Christina Applegate Reveals Plans for Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Actress Christina Applegate revealed yesterday that she had a double mastectomy three weeks ago to remove a tumor in one breast and to prevent future tumors in the other. Speaking on ABC's Good Morning America, Applegate said she plans to have breast reconstruction several months down the road. Applegate, 36, tested positive for the BRCA-1 breast cancer gene mutation and thus found out she had an 87 percent likelihood of developing the illness, Deborah Kotz reports. Men, too, can pass on the gene—and can even inherit it, putting them at higher risk of breast cancer. Applegate and other female gene carriers also have a 44 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Obesity Rates Up in 37 States
Obesity rates in adults increased in 37 states in the last year, according to an annual report released jointly yesterday by the nonprofit Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The rates went up for a second consecutive year in 24 states and for a third consecutive year in 19 states. There were no decreases reported in any state. More than 25 percent of adults are obese in 28 states, up from 19 states last year. And more than 20 percent of adults are obese in every state except Colorado. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate greater than 20 percent. Eleven of the 15 states with the highest obesity rates are in the South. Northeastern and western states have the lowest obesity rates.
In May, U.S. News's Katherine Hobson explored whether blaming people for being fat can help curb obesity. Earlier, Sarah Baldauf wrote about making sense of her own body fat, and she explained how damaging body fat can be.
Cellphone Ringtone Promotes Safe Sex
A cellphone ringtone in India promotes safe sex by singing, "condom, condom!" Condoms have a social stigma in India, where 2.5 million people have HIV. The ringtone features a professional singer chanting "condom" more than 50 times, which public health workers hope will encourage discussion about safe sex and urge social acceptance of condoms, the Associated Press reports. The ringtone was developed by the BBC World Service Trust India, which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. So far, it has been downloaded 60,000 times since the August 8 launch.
In June, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in false positives on certain oral fluid tests, U.S. News offered a caution about rapid HIV tests.
New Law to Help Protect Kids From Dangerous Products
Last week, President Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, the biggest effort in the past 30 years to protect children from dangerous toys and products. This comes after a horrendous 2007, when millions of children's toys were recalled for containing toxic amounts of lead, potentially lethal magnets, and other hazards, Nancy Shute reports. The new law bans lead from toys and children's products, requires independent testing of toys and other products before they're sold, creates an online database for the reporting of dangerous kids' products, and bans certain types of phthalates from plastic toys.
—January W. Payne