Health Buzz: Coffee May Lower Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer and Other Health News

Teenage brains really are different; boys miss out on sex ed talks with parents.

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Coffee May Lower Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Coffee may protect against a particularly dangerous form of prostate cancer, Bloomberg reports. And the more coffee, the larger the benefit, Harvard researchers found. A new study followed 50,000 men over 20 years; those who drank six cups or more a day reduced their risk of developing aggressive cancer by 60 percent, according to Bloomberg. Men who drank one to three cups a day had a 20 percent lower risk than men who did not drink coffee. The research is the first to find a link between coffee and prostate cancer prevention, though the relationship was not seen in cases where the cancer was less aggressive, Bloomberg reports. Researchers presented their findings—which need to be confirmed by other research—at a conference of the American Association for Cancer Research.

[Read Coming: Vaccine That Fights Prostate Cancer and The PSA Test: 7 Reasons It Still Matters.]

Psychologist Wins $1 Million for Showing That Teenage Brains Really Are Different

Teenage brains and behavior are worth $1 million—at least to a researcher who has been trying to figure out why teenagers do such dumb things, particularly when they're hanging out together, U.S. News contributor Nancy Shute reports.

Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist at Temple University in Philadelphia, won the $1 million Klaus J. Jacobs Research Prize on December 3 for his study of teenage brains and behavior. In the past five years, scientists have made huge progress in understanding that adolescent brains are very different from the adult version. The brain regions that control impulsivity and executive function are not fully developed in teens.

Steinberg's work has played a key role in expanding our understanding that physiology drives some of teenagers' illogical or risky decisions, Shute writes. For instance, in 2005, Steinberg showed that teens taking a simulated driving test were twice as likely to drive dangerously if they had two friends with them as they would if driving alone. Brain scans later showed that reward centers in the teenagers' brains lit up more if they were told that friends were watching them, a pattern not seen in adults. He's now studying how adolescents and adults respond to the influence of their peers when they make decisions and how their brain activity differs when they do. Read more.

[Read How to Deploy the Amazing Power of the Teen Brain and 7 Ways to Learn More Without More Study.]

Boys Miss Out on Sex Education Talks With Parents

Parents are all too often failing to talk with their teenagers about sex before the teens become sexually active, a new survey shows. Almost half of teenagers had intercourse before their parents got around to talking with them about sexually transmitted diseases and birth control. And boys are more likely to miss out on the conversation, according to a U.S. News report.

Nearly two thirds of teenage boys surveyed said their parents had not talked to them about using condoms before they became sexually active, while about 25 percent of parents and their daughters said they hadn't talked about how to resist pressure to have sex. Girls were more likely than boys to have had talks with parents about sex, except when the topic covered some aspect of male physiology, such as wet dreams. But still, about 40 percent of girls had intercourse before talking with their parents about how to choose a form of birth control. Mark Schuster, one of the study's authors, gives his advice on how parents can do better at having conversations with children about sexuality. Read more.

[Read Sex Talk—More Is Better and Sex Ed for Parents—at the Office.]

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