"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hold on to Your Testicles 

Another reason not to get The Chop: it seems that vasectomy may be related to an increased risk of primary progressive aphasia and of frontotemporal dementia. The case-control study found that men with PPA were 2.5 times as likely to have had vasectomies than men without PPA, so much more study is needed to see if this is a real cause-effect situation, but seriously boys - just use a condom!

Speaking of side-effects, it appears that yet another rotavirus vaccine may be causing intussusception in infants. The data are really preliminary - by which I mean non-existent - at this point, and don't really say what el Wapo seems to want them to say (that parents should be scared of the vaccine, which will be the only outcome of this article), but if there's any truth to it it would be both unfortunate (as rotavirus kills a higher percentage of babies than intussusception) and interesting (because why is this side-effect so prevalent for vaccines for this disease?).

Another drug in trouble is Ketek (telithromycin), a potent antibiotic approved a few years ago, to much protest from patient groups, for bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia. Ketek has such severe side-effects, particularly liver damage, vision loss, and fainting, that FDA has moved (under pressure from Congress) to limit its use to community-acquired pneumonia, with stronger labeling. I was on this drug once, and gotta say, it was not pleasant.

Second-hand smoke also appears to have more side-effects than predicted. A UK study has found that people exposed to second-hand smoke had higher cardiovascular risk factors than did unexposed. Much as I hate them philosophically, those bar-smoking bans are really good for health.

Finally, a double-whammy. Certain alleles of the ApoE gene are known to increase your risk of Alzheimer's. The catch is, they seem also to make you more likely, as a newborn, to develop cerebral palsy. Interesting.

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