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Healthy living: Health briefs

Stop the presses! Sex is on the increase! At least according to the latest tell-all National Probability Sample (NPS), recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Special to the Tri-State Defender
from Healthy Living News

What’s happening in America’s bedrooms?

Stop the presses! Sex is on the increase! At least according to the latest tell-all National Probability Sample (NPS), recently published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The NPS is a national survey on the bedroom escapades of Americans, age 14-94. Its sexual snapshots of 5800 Americans leave little to the imagination with data on sexual behavior, condom and contraception use, even sex toys! The last NPS was done in the 1980’s.

The new survey shows that American sexual behavior continues to evolve. NPS researchers believe its due to recent advances in treating HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), to changes in social attitudes about sexual orientation, and the Internet becoming an accepted alternative for enhancing real-world sexual relations.

So for Americans and sex, the times keep a-changing.

What you don’t see can hurt you

DLGenital herpes, or HSV-2, is one of the most commonly transmitted STDs. One common belief about HSV-2 is that if you have it but have no symptoms, then you can’t infect others. But a new study published in JAMA suggests otherwise.

For 16 years, the study checked genital secretions of 498 infected individuals for signs of active HSV-2. Active virus was detected 20 percent of the time in those with symptoms (2 out of every 10 days). But virus was also detected about 10 percent of the time in those who showed no symptoms (every 1 out of 10 days). So even without genital or anal herpes blisters and sores, the study showed that HSV-2 can still be active and infectious.

Unfortunately, only 10 percent-25 percent of persons with genital herpes are currently diagnosed. In fact, HSV-2 is most often spread by people who don’t even know they have it. So ask your doctor about regular testing. And to reduce the risk of getting HSV-2 don’t forget to practice safe sex.

Hairdo Don’ts

There may be some hair don’ts for certain hairdos. For example, a study was just published in the Archives of Dermatology about a problem among older African-American women, the permanent baldness condition known as “Central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia” (CCCA). The study showed CCCA may be related to both diabetes and the scalp inflammation and scarring caused by certain hair styles.

Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic surveyed 326 African-American women on their medical and hair grooming histories. CCCA and signs of scalp scarring were seen in more than half (59 percent). Among that group, type 2 diabetes was significantly higher— linking it to CCCA baldness.

But hair-grooming practices such hair weaves and braiding also seemed to contribute to CCCA. That is because they are frequently worn for long periods of time, often to hide hair loss the study noted. That can irritate the scalp, leading to infections and even more scarring and baldness.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced another hair don’t. Don’t use some hair straightening products. That is because, when used, they can release dangerous levels of formaldehyde gas into the air. One product, Brazilian Blowout, was taken off the market for doing just that. In fact, even though Brazilian Blowout was labeled “formaldehyde-free,” its formaldehyde concentration was 10 percemt, far exceeding the legal levels of .2 percent. And that was only discovered after an Oregon hair stylist reported developing nosebleeds, eye irritation, and breathing problems when using it.

But there are still other beauty products out there that can be risky to use. That is because they often use chemicals that, when heated, also release formaldehyde into the air. These chemicals include methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, among others. By any other name, though, they can still be dangerous.

To make sure you and your favorite beauty salon are minimizing exposure to air born toxic chemicals, go to www.osha.gov.

Your very own bacteria

And speaking of unpleasant fumes, some people with bad breath seem to be infected with their very own, personal, stanky skanky bacteria. According to research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, this chronic bad breath is the curse that just keeps on stinking.

From close range, fearless researchers took saliva samples of 240 “healthy, clean-living people” with chronic bad breath. They discovered that especially noxious bacterias, producing a sulfur-like stench, were making themselves at home in their “healthy, clean-living” mouths.

The treatment? More brushing and flossing and a potent mouthwash. That to create a less hospitable environment for the little critters who are a mouthful we can all do without.

Docs on the Take?

Is your doc a recipient of drug company money? You can find out thanks to ProPublica’s recently updated online database of docs receiving pharmaceutical payments for services rendered.

The payments to docs from drug companies covered speaking fees, meals, travel and other “services”.  Keep in mind that there may be legitimate reasons for doctors to receive these payments. They may be performing useful services like educating other health care providers and patients about new drugs, devices and medical procedures they know a lot about. Or they get paid educating others on diseases and health conditions they have experience treating.

Many doctors believe there are no strings attached to such arrangements. But the drug companies still hope for something in return. Often they get it, according to a recent NPR investigation. It showed that, to recruit doctors, drug companies had docs consider themselves “thought leaders” – an appeal to their ego and vanity. They also targeted docs with lots of patients and who wrote lots of prescriptions. Once they were reeled in, according to the report, docs were prescribing the company’s drugs without being aware of it. To see if your doc gets Big Pharma dollars for services rendered, go to pro­publica.org.

Booty call accessories: There’s an app for that

Ok, you’re about to get lucky with some dreamboat and you want be responsible and play safe. But neither of you have a condom! Well, don’t panic, Romeo, because getting them just got easier thanks to the “find a condom” phone app.

Available for both the iPhone or Android, it shows you where you can get condoms in cities such as New York, D.C., Philly, Paris. The app works using GPS, or by typing in your address, which directs you to the nearest location for getting what you need for that magical encounter.


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