This Week in Health: One dose of HPV vaccine may be enough
Single dose of HPV vaccine may be enough to prevent cervical cancer
Location of study: Costa Rica
Study subjects: Blood samples from women who failed to receive the prescribed three doses of the vaccine
Results: Women vaccinated with one dose of a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine produced antibodies against the viruses, which remained stable in their blood for four years, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. This result implies that a single dose of vaccine may be sufficient to generate long-term immune responses and protection against new HPV infections, and ultimately cervical cancer. In some parts of the world, two doses of HPV vaccine is the recommended program; the popular U.S. vaccine Gardasil is a series of three shots. This study was conducted using the HPV vaccine Cervarix on a small number of subjects and does not apply to Gardasil, which has not been tested for single-dose efficacy.
Significance: Mahboobeh Safaeian, Ph.D., a cancer epidemiology and genetics investigator at the National Cancer Institute, said, “Our findings challenge previous dogma that protein subunit vaccines require multiple doses to generate long-lived responses.”
Hospitalized patients’ health improves with natural lighting
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: 40 hospitalized adults
Results: Changing the lighting patterns in hospital rooms to align them more with normal sleep cycles could reduce fatigue and pain, and help patients feel better, according to a study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers found that, similar to a day’s level of sunshine affecting mood, hospital lighting exposing patients to low levels of light 24 hours per day resulted in disrupted sleep, more fatigue and more pain.
Significance: “It is important to note that these findings were preliminary and more research needs to be done to determine any possible clinical implications of enhancing the lighting environment for patients in the hospital,” said lead researcher Esther Bernhofer, a registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. “Future intervention studies should include investigating different ‘doses’ of light exposure for inpatients. Such research would determine if lighting interventions could offer unique, cost-effective ways to more effectively address the problems of sleep-wake disturbances, distressed mood and pain in hospitalized patients, providing for overall better patient outcomes.”
Consumers fall for false food ad claims
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Data
Results: A new survey from the Leanwashing Index — a public service website that asks consumers to watch food and fitness ads, then rate their authenticity — found that shoppers regularly take words like “whole grains,” “natural,” “healthy” and “light” at face value without looking beyond the description, according to EnviroMedia Social Marketing. President Kevin Tuerff, co-creator of the Leanwashing Index, said, “When the words can’t be backed up, it’s called leanwashing.”
Significance: A new bill, the Food Labeling Modernization Act, calls for the Food and Drug Administration to define such advertising jargon. EnviroMedia Social Marketing does not expect the bill to make it through Congress, though. This new leanwashing survey found that 70 percent of people said it’s the FDA’s job to enforce honesty in food marketing; 9 percent thought it was consumers’ responsibility; and 7 percent thought the food industry should voluntarily stop making false health claims.
Family dinners linked to less weight gain
Location of study: U.S./Netherlands
Study subjects: Data
Results: Children who participate in family dinners (no television, staying seated until everyone is finished) are thinner and have a lower body mass index (BMI), according to a study published in Obesity. The study also found that parents who talk meaningfully with children, especially young boys, about their day during dinner also have lower BMIs. Families who eat while watching television often have obesity problems, and eating anywhere other than the kitchen or dining room resulted in higher BMIs in both parents and in children.
Significance: “The ritual of where one eats and how long one eats seems to be the largest driver,” said study co-author Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. “By focusing on family dining rituals, this research departs from the more food-centric approaches. Family meals might be an underappreciated battleground to fight obesity.”