Two popular fertility treatments fall short
A new study casts doubt on the use of two common infertility treatments—clomifene citrate and artificial insemination—for couples struggling to conceive, the Associated Press reports. Scottish doctors compared the two treatments against doing nothing among 580 couples. Neither artificial insemination nor clomifene citrate, a drug that stimulates the ovaries to release eggs, significantly improved fertility. "These treatments are a leap of faith," Siladitya Bhattacharya, a professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Aberdeen and the study's lead author, told the AP. Neither of the treatments studied had any significant benefit over no treatment at all, he said.
Last year, U.S. News's Deborah Kotz explored how to eat right to get pregnant.
Omega-3s: From Fish Oil to Medicine
U.S. News Health Editor Bernadine Healy argues that western diets run woefully low on omega-3 fatty acids. The deficiency of these healthy fats, found primarily in oily fish, significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death. Additionally, mounting evidence suggests omega-3 shortages contribute to problems as disparate as premature birth, neurological disorders, mental illness, autoimmune disease, obesity, and certain cancers. Raising omega-3s could be as important to public health as lowering cholesterol, Healy writes. There is good news, however, if you're not a fish lover: Omega-3 is now available as both a prescription drug and as a dietary supplement.
Earlier this month, U.S. News's Sarah Baldauf explained 11 easy ways people can load up on omega-3 fats. She also explored whether the ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s matters to health.
CDC: Men Adopting Kids More Than Women
More men than women tend to adopt children, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study released yesterday. Using data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, the report showed that men ages 18 to 44 were more than twice as likely as women in the same age group to adopt a child. The report did not offer reasons behind the numbers, but one suggestion is that men are adopting their partner's children from a previous relationship.
Earlier this week, U.S. New's On Parenting Columnist Nancy Shute offered five ways to be a positive parent. Shute also covered good parenting skills in a June special report called Good Parents, Bad Results.
PSA Tests Biased Against Obese Men, New Study Says
A researcher from Duke University tells U.S. News that doctors may be missing prostate cancers in obese men because PSA levels among that group can appear deceptively low. Normally, physicians consider a level above 4.0 nanograms per milliliter of blood worrisome and order a biopsy. For obese men, because of their increased blood volume, the level of concern should actually be about 3.4 ng/mL, says Stephen Freedland, a urologist at Duke University Medical Center. Freedland, an advocate of PSA screening, is the lead author of a study published today in BJU International that shows men diagnosed with prostate cancer via a PSA test, as opposed to a digital rectal exam, tend to have more advanced cancers.
A U.S. News article published earlier this week explained how 9 types of men can approach PSA screening in the aftermath of new guidelines from an influential public health group that questioned the value of the test for older men.
- Adam Voiland