Major study: hydroxyurea reduces sickle cell mortality by 40 percent

In 1995, U.S. researchers published results of a major multi-center study showing that the compound hydroxyurea could cut in half the number of severe painful episodes patients with sickle cell anemia experience.
Now, an extension of that study shows that not only do patients on hydroxyurea have fewer crises, but they also have a significant survival advantage when compared to similarly affected patients who do not take the medication. Subjects treated with it overall showed 40 percent lower mortality than others.

Estrogen plus progestin not helpful to quality of life in postmenopausal women

Taking a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin does not improve the quality of life for women who are free of menopause-related symptoms, but does expose them to a slightly higher risk of heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer, a new multi-center national study concludes. For that reason, medical scientists now recommend against the combined therapy in the absence of such symptoms.

HIV-positive inmates say often have unprotected sex before, after release

Inmates infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, engaged in unprotected sex both before imprisonment and after their release at “exceedingly high rates,” according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine study. Seventy-eight percent of N.C. men and women prisoners carrying the virus who had a main sex partner reported unprotected sex with that person in the year before they were locked up, the study showed. Twenty-six percent of them interviewed again soon after release admitted to already having sex without condoms with their main sex partners.

Black Americans especially mistrustful of medical research

If medical scientists sometimes find it hard to recruit enough volunteers — especially blacks — to participate in research studies, there may be a good reason, a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows. A surprisingly high percentage of Americans asked — almost 80 percent of blacks and 52 percent of whites — were suspicious that they might be used as “guinea pigs” without their consent

Nearness of markets boosts people’s intake of nutritious fruits and vegetables

Black Americans’ fruit and vegetable intake increased by 32 percent for each additional supermarket in the neighborhoods where they lived, according to a new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health study. White Americans’ fruit and vegetable consumption increased by 11 percent with the presence of one or more supermarket in their neighborhoods, the study showed. “We don’t know why we saw a larger influence of supermarkets on the diets of black Americans compared to white Americans,” said Dr. Kimberly Morland of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. “Based on our previous research showing a lack of private transportation in predominately black neighborhoods, we suspect that white Americans may have a larger geographic area in which to select places to patronize.

Acidic aerosols greatly increase secondary aerosol formation

Atmospheric particles that become acidic through exposure to such pollutants as sulfuric acid can lead to vast increases in the formation of secondary organic aerosols, a new study indicates. Such aerosols are major components of the unsightly haze that hangs over cities and oil refineries and even affects otherwise pristine U.S. national parks.