A summary of important health news from the past week

A stressful pregnancy reduces the chances of having a boy, a study shows

By: Sandee LaMotte

Pregnancies with boys are more vulnerable in utero to mishaps and a recent study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), connects mother’s stress to the vulnerability. While all women in the study had healthy pregnancies, women who had higher blood pressure and other kinds of physical stress had four boys for every nine girls. Yet, women who were mentally stressed had two boys for every three girls. Additionally, physical pressure was more likely to cause premature births while psychological stress influenced birth complications. Social support is important as when there is more social support for a mother, there is a greater chance she has a male baby. Even with the results above, the authors stress that the results can only suggest an association, not establish causation.


‘Milestone’ in polio eradication achieved

By: BBC News

There are three types of the wild polio virus, and experts have announced that two have been officially eradicated. The only one that remains is type 1 and is still present in Afghanistan and Pakistan. While there is no cure, the polio vaccine has been extremely effective, decreasing the rates of polio by 99% since the late 80s. Nonetheless, experts urge that countries must continue to keep strong immunization systems and continue surveillance to prevent type 2 and 3 polio from re-emerging. Besides eradicating polio type 1 globally, addressing vaccine-derived polio is also crucial. The latter is occurring 12 countries, in areas with poor sanitation, and where vaccine coverage is low.


By: Anahad O’Connor

The link between added sugars and chronic health issues such as diabetes and obesity is a popular area of study. Recently, hospitals and medical centers around the United States have stopped selling drinks with added sugar in attempts to reduce obesity and diabetes occurrence. A new study done at the University of California, San Francisco, has documented the health impacts of a soda sales ban on its employees. Ten months after the sales ban, U.C.S.F. E employees who usually drank a lot of sugary beverages had cut their daily consumption by almost half. At the end of the study, on average, participants decreased their waist sizes and belly fat and those who cut back on sugary beverages tended to see improvements in insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes. 

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