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Health Updates 7 June 2012

  • HIV superinfection in Uganda may be more common than previously thought, study finds: “HIV superinfection, when a person with HIV could acquire a second, new strain of HIV, may occur as often as initial HIV infection in the general population in Uganda, a study suggests. Since researchers demonstrated more than a decade ago that a person infected with HIV could subsequently acquire a second, new strain of HIV, there has been little agreement in the scientific community as to how often HIV superinfection occurs.  Previous studies have found HIV superinfection to be relatively frequent among individuals who engaged in high-risk behaviors, but the rate of superinfection in general populations remained unclear.  The new study, supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health, offers some evidence about the likelihood.  In light of the study’s findings, the authors say post-test counseling for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV infection should emphasize the risk of HIV superinfection and the possible health implications of continuing practices that put them at risk for HIV….The investigators were surprised to find that the rate of superinfection was comparable to the current estimated annual rate of new, inital HIV infections…HIV superinfection had been thought to be less common than initial infection.” It is hoped that learning what controls superinfection will lead to new avenues for vaccine research. (NIH News)
  • Evenflo convertible high chairs recalled: “About 35,000 Evenflo convertible high chairs have been recalled because they pose an injury risk to children, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission says.  The activity tray on the chair can unexpectedly detach and cause an unrestrained child to fall.  Evenflo has received 18 reports of trays that detached, including eight reports of children who fell from the high chair and suffered bumps and bruises.  The recall includes high chairs that convert from a high chair to toddler-size table and chair.  The model names and numbers are: Dottie Lime, 29111259, Dottie Rose, 29111271; and Mariana, 29111234.  The chairs were sold at Toys “R” Us and Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com and Wayfair.com between December 2011 and June 2012 for about $40, the CPSC said.  Consumers with these products should stop using them immediately and contact Evenflo (1-800-233-5921) for a replacement tray with installation and use instructions. (HealthDay)
  • Teen drivers drinking less, texting more: “Although many areas of classic risky teen behavior have declined over the past 2o years, new technologies have introduced new risks to adolescent life, a CDC survey showed.  Risk factors associated with auto accident fatalities — which account for one in every three teen deaths annually — declined during the survey period from 1991 to 2011, including not wearing a seat belt and riding in a car with a driver who had been drinking, according to data released Thursday by the CDC.  However, in the first annual measure of technology-associated risks, data from the 2010-2011 survey showed that one in three teens had sent a text or email while driving within 30 days of data collection, and one in six had been bullied online through electronic messaging or social media within 12 months of data collection…’The issue that we’re highlighting is with new technologies,’ said Ruth Shults, PhD, of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control…From 1991 to 2011, there was a 70% drop in the number of students who rode without a seat belt…and a 20% drop in the number of students who had ridden with a driver who had been drinking….there was a 53% drop in the number of students who drove after drinking.  However, despite these improvements, motor vehicle accidents are ‘still the number one cause of death’ among teens.   Shults added that distracted driving was one major risk to young drivers.  The survey showed that nearly 33% of students had texted or sent an email while driving, despite 44 states having passed laws barring those practices for drivers, she said.  Early research has shown that there is no evidence laws reduce the risk of traffic accidents, she added.”  And cyberbullying is another serious health risk facing teens.  It was recommended that healthcare professionals consult teen patients about the risks associated with texting while driving and cyberbullying. (Cole Petrochko, MedPage Today)
  • Health Tip: Easing heel pain: “Heel pain can be triggered by a number of factors, from bone spurs to a ‘fallen’ arch that causes the foot to pronate inward.  The American Podiatric Medical Association offers these suggestions to help ease heel pain:
    • Make sure shoes fit well and have plenty of support in the heel, sole and arch.
    • Wear the correct shoes for each activity.
    • Get rid of shoes with worn soles or heels.
    • Warm up before, cool down after and pace yourself during exercise.
    • Give your body plenty of rest and good nutrition.
    • Lose any excess weight. (HHS/HealthDay)
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