- Fertility Treatments Offer Little Benefit For Some Couples
- Circumcision May Reduce Risk of HIV Infection by 65 Percent
- Gum Disease May Increase Risk of Diabetes
- HIV Testing Rates Leveling Off
- Health Premiums Have Doubled Since 1996
- Remedial Instruction Helps Dyslexic Children
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
Fertility Treatments Offer Little Benefit For Some Couples
The infertility drug clomifene citrate and artificial insemination do little to help certain couples who can't have children naturally, according to Scottish researchers.
Their study included 580 couples who had no obvious reasons for their inability to conceive. The couples were divided into three groups and received either the drug, artificial insemination, or no treatment. There was little difference between the three groups in the numbers of women who had babies, the Associated Press reported.
Women in the clomifene citrate group had 26 babies, compared to 32 babies in the no-treatment group and 43 babies in the artificial insemination group. The findings appear in the British Medical Journal.
"These treatments are a leap of faith," said lead author Dr. Siladitya Bhattacharya, a professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Aberdeen, the AP reported. "None of the treatments studied had any significant benefit over no treatment at all."
Circumcision May Reduce Risk of HIV Infection by 65 Percent
Circumcision may offer men greater protection against HIV than previously thought, according to a study that included 2,784 Kenyan men who were uncircumcised and HIV-free when they enrolled in the trial. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
Half of the men were circumcised at the start of the study. After two years, circumcised men were 60 percent less likely to contract HIV than uncircumcised men, Agence France-Presse reported.
The protective benefit was deemed so great that, after two years, the uncircumcised men were offered circumcision.
"The 60 percent protective effect against HIV acquisition ... over the first 24 months of the study, we now find to be sustained and possibly strengthened to approximately 65 percent over three and half years of follow-up," said study author Robert Bailey, of the University of Illinois at Chicago, AFP reported.
The findings were presented Thursday at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.
Gum Disease May Increase Risk of Diabetes
Gum disease may be an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, according to a Columbia University study that included more than 9,000 people who didn't have diabetes at the start of the study.
The researchers examined the risk of developing diabetes over 20 years among participants with varying degrees of gum disease. They found that people with higher degrees of gum disease were nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes, United Press International reported.
That finding held true even after the researchers adjusted for other diabetes-related factors such as age, smoking, obesity, diet and high blood pressure. The study appears in the journal Diabetes Care.
"These data add a new twist to the association (between diabetes and gum disease) and suggest that periodontal disease may be there before diabetes," lead author Ryan T. Demmer said in a news release, UPI reported.
HIV Testing Rates Leveling Off
In 2006, 40.4 percent (71.5 million) of American adults said they had been tested for HIV at some time, a new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis finds..
About 10.4 percent of adults said they were tested for HIV in the preceding year. Of those, 83 percent were tested in a health care setting.
The analysis of National Health Interview Survey data shows that after several years of steady increases in HIV testing, rates leveled off between 2001 and 2006. The analysis was published Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Early diagnosis of HIV infection is critical and can allow infected people to obtain life-extending medical treatment, the study's authors noted. Since 2006, the CDC has recommended that voluntary HIV screening become a routine part of medical care for all people between the ages of 13 and 64. More than 250,000 HIV-positive Americans don't know they're infected, the agency says.