Location of study: Canada
Study subjects: Over 260,000 eighth grade girls
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Results: An Ontario-based research team recently conducted the largest study on the link between the HPV vaccine and sexual behavior. Researchers followed roughly 128,000 girls who were eligible for the vaccine through an Ontario program that offered it to all eight graders during the 2007-2008 school year. (Of these, about half received all three doses.) When researchers compared these girls to the remaining participants who were ineligible for the vaccine, they found no significant difference in rates of teen pregnancy and non-HPV-related STDs.
Significance: “These findings suggest that fears of increased risky sexual behavior following HPV vaccination are unwarranted and should not be a barrier to vaccinating at a young age,” researchers wrote in the Canadian Medical Association Journal . One argument from those against HPV vaccination is that it may give teenagers a false sense of invincibility when it comes to their sexual health. This includes fears that teens who get vaccinated are more likely to be promiscuous.
Location of study: U.S.
Study subjects: Over 9,000 men who were evaluated for infertility between 1994 and 2011
Results: Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine evaluated the semen samples of thousands of men who were having fertility issues. (The median age of the participants was 38.) Investigators specifically looked at semen volume, concentration and motility. What they found was a link between semen abnormalities and circulatory diseases like hypertension, heart disease and vascular disease. Additionally, the more semen defects a man had, the more likely he was to have a skin disease or endocrine disorder.
Significance: Poor semen quality appears to be an indicator of other health issues. “A man’s health is strongly correlated with his semen quality,” lead author Michael Eisenberg, MD, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Stanford says in astatement. Eisenberg adds that men being treated for infertility should also have their overall health assessed.
Results: Using data from a national health and nutrition survey, Canadian researchers developed a model to estimate the annual risk of diabetes and heart disease for adults with different body weights. They found that very obese individuals could potentially cut their life expectancy by almost a decade. What’s more is that when compared to people who had a healthy weight, those who were overweight or obese were to two to four times more likely to lose “healthy life-years.”
Significance: “The study shows that being obese takes as many years off your life expectancy as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day,” says lead author Dr. Steven Grover, clinical epidemiologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. “We knew these things were bad, but nobody had ever tried to really quantify it before.”
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