Better Mumps Vaccine Needed?
The United States experienced its worst outbreak of the mumps in two decades in 2006, reports the New England Journal of Medicine. There were more than 6,500 cases that year, with most concentrated in the Midwest and more than three quarters of cases reported between March and May. Eighty-five patients required hospitalizations; none died. "A more effective mumps vaccine or changes in vaccine policy may be needed to avert future outbreaks and achieve the elimination of mumps," the authors wrote. Mumps had been mostly unheard of in the United States since the 1990s, reports The New York Times, when children began receiving a second dose of the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine. Most of those affected by the 2006 outbreak had received both doses of the vaccine. Still, the authors noted, the outbreak could have been worse.
Diabetes and Alzheimer's Risk
Developing diabetes by middle age may increase your risk of Alzheimer's disease, according to a new Swedish study. Researchers studied nearly 2,300 men who had glucose testing at age 50 and were then followed for 32 years. Of those, 102 developed Alzheimer's disease, 57 were diagnosed with vascular dementia, and 235 ended up with other types of dementia or cognitive impairment. Those who had low insulin--a hallmark of diabetes--when tested at age 50 were more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than men who didn't have low insulin, according to the study, which was published online yesterday in the journal Neurology.
"Our results suggest a link between insulin problems and the origins of Alzheimer's disease and emphasize the importance of insulin in normal brain function," said study author Elina Ronnemaa, of Uppsala University, in a statement to HealthDay. "It's possible that insulin problems damage blood vessels in the brain, which leads to memory problems and Alzheimer's disease, but more research is needed to identify the exact mechanisms."
For more information on diabetes and Alzheimer's, visit the U.S. News Diabetes Center and the Alzheimer's Disease Center.
Facial Expressions and Sexual Attitudes
Might it be possible to gauge a person's attitude toward sex just by looking at his or her face? Young adults may be able to, according to a study of people in their 20s who looked at pictures of the faces of members of the opposite sex and were asked to judge their sexual attitudes and attractiveness. Men tended to like women who they believed were open to short-term sexual relationships, and women liked men who they thought would be good for long-term relationships, reports the study, published in the current issue of Evolution in Human Behavior. Seventy-two percent of study participants in one sample correctly identified sexual attitudes more than half the time.
Pregnancy, Your Weight, and Job Discrimination
In 28 states, employers can legally inquire about marital status and childcare responsibilities and make hiring decisions for employment based on the answers-- even though federal law prohibits them from rejecting a candidate based solely on gender, reports Deborah Kotz. Find tips for how to deal with job discrimination in the U.S. News On Women blog.
A Closer Look at the Autism-Vaccines Link
Without laying blame, the independent Office of Special Masters of the Court of Federal Claims-- with a 20-year record of handling vaccine matters-- recently conceded that the brain damage and autistic behavior of Hannah Poling stemmed from her exposure as a toddler to five vaccinations on one day in July 2000, reports Dr. Bernadine Healy. Two days later, she was overtaken by a high fever and an encephalopathy that deteriorated into autistic behavior. Even though autism has a strong genetic basis, and Hannah has a coexisting rare mitochondrial disorder, Healy argues in On Health that the medical community should not be too quick to dismiss the girl as an anomaly.