On the basis of the available evidence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and possibly other serious brain anomalies. In a special report published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors checked the existing evidence against the seven Shepard’s Criteria for proof of teratogenicity in humans, concluding that a causal relationship does exist and calling for an intensification of the efforts toward the prevention of adverse outcomes caused by congenital Zika virus infection.
Regular coffee consumption may be inversely associated with risk of colorectal cancer in a dose–response manner. In this study published in the April issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, coffee consumption was associated with 26% lower odds of developing colorectal cancer. The inverse association was also observed for decaffeinated coffee consumption alone and for boiled coffee
Thirty-three researchers and clinicians point out the potential link of infection to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a recently published editorial. They refer to the “many studies, mainly on humans, implicating specific microbes in the elderly brain, notably herpes simplex virus type 1, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and several types of spirochaete, in the etiology of AD.” Despite the wide breadth of supportive evidence, the authors say that topic is often dismissed as controversial, and urge further research on the link of infectious agents to AD including trials of antimicrobial therapy.
On the occasion of World Health Day 2016, WHO issued a call for action on diabetes, drawing attention to the need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease. The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. Factors driving this dramatic rise include overweight and obesity. In 2012 alone diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths. Its complications can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
Image credit: WHO / Eduardo Martino
The prevailing emphasis on long-acting contraception is somewhat misplaced. Women’s decisions about which methods to use are less impactful than their decisions about whether to use contraception at all. Policymakers and practitioners will have the largest effects on fertility outcomes if they can change the behavior of sexually active women who neglect to use birth control when they are not seeking pregnancy.
Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening for prostate cancer is controversial. Experts have suggested more personalized or more conservative strategies to improve benefit-risk tradeoffs, but the value of these strategies—particularly when combined with increased conservative management for low-risk cases—is uncertain. A new study published on JAMA suggests that for PSA screening to be cost-effective, it needs to be used conservatively and ideally in combination with a conservative management approach for low-risk disease.
Today is World TB Day and WHO calls on governments, communities, civil society, and the private sector to “Unite to End TB”. WHO and partners are promoting dialogue and collaboration that unites individuals and communities in new ways to end the tuberculosis (TB) epidemic. 43 million lives were saved through effective diagnosis and treatment, 2000-2014, yet 480,000 people developed multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the world in 2014.
The FDA is warning about several safety issues with the entire class of opioid pain medicines. See the FDA Drug Safety Communication for a complete listing. These safety risks are potentially harmful interactions with numerous other medications, problems with the adrenal glands, and decreased sex hormone levels.