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Fri, 27 Nov 2020
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Male circumcision overstated as prevention tool against AIDS

In new academic research published today in the online, open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal PLoS ONE, male circumcision is found to be much less important as a deterrent to the global AIDS pandemic than previously thought. The author, John R. Talbott, has conducted statistical empirical research across 77 countries of the world and has uncovered some surprising results.

The new study finds that the number of infected prostitutes in a country is the key to explaining the degree to which AIDS has infected the general population. Prostitute communities are typically very highly infected with the virus themselves, and because of the large number of sex partners they have each year, can act as an engine driving infection rates to unusually high levels in the general population. The new study is entitled "Size Matters: The Number of Prostitutes and the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic" and is freely available online at the PLoS ONE publication website.

The study has a number of important findings that should impact policy decisions in the future. First, male circumcision, which in previous studies had been found to be important in controlling AIDS, becomes statistically irrelevant once the study controls for the number of prostitutes in a country. The study finds that the more Muslim countries of North Africa do indeed suffer much less AIDS than southern and western Africa, but this lower prevalence is not due to higher numbers of circumscribed males in these Muslim communities, but rather results from the fact that there are significantly fewer prostitutes in northern Africa on a per capita basis. It appears that religious families in the north, specifically concerned fathers and brothers, do a much better job protecting their daughters from predatory males than do those in the south. A history of polygamy in these Muslim communities does not appear to contribute to hi gher AIDS prevalence as previously speculated. In a frequently cited academic paper, Daniel Halperin, an H.I.V. specialist at the Harvard Center for Population and Development and one of the world's leading advocates for male circumcision, weighted results from individual countries by their population. When this artificial weighting was removed Talbott found that circumcision was no longer statistically significant in explaining the variance in AIDS infection rates across the countries of the World.

Health

Hepatitis C a growing problem in NWT, Canada

Hepatitis C, a relatively new disease in the North, is becoming a bigger problem in that part of Canada than HIV or tuberculosis, the Northwest Territories' chief medical officer said during a national conference in Yellowknife.

Dr. Andre Corriveau told CBC News on Monday he hopes to raise awareness about hepatitis C to curb its spread in the territory.

About 300 N.W.T. residents have been diagnosed with the disease - one of the highest infection rates in Canada - and about 30 new cases are found every year. The infection numbers are evenly split between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.

Attention

Parents and Physicians Outraged Over Comments From NBC's Dr. Snyderman on Autism Omnibus Hearings, Vaccines

Parents and Physicians Outraged Over Comments From NBC's Dr. Snyderman on Autism Omnibus Hearings, Vaccines


Health

Study: Breast cancer genes can come from father

A deadly gene's path can hide in a family tree when a woman has few aunts and older sisters, making it appear that her breast cancer struck out of nowhere when it really came from Dad.

A new study suggests thousands of young women with breast cancer - an estimated 8,000 a year in the U.S. - aren't offered testing to identify faulty genes and clarify their medical decisions.

Health

Study finds staggering cost of treating diabetics

One out of every eight U.S. federal health care dollars is spent treating people with diabetes, a study found, and advocates are calling for the creation of a government post to oversee coordination of spending on treatment and prevention among federal agencies.

Light Sabers

UK: Level of abortions reaches record high of 200,000 a year

More than 200,000 women had abortions last year, the highest number ever, figures show today.

Almost 4,000 of the 201,173 procedures carried out in England and Wales were on girls under 16, the legal age of consent for sex.

The total rose by almost four per cent last year on 2005. The increase is being blamed on a crisis in contraception services.

Lambeth had the highest rate of abortions among under-18s - 44 for every 1,000 women having a termination. Across London, 24 in every 1,000 under-18s had an abortion last year.

Attention

Six-year-old boy treated for anorexia

A six-year-old is the youngest boy to be treated for anorexia, a study reveals today. It also shows more young boys than girls are being treated for eating disorders such as anorexia.

Figures show 51 hospital admissions last year of boys under 11 with eating disorders and 36 admissions of girls.

Dr Jon Goldin, a consultant child psychiatrist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "There is a whole range of eating disorders that young children suffer from, including compulsive overeating, food phobias or fear of swallowing, and refusing to eat.

"Young boys are more likely to be suffering from selective eating, where they will only eat a very narrow range of foods.

Bulb

Attention Training May Help Older Adults Improve Concentration

Can a fitness program for your brain improve thinking and concentration the way lifting weights can increase muscle strength? Early results from a Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center study suggest that attention training can change brain activity so older adults can block out distractions and improve concentration.

Health

Is America Too Sweet On Sugar?

Dr. David Ludwig treats childhood obesity at Boston Children's Hospital and he is stunned by America's consumption of empty calories. In fact, he says that the average convenience store is a nutritional disaster area.

"All sugar-containing foods aren't bad," he told CBS News correspondent Susan Spencer. "For example, an apple has its main calories come from sugar. But it's surrounded by fiber, so it digests slowly and keeps blood sugar under control."

Including refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, the average American wolfs down 142 pounds a year, or roughly 2 ½ pound a week. That is up 23 percent in the last 25 years, and is a major factor in soaring rates of obesity and diabetes.

Book

Scots more likely than English to reach university, though background still counts

Whilst young people in Britain increasingly value education and stay on at school, the proportion gaining qualifications and going to college and university over the past 20 years has been 'consistently and substantially' greater in Scotland, according to a unique study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

But the project, led by Dr Linda Croxford with Professor David Raffe of the University of Edinburgh, found that while the Scottish system encouraged young people to study beyond the age of 16, middle class students took most advantage.

Using carefully constructed sets of data drawn from ongoing surveys of thousands of young people aged 16-19, researchers were able for the first time to analyse the effects of social change on their experiences through and beyond the education system, and to map trends across Britain.

The report says that more than half of Britain's 16-year olds in the mid-1980s felt that school had done little to prepare them for life, compared with just a third by 1999. And those feeling it had helped give them confidence to make decisions rose from 52 to 70 per cent.

The research compared the success rates of young people from working-class and middle-class backgrounds. Their findings for England present a more positive picture than other recent studies which show class inequalities remaining stable or even increasing. Inequalities in attainment at age 16 changed little over the period, but at 'A' level and entry to higher education in England, they narrowed slightly over the period.