Saturday, July 26, 2014

Testicular cancer rates are increasing more than 3% per year among young Hispanic men, at a time when rates among non-Hispanic white men are remaining steady, according to a new study

Testicular tumors are already among the most common cancers for men between 15 and 39 years old. But they are also among the most curable, with more than 90% of men living at least 10 years after diagnosis. The number of new testicular cancers diagnosed each year ranges from 1.4 for every 100,000 black men to 6.6 per 100,000 white men, with rates for Hispanic men falling in between, at about 4.7 cases per 100,000 men per year. Dr. Rebecca H. Johnson and colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle used a large database from the National Cancer Institute to examine trends in testicular cancer rates in Hispanic and non-Hispanic adolescents and young adults over the past two decades. What they found surprised them: while testicular cancer rates increased by about 3.8% per year among Hispanic men over the most recent 10 years, rates didn’t change at all among non-Hispanic white men. These rates increased in all age groups and across all stages of cancer among Hispanic men up to age 39. But only the group of non-Hispanic white men in their 20s and early 30s showed a significant but much smaller increase. This does not just reflect a general increase in cancer rates among Hispanic adolescents and young adults: the overall cancer rate neither increased nor decreased between 1992 and 2010. Researchers say that they don’t know why testicular cancer rates are increasing among Hispanic adolescents and young adults, but they are concerned that the rate of testicular germ cell tumors among Hispanics may overtake that among non-Hispanic whites if the observed trends persist.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Black Americans are biologically three years older than their white counterparts — a health gap that only grows worse over the years, according to a new study conducted at USC

Researchers analyzed 7,644 Americans aged 30 and older, 11% of whom were black and the rest white, who had filled out lifestyle surveys and undergone physical exams about 20 years ago. The study considered ten biomarkers (including total cholesterol, C-reactive protein, and systolic blood pressure) to figure their "biological age," which came to an average of 53.16 years for blacks and 49.84 years for whites. The age gap grew closer — to 52.72 for blacks and 49.89 for whites — when socioeconomic position and health behaviors were considered, but that's still a 3-year difference.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq's dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement distributed in the militant-controlled city of Mosul

The statement was issued by the Islamic State, the al Qaeda offshoot which led the recent lightning assault to capture swathes of north Iraq. It said that Christians who wanted to remain in the "caliphate" that the Islamic State declared recently in parts of Iraq and Syria must agree to abide by terms of a "dhimma" contract - a historic practice under which non-Muslims were protected in Muslim lands in return for a special levy known as "jizya". "We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword," the announcement was issued in the name of the Islamic State in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh and has been distributed and read out in mosques. It said that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which the group has now named Caliph Ibrahim, had set a deadline for Christians who did not want to stay and live under those terms to "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate". "After this date, there is nothing between us and them but the sword," it said. The Nineveh decree echoes one that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the former name for the Islamic State, issued in the Syrian city of Raqqa in February 2014, demanding that Christians pay the jizya levy in gold and curb displays of their faith in return for protection. The concept of dhimma, governing non-Muslims living under Islamic rule, dates back to the early Islamic era in the seventh century.

A new report offers good and bad news about the AIDS epidemic in the United States: The annual diagnosis rate of HIV, the virus that causes the disease, has dropped by one-third in the general population but has climbed among young gay and bisexual males

Significantly fewer heterosexuals, drug users and women were diagnosed each year with HIV, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the annual diagnosis rate more than doubled for young gay and bisexual males. The diagnosis rate jumped among males aged 13 to 24, suggesting that many gay and bisexual young men aren't using condoms during sex. The number of newly diagnosed cases in that age group rose from about 3,000 to about 7,000.