost asthma risk, he added, it's likely only one factor in the rise in asthma prevalence seen in recent years.

Asthma has become increasingly common worldwide, and some investigators have suggested that more widespread acetaminophen use could be one contributing factor, given that the drug lowers levels of an antioxidant called glutathione found in lung tissue, FitzGerald and his team note in the journal CHEST.

Also, the researcher pointed out in an interview, a study of about 200,000 patients published in 2008 suggested an increased risk of asthma and wheezing in those who took acetaminophen.

To investigate further, FitzGerald and his associates searched the medical literature for studies that looked at acetaminophen and risk of asthma and wheezing.

When the researchers did a combined analysis of the 19 studies they identified, which included 425,140 patients in all, they found acetaminophen use was associated with a 1.6-fold increased risk of asthma. Children exposed to the drug in the womb were at 1.3-fold greater risk of asthma and 1.5-fold increased risk of wheezing.

The one study that looked at high-dose acetaminophen in children found it more than tripled asthma risk.

At this point, FitzGerald said, parents shouldn't purge their medicine chests of acetaminophen.

When a pediatrician recommends acetaminophen to treat fever in a child, according to the researcher, parents should follow this advice. The drug "works very well to do what it is supposed to do," he noted, adding "there's always a risk benefit in terms of medication."

SOURCE: CHEST, November 2009.

Australian Scientists Can Help Cancer Patients Re-Grow Breasts

Bra promises to banish wrinkles

WRINKLE-RIDDER: La Decollette cushions the breasts and keeps them apart during sleep allowing the cleavage time to recover from wrinkles.
SMOOTH OPERATOR: Before and after shot.

A woman has invented a bra which promises to rid women of unsightly cleavage wrinkles.

The UK's Daily Mail newspaper reports that the Dutch-invented bra will go on sale in the UK this week for about £44 (NZ$100).

The bra, called 'La Decollette' was invented by former air hostess Rachel De Boer after she noticed folds in her cleavage at the age of 30.

"I spent many happy years as an air hostess travelling the world and obviously enjoying the sunshine and beaches," she told the Daily Mail.

"In those days we were not as aware of how much damage this can do to the skin and I was only in my early 30s when I was horrified to see my skin wrinkling."

"I was afraid to show my cleavage and none of the creams and treatments I tried seemed to help."

The bra, called 'La Decollette', works by keeping the breasts apart during sleep reducing the amount the skin wrinkles around the chest.

"There are plenty of sexy bras out there and this is not a sexy bra, but it can help you get your sexy cleavage back." De Boer said.

It is now being sold throughout Europe from the company's website,

There's no word on when the bra might be available to New Zealand shoppers.

Jogging pants 'cause weight gain'

Karl Lagerfeld says wearing jogging pants makes you put on weight.

The German fashion designer thinks wearing the comfortable item of clothing is "dangerous" because people eat more as the trousers have an elasticated waist.

He said: "I never wear jogging pants. Those things are dangerous. Because they have an elastic band. It stretches and then you don't know when you put on weight. Also, I hate it when you let yourself go! I'm always looking the way you see me now."

Karl - who is the head designer for French fashion house Chanel - also says he has no plans to retire because there are a lot more projects he wants to do.

The 76-year-old told German magazine Freundin: "Retirement is not one of the topics with which I deal. Why should I? I still have so many projects that I sometimes don't know where to begin. Chanel will still need some clothes when I'm 89. The world can count on me for a long time."

10 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

1.Our body is capable of producing aspirin
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Eating fruits and vegetables may help the human body make its own aspirin. Findings from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry indicate that study participants who received benzoic acid, a natural substance in fruits and vegetables, could make their own salicylic acid, the key component that gives aspirin its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

2.Taking a nap at work is good for your boss
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

A 20-minute nap can improve your overall alertness, boost your mood, and increase productivity. William Anthony, co-author of The Art of Napping at Work (Larson Publications, 1999), says the post-nap boost can last for several hours. In addition, your heart may reap benefits from napping. In a six-year study of Greek adults, researchers found that that men who took naps at least three times a week had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.

3.Ejaculation may cause men to sneeze
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Some men experience pain, headaches, or sneezing as a result of ejaculation. The increased activity in the nervous system during orgasm may be the culprit in triggering headaches. A possible explanation for the sneezing is that in the brain, the center for orgasms is close to the centers for yawning and sneezing.

4.Every person has a unique tongue print
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Just like fingerprints. The tongue is a unique organ in that it can be stuck out of mouth for inspection, and yet it is otherwise well protected in the mouth and is difficult to forge. The tongue also presents both geometric shape information and physiological texture information which are potentially useful in identity verification applications.

5.The appendix isn't as useless as you think
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Long denigrated as vestigial or useless, the appendix actually has a reason to be – as a “safe house” for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut. The beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut.

6.The body is taller in the morning than in the evening
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

The body is taller in the morning than in the evening. You might want to schedule that basketball game for first thing in the morning. That's because our bodies are on average about half an inch taller in the morning, thanks to excess fluid between our discs, which is replenished while we sleep. As the day goes on, and our bodies undergo the strain of standing, the discs get compressed and the fluid seeps out, so the body loses that small bit of extra height.

7.The stomach produces a new lining every 3 days to avoid digesting itself with its own acids
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

There's one dangerous liquid no airport security can confiscate from you: It's in your gut. Your stomach cells secrete hydrochloric acid, a corrosive compound used to treat metals in the industrial world. It can pickle steel, but mucous lining the stomach wall keeps this poisonous liquid safely in the digestive system, breaking down your lunch but not your own stomach.

8.Body position affects your memory
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Can't remember your anniversary, hubby? Try getting down on one knee. Memories are highly embodied in our senses. A scent or sound may evoke a distant episode from one's childhood. The connections can be obvious (a bicycle bell makes you remember your old paper route) or inscrutable. A recent study helps decipher some of this embodiment. An article in the January 2007 issue of Cognition reports that episodes from your past are remembered faster and better while in a body position similar to the pose struck during the event.

9.Blondes have more hair
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

They're said to have more fun, and they definitely have more hair. Hair color determines how dense the hair on your head is. The average human has 100,000 hair follicles, each of which is capable of producing 20 individual hairs during a person's lifetime. Blondes average 146,000 follicles while people with black hair tend to have about 110,000 follicles. Those with brown hair fit the average with 100,000 follicles and redheads have the least dense hair, with about 86,000 follicles.

10.Having orgasms prevent men from prostate cancer
15 Facts You Didn't Know About Your Body

Two large studies, reported in 2003 and 2004, found that middle-aged men who had (or at least remember having) at least four orgasms a week throughout their 20s, 30s and 40s had a reduced risk of prostate cancer by as much as one-third. Some researchers speculate that ejaculations may clear the prostate of carcinogens.


GENTLE exercise can dramatically cut the danger of an early death from heart disease, according to new research.

Just 30 minutes of jogging or cycling three times a week has amazing results for people with heart problems – the UK’s biggest killer – a study has found.

In just three months it slashed the risk of an early death by 60 per cent in those who followed the ­fitness regime.

The results will come as welcome news for thousands of Britons who suffer from heart-related illness.

One-in-five men and one-in-seven women die of heart disease in the UK, equivalent to 250 deaths a day. Overall, 200,000 people die each year from conditions related to circulation, including strokes, heart attacks and heart disease.

These figures are expected to go up as the population ages and thanks also to a rise in obesity, which leads to furring of arteries.

The study, released today, found the biggest gains were in patients who were also stressed. The authors believe it is because stress can quadruple the risk of death in people with heart problems.

Exercise can offer the double benefit of reducing stress levels while also improving heart health.

The study concludes: “Exercise reduces mortality in patients with coronary artery disease…in part because of the effects on psycho­social stress.”

Patients with heart problems are usually put on drugs – statins to lower cholesterol and blood pressure pills – to reduce the risks.

But in recent years the NHS been pushing a rehabilitation programme that includes advice on diet, ­exercise, smoking and stress.

Previous studies have demonstrated a wealth of life-prolonging benefits from exercise.

People who work out have a lower risk of contracting long-term conditions such as cancer, heart disease and neurological disorders. It also slows death and disability rates.

Exercise acts by improving the health of hearts and arteries, strengthening bones and reducing inflammation. It also boosts the immune system and improves thinking, learning and memory.

This latest study by the Department of Cardiology in New Orleans and published in the American ­Journal of Medicine reveals in detail just how much these simple changes can boost lifespan.

The team followed 522 cardiac patients, including 53 who had high stress levels and 27 control patients who had high stress levels but who refused cardiac rehabilitation.

Patients were offered 12 weeks of exercise classes, where they did 10 minutes of warm-up, 30 to 40 ­minutes of aerobic exercise such as walking, rowing or jogging, and then a 10-minute stretch to wind down.

The classes were three times a week and patients were also asked to try to do a further one-to-three exercise sessions a week.

They were also given advice on how to improve diet and lifestyle, and their progress was followed for up to six years.

Those who got fitter were 60 per cent less likely to die in the following six years. Exercise also helped reduce stress levels from one-in-10 patients to fewer than one-in-20 which in turn lowered the death rate for stressed patients by 20 per cent.

However, the weight of patients did not change much, suggesting the benefits are from exercise alone.

Health charities welcomed the report. The British Heart Foundation, said: “This study proves once again that exercise has both psychological and physical benefits for patients with heart disease.

“Health authorities must ensure that all suitable heart patients are offered cardiac rehabilitation.

“Structured, well-resourced programmes have been shown to improve physical and psychological wellbeing and reduce mortality.”