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Health Updates 18 August 2011

  • Is it a myth that birth control pills cause weight gain? “As it turns out, there’s never been convincing evidence that the  pill in any of its forms provokes weight gain.  Another recent review paper found little evidence of weight gain among users of progestin-only pills, and a similar study from 2008 likewise failed to find any connection between weight gain and pills that contain progestin and estrogen.  Some studies hint that the pill might even have the opposite effect.  According to a 1997 study, users of birth control pills have a basal metabolic rate almost 5 percent higher than people who have never used the pill, and a small 2009 trial concluded that the pill reduced body fat in women who took it.” (Slate)
  • German researchers train dogs to reliably sniff lung cancer: “They were successful 71% of the time.  The researchers showed the dogs were not getting confused by chemicals associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or smoking.” (BBC)
  • Malpractice: many claims but few big paydays: “Over the course of a career, most physicians will face at least one malpractice claim, but the likelihood of litigation is much greater for neurosurgeons than it is for psychiatrists – and about three out of every four malpractice claims are resolved with no payment to the plaintiffs, researchers found.  Among specialties with a high risk of malpractice – usually surgical specialties – nearly all physicians (99%) will have a malpractice claim by the time they turn 65….even among the lower-risk specialties, 75% of physicians will have a malpractice claim before reaching retirement age…”. (Todd Neale, MedPage Today)
  • Study finds young blacks do poorly on kidney dialysis: “Young African-Americans do much worse on kidney dialysis than their white counterparts, and more should be referred for transplants instead of staying on the blood-filtering process indefinitely, a new study says.”  All the more reason for organ donors to step up! (St. Petersburg Times)
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