Study subjects: Nearly 40,000 women
Results: New research out of theUniversity of California, Berkeleyis linking a specific type of hormonal birth control shot (Depo-Provera) with increased HIV risk. When compared to women who either used non-hormonal birth control or no contraception at all, women who received this type of injectable birth control experienced a 40 percent increase in the risk of acquiring HIV.
Significance: At this point, researchers are unable to explain the link between the shot and increased HIV risk. In a UC Berkeley statement, researchers say that birth control options that contain higher levels of progestin may have “altered local immunity, increasing the risk for HIV infection.” However, this is just one theory.
Location of study:Sweden
Study subjects:1.2 million men
Results:Despite the commonly held belief that high intelligence is tied to mental illness, new research is now suggesting that a high IQ may actually be protective against schizophrenia – at least in those who are predisposed to the disease. Study participants who had a lower IQ than their siblings were found to be the most at risk for schizophrenia. In other words, men who fell short of their predicted intelligence appeared to be the most likely to develop the disease.
Significance:Researchers report that genes for schizophrenia are less likely to spring into action in people who are exceptionally smart. Even still, they warn that people with high IQs can still be schizophrenic. In the U.S., roughly 2.4 million adults suffer from the condition. Characterized by hallucinations and delusions, symptoms can include everything from hearing voices, to seeing or feeling things that don’t actually exist.
Location of study:U.S.
Study subjects: 375 undergrad students at a large U.S. university in the southeast
Results:Insomnia, alcohol use, and suicide risk might all be interrelated. “Across the board, we found that a significant amount of the relationship between alcohol and suicide risk was explained by insomnia symptoms,” says principal investigator Michael Nadorff, PhD. The results suggest that drinking alcohol leads to poor sleep, which could then lead to increased suicide risk.
Significance: Nadorff says that while the findings are indeed noteworthy, they don’t actually prove causality. Longitudinal studies focusing specifically on populations who are most at risk for abusing alcohol are needed to better clarify the relationship between insomnia, alcohol use and suicide risk.
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