HPV

The HPV vaccine has been the subject of some controversy in the United States. Some public health officials (and pharmaceutical companies) would like the vaccine to be mandatory, but since the recommended age is pre-teen, some parents fear this sends a bad message about sexual activity in an already over-sexualized culture.

Both sides make flawed arguments. The bottom line is the vaccine prevents cancer.

Human papillomavirus is definitely a scourge. It causes 99% of cervical cancers in women, and it is also behind an increase in head and neck cancers, mostly in younger white people (i.e., those in their 40s and 50s). While...

Every year, the recommended childhood and adolescent vaccine schedules are reviewed, adjusted and approved by the following governing bodies:  American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP),  and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

The 2017 revisions are now published for those 0 to 18 years of age with some of the recent changes listed here—see “notes” section for accessing complete information:

Meningococcal Conjugate Vaccine

This vaccine protects against certain strains of the...

HPV—Human Papillomavirus— is a frequently overshadowed sexually transmitted infection when the topic of STDs hits the spotlight. This is unfortunate as HPV impacts an estimated 79 million Americans currently infected. (1) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports “every year approximately 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by cancers caused by HPV.” (2)

Due to the existence of many strains of HPV, the result of infection can lead to health issues like genital warts or an array of oropharyngeal (aka oral and throat) and anogenital (aka anus, vulva, cervical, vagina, penis) cancers. Many infected are unaware of their status and naturally clear the virus on...

You may have noticed a number of headlines referencing the “Tree Man” from Bangladesh with claims he is “cured” after 16 operations for his rare genetic disorder that transformed his hands and feet into bark-like warts and cutaneous horns.  

Also called Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV), this debilitating, heritable condition is often referred to as “Tree Man Illness” or “Tree Man Syndrome.” Though it manifests throughout the body via innumerable abnormal growths on the skin, it is considered to be caused by a genetic impairment that triggers a defect in a person’s cell-mediated immunity.  

More than 200 cases have been reported since it was first described in 1922 by two dermatologists, hence, its other name “Lewandowsky Lutz Dysplasia.” (1) Most present in childhood...

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their annual Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report which reflects record highs in the three most commonly reported conditions in the United States in 2015 (in the following order of descending rate of increase in cases):  primary and secondary syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

It is estimated there are 20 million new STDs in the U.S. every year with 50% representing those 15-24 years of age (chlamydia and gonorrhea tend to be highest in this population).  Because not all cases are properly diagnosed or reported —in conjunction with other STDs like herpes and human papillomavirus, for example, it is assumed this is an underestimation of the actual burden.  There were previous declines, but 2015 was...

The benefits of circumcision

In recent years, circumcision has become a prickly issue. Protesters smear fake blood on their pants*, decrying "genital mutilation." They declare that a man should make the choice for himself when he comes of age. 

As with most politicized topics, science gets quickly drowned out by activists' hyperbole and exaggeration. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for instance, says that the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, though it falls short of giving the procedure a blanket endorsement. Never mind the scientific consensus, activists retort. This is merely evidence of systemic bias among American medical doctors.

A more evidence-based opinion...

Women's health

Roughly 1 in 3 women douche, but there is no good health reason to do so. Many women believe that douching will clean their vaginas or eliminate unpleasant odors, but that isn't true. Any benefits from douching are merely temporary. The downsides, however, are substantial. Douching can change the makeup of the bacteria that normally live in the vagina, and it can even make women more susceptible to STDs. 

Now, researchers have added another concern: Douching appears to increase the risk of infection with HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes cervical cancer. 

Researchers hailing mostly from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center assessed the relationship between...

148559465A new study published in JAMA Oncology has, for the first time, proven that the human papillomavirus, long known to be closely associated with numerous other cancers, is a cause of oropharyngeal cancers which occur in the soft regions of the throat, like the palate and tonsillar areas and head and neck cancers.

The proof came via a simple, yet elegant method.

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx N.Y., used oral rinses supplied by 97,000 people (part of two large study...

Cervix cellsYesterday, we called attention to the introduction of a new, broader-spectrum HPV vaccine, while also bemoaning the fact that this cancer-prevention modality, although proven safe and effective, is not being used at optimal levels. Today, we learn of new reports of the benefits of HPV vaccination in terms of reduced incidence of HPV-related cervical cancers and pre-cancers.

There have been "large and uniform" reductions in the...

HPV vaccine one-shot now!A multi-center study evaluating the immune response to a new type of HPV vaccine among 3,066 girls and boys aged 9-15 confirmed prior results among women aged 16-26: the vaccine provokes appropriate immune response, and is safe.

Study participants came from 17 countries and were required to be sexually inexperienced and without prior HPV vaccination. Researchers from 9 different countries did the analysis, led by Dr. Pierre Van Damme from Antwerp, Belgium, along with...