- To Fight HIV, U.S. May Urge Circumcision for Baby Boys: Report
- Most U.S. Doctors Have Racial Bias: Study
- Workplace Suicides Increase in U.S.: Report
- First U.S. Rehab Center for Internet Addicts Opens
- U.S. Officials Back Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by editors of HealthDay:
To Fight HIV, U.S. May Urge Circumcision for Baby Boys: Report
In an effort to help control the spread of the AIDS-causing HIV virus, U.S. health officials are weighing whether to promote routine circumcision for all baby boys born in the country.
The topic is sure to be controversial, even though proposed recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aren't expected until the end of the year, The New York Times reported.
Also under consideration is whether the surgery should be recommended for heterosexual men whose sexual practices make them risky candidates for infection. But health officials already know that such a recommendation would probably not have a significant impact in the United States because the surgery doesn't seem to protect those men at greatest risk in the country -- gay men, the newspaper said.
Studies in African countries hit hard by AIDS have shown that men who were circumcised reduced their chances of infection by 50 percent. But the African trials focused on heterosexual men at risk of HIV infection from infected female partners, the Times said.
For the time being, U.S. health officials seem to be focusing on recommendations for newborns -- a strategy that would take years to pay health-care dividends. Critics of circumcision say it subjects baby boys to medically unnecessary surgery without their consent, the newspaper said.
Most U.S. Doctors Have Racial Bias: Study
Like most Americans, doctors have a subconscious preference for whites over blacks, a bias that may affect the health care given to minority patients, suggests a new study.
Researchers analyzed data collected from 2,535 medical doctors of both sexes and diverse racial groups who took a test that measured race attitudes. Overall, doctors showed an implicit preference for whites over blacks, with the exception of black doctors, who tended not to favor either racial group.
The doctors were among 404,277 people who took the test. The majority of them displayed the same sort of preference for whites over blacks. The study appears in the August issue of the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
While bias is common in the general population, people aren't "racist" if they "hold an implicit bias," according to lead author Janice Sabin, an acting assistant professor in the Department of Medical Education and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Washington.
"The implicit bias effect among all the test-takers is very strong," Sabin said in a news release. "People who report they have a medical education are not different from other people, and this kind of unconscious bias is a common phenomenon."
"The biggest take home is that medical doctors are similar to others, that unconscious attitudes and stereotypes may affect quality of care, and that increased self-awareness may be one way to address any effects unconscious attitudes may have on behaviors that lead to health care disparities," she said.
Workplace Suicides Increase in U.S.: Report
Tough economic conditions may have contributed to a 28 percent rise in workplace suicides in the United States last year as employees struggled with layoffs and survivor's guilt, a new federal report says.
A Labor Department preliminary report released Thursday said there were 251 workplace suicides in 2008, the highest number ever recorded.
"Those who are at places where there have been substantial layoffs are trying to cope with survivor's guilt," Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University, told the Associated Press. "I also think there's tremendous anxiety in the American workplace. It's not just being anxious, it's being depressed."