Daily Rounds: Teen Oral Sex Reconsidered; Blood Pressure Meds Examined; Gates Rates Toilets; Heroin And The Immune System

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Sex Life Of Teenagers Is Subject Of Study (The New York Times) — “There’s been a perception for many years that there’s some kind of epidemic of oral sex among teens,” said Leslie Kantor, vice president for education of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who was not involved in the study. “If nothing else, this data provides a realistic sense of the numbers.” Rates of oral sex among teenagers have been dropping over the past 10 years, as they have been for intercourse too, according to the C.D.C. In 2002, about 55 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds reported having engaged in oral sex. Between 2006 and 2010, that number dropped to 48 percent for boys and 46 percent for girls."

Most People Who Take Blood Pressure Medicine Possibly Shouldn't (Slate) — "A new study is turning decades of medical dogma on its head. A panel of independent experts reports this week that drugs used to treat mild cases of high blood pressure have not been shown to reduce heart attacks, strokes, or overall deaths. Most of the 68 million patients in the United States with high blood pressure have mild, or Stage 1, hypertension, defined as a systolic (top number) value of 140-159 or a diastolic (bottom number) value of 90-99. The new review suggests that many patients with hypertension are overtreated—they are subjected to the possible harms of drug treatment without any benefit.
The study was conducted by the widely respected Cochrane Collaboration, which provides independent analyses of medical data. The “independent” part is important: The panelists who conducted the analysis don’t take money from drug companies."

Bill Gates Crowns Innovators At Toilet Fair (NPR) — "Gates was inspecting cutting-edge toilet technology on display at an event his foundation hosted in Seattle — the Reinvent the Toilet Fair. The centerpiece of the exhibit, as Shots reported last week, was a competition between eight teams of engineers to develop a super toilet that runs on a shoestring and doesn't need water or a sewage system. Many of those toilets use fake poop for demonstration purposes...A team from the California Institute of Technology, lead by environmental engineer Michael Hoffmann, won the top prize of $100,000 for a solar-powered toilet that produces hydrogen and electricity."

Heroin Immune Cell Seen As Hope For 21 Million Abusers (Bloomberg) — "Getting high on heroin doesn’t just stimulate the brain’s electrical wiring. It also fires up the immune system, according to scientists who say they found a way to help the 21 million people who may abuse opiates globally. Immune receptors’ primary purpose is to trigger the body’s protective mechanisms into action to fight off disease. Now, an immune receptor in the brain has been found to stimulate the reward response to heroin and morphine that makes opioids addictive, researchers at the University of Colorado and University of Adelaide in Australia said. As a result, it may be possible to prevent dependence by blocking the immune receptor, while at the same time amplifying the medical benefits of opioid painkillers."

This program aired on August 16, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.