Body

Dengue infection does not increase Zika severity

 A study finds that in and around São José do Rio Preto (São Paulo State, Brazil), where dengue is endemic and there was a rapid outbreak of Zika during the 2016 epidemic, prior dengue infection did not lead to a worse illness for those who got Zika.

Explaining HIV infection disparities by race/ethnicity

Researchers behind a new paper examined the sexual behaviors of a nationally representative group of U.S. women that can prevent against or increase risk for HIV infection and reported the differences in behaviors such as condom use and concurrent sex partners and the changes in these behaviors over 7 years for white, black, and Latina women ages 18-44.

How resistance genes spread

Do resistance genes actually originate from the microorganisms producing the antibiotic?

Obesity doubles the risk of high blood pressure in pregnancy

Years of gradual weight gain more than doubles the risk of hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, regardless of whether the woman's body mass index (BMI) was initially categorized as healthy or overweight, according to a new analysis.

Elephants get herpes too

Elephants also have their own spectrum of herpes viruses, with different elephants carrying different strains.

Asian elephants are carriers of virus types1, 4 and 5, while African elephants carry types 2, 3 and 6. Type 1 is particularly dangerous for young Asian elephants and has led to numerous deaths in the wild and in zoos worldwide. In Switzerland as well, three animals have died of "Elephant Herpes" in the last 30 years. How the elephants transmit the disease, however, and how they become infected, has been largely unknown until now.

Epigenetics and DNA methylation: Risk of obesity influenced by changes in our genes

Some changes in DNA, known as epigenetic modifications, control the activity of our genes without changing the actual DNA sequence. One of the main epigenetic modifications is DNA methylation, which plays a key role in embryonic development and the formation of different cell types, regulating when and where genes are switched on. 

Vitamin D supplements don't prevent cardiovascular disease

Vitamin D supplements don't prevent cardiovascular disease

In the last few years, vitamin D has been part of a health craze, with claims of it improving just about every possible health outcome while a lack of it has even been linked to things like autism.

Is it a miracle supplement? Not so fast, Joe Mercola. Another large randomized trial (JAMA Cardiology, April 5, 2017; doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2017.0175) has deflated its growing mythology. A new paper indicates that, despite popular claims, monthly high-dose vitamin D supplementation does not prevent cardiovascular disease.

Common pyrethroid pesticide exposure speeds puberty in boys

Environmental exposure to common pesticides may cause boys to reach sexual maturity earlier, according to a study at the Endocrine Society meeting in Orlando. Previous research found that early puberty increases the risk of diseases in adulthood, for example, testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Early puberty also can stunt growth and cause behavioral problems.

We know metabolism plays a role in cancer development, epigenetics is less clear

Epigenetics claims are all the rage. In the fuzzy world of epidemiology and a shocking lack of understanding about p-values and statistical significance, a whole lot of papers can get published using data that have nothing to say. Epigenetics takes that to another level, with claims that what you eat today could impact the chances of your grandchild getting into Harvard, and more.

Cheese increases breast cancer risk, claims epidemiology paper

A new observational study claims that cheese increases breast cancer risk, while yogurt can lower it. Since both are dairy, that means they would be suggesting a dairy process causes or prevents cancer. The case control study has numerous confounders that will not be noticed by most journalists so media outlets looking for context beware.