Health Buzz: Circumcision Cuts HPV Risk

How to restart a workout routine after a break; stress may be behind your infertility.


Circumcision Lowers Women's Cervical Cancer Risk

Circumcision may help protect wives and girlfriends from a virus that causes cervical cancer. Researchers analyzing data from two clinical trials in Uganda found that men whose foreskin had been removed were less likely to have spread human papillomavirus, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Lancet. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and can also lead to genital warts and cancers of the anus, head, and neck. Over a two-year period, the infection rate was 28 percent lower for women who had sex with circumcised men than for those with uncircumcised partners. Although the study involved men in an African country, the findings support previous observational studies in the United States, where the practice has sharply declined in recent years; by one estimate, fewer than a third of male infants now are circumsised. "There's no doubt that male circumcision provides a certain degree of protection against sexually transmitted diseases," study coauthor Thomas Quinn, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told ABC News. "Male circumcision needs to be reevaluated by leading health authorities as to its true public health benefit, not just to men but to future female partners." Past research suggests that circumcision also lowers the risk of HIV, herpes, and genital ulcer disease, among other conditions. Protection is only partial, however, and the study authors stress that practicing safe sex remains important.

  • Circumcision: The Flap Over Foreskin Continues
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  • How to Restart a Workout Routine After a Break

    Nothing says January like resolving to head back to the gym. But whether you merely paused your fitness regimen for the holidays or you're committing to regular exercise for the first time in months, it can be tough to get back on track, fitness blogger Chelsea Bush writes for U.S. News.

    Don't start spending in the name of fitness, though. Buying fancy fitness gadgets or joining an expensive gym isn't your ticket to a fitter body—at least not initially. A successful fitness program starts with your mind, not your wallet, according to wellness coach Rania Batayneh, who works with clients in San Francisco and Portland. Certain tricks can help get your head in the game, fast.

    For example, reshape your behavior. "Everyone sets New Year's resolutions. The problem is most people don't make them realistic enough," says Batayneh. A realistic goal is one that's more about creating a healthier outlook than working your way down a to-do list. If you focus on making behavioral changes before piecing together the details of your workout regimen, Batayneh says you're more likely to achieve your goals. [Read more: How to Restart Your Workout Routine After a Break.]

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    • Can't Get Pregnant? How Stress May Be Causing Your Infertility

      There are women who get pregnant easily even if they smoke like a chimney, drink a six-pack after dinner, and think of exercise as a waste of good texting time. Then there are the women who do all the right things but months and years pass and the strip from the kit refuses to change color. Relax, say well-meaning friends. Chill out. Let it happen. Gee, thanks, thinks the beneficiary of their insight, gritting her teeth.

      But as unwelcome as the advice may be, it may be right. Evidence suggests that stress does affect fertility, U.S. News's Megan Johnson reports. A recent study found that women with high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that correlates with stress, have a harder time getting pregnant. Saliva samples taken from 274 women over six menstrual cycles (or until they got pregnant) revealed that those with the highest enzyme concentrations during the first cycle were 12 percent less likely to conceive than were women with the lowest levels.

      What's more, women involved in the study, published in August in the journal Fertility and Sterility, had no prior record of infertility. Participants were either planning to get pregnant or had been trying for less than three months. [Read more: Can't Get Pregnant? How Stress May Be Causing Your Infertility.]