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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Scotland has alcoholism as top health problem

A wreath Kolsch Beer - LA Times of Kölsch.Image via WikipediaAlcohol remains a destroyer till now when everything is deemed technologically advanced...

Study finds alcohol was a factor in more than 5500 GP consultations in Scotland in one day.

03 May 2011

Alcohol was a factor in more than 5500 GP consultations in Scotland on one day alone last month, according to a new survey.
BMA Scotland, which carried out the study, said this equates to 1.4 million consultations per year, costing the NHS more than £28m.
It warned that a "significant proportion" of adults are risking alcohol-related health problems, with alcohol killing five people a day.
Dr Alan McDevitt, deputy chairman of the BMA's Scottish General Practitioners Committee, said: "Those who suffer from alcohol related health problems are not just alcoholics or heavy binge drinkers.
"By regularly drinking over and above recommended limits, a significant proportion of the adult population is at risk of experiencing health problems that are linked to the alcohol they consume whether it is high blood pressure, breast cancer or even domestic abuse.
"In just one day, nurses and doctors working in general practices across Scotland saw more than 5500 patients where alcohol had contributed to their ill health.
"But the patients seen in general practice are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of alcohol misuse across the rest of the NHS, in hospitals and in our communities is far greater."
The organisation called on candidates in all the political parties to acknowledge the damaging influence of alcohol misuse on individuals and in communities every day in Scotland.
It urged them to spend one of the last few days of the election campaign outlining how they will tackle alcohol misuse in the next Scottish Parliament.
Other health organisations backed the BMA's call for action to tackle the country's alcohol problem.
Alcohol Focus Scotland called on politicians to consider a minimum unit price for alcohol while the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland suggested more alcohol liaison nurses to help reduce re-attendance at A&E and hospital admissions.

Taken from; source article is below:
More than 5500 GP visits a day in Scotland are alcohol related, survey finds

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Does Circumcision Have Health Benefits?

This is another article taken in its entirety. Read with discretion.

Michelle Bryner, Life's Little Mysteries Contributor
29 April 2011

The debate over surgically removing an infant's penis foreskin has continued over the years, with proponents touting circumcision's health benefits, and opponents arguing against what they say is the barbaric nature of the procedure. An anticircumcision group in San Francisco is the latest to join the fray, pushing for a ban on the practice.

Circumcision proponents, however, argue against the proposal, citing the procedure's history as a religious ritual, as well as its sexual health benefits -- some research suggests that circumcision helps prevent the spread of HIV.

Plenty of research has been conducted on both sides of the debate, so which point of view does the science favor?

An ancient tradition

Circumcision started as a ritual act by the Egyptians as far back as 2500 B.C. and later by Jewish people. They did it to mark a boy's passage into manhood, some believe. Other proposed reasons include: as a marking to distinguish those of higher social status; as a male "menstruation," or sign of the onset of puberty; and as a way to discourage masturbation.

Since then, however, people of many faiths began following suit: Circumcision is now the most common surgery performed on males in the United States. In a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the period 1999 to 2004, 79 percent of men reported that they were circumcised.

Circumcision is widely believed to prevent diseases, such as HIV, and there is some evidence that it reduces the risk of male-to-female HIV transfer. The proposed mechanism is that circumcision removes what are called Langerhans cells in the foreskin, which are more susceptible to HIV infection. Langerhans cells are equipped with special receptors that may allow HIV access into the body. 
Three studies published in 2009 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews revealed that circumcised men were 54 percent less likely to get HIV than uncircumcised men. The trials included more than 11,000 men in South Africa, Uganda and Kenya between 2002 and 2006. 

The practice may also protect women from contracting the virus that causes AIDS. A review of past medical files of more than 300 Uganda couples, in which the man was HIV positive and the woman wasn't, showed circumcision reduced the likelihood that the female partner would become infected by 30 percent. That study was presented in 2006 at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

While HIV prevention is becoming a well-supported argument for circumcision in developing countries, it is not as strong of an argument for the United States.

"A number of important differences from sub-Saharan African settings where the three male circumcision trials were conducted must be considered in determining the possible role for male circumcision in HIV prevention in the United States," according to a report published by the CDC. The report goes on to say that, "studies to date have demonstrated efficacy only for penile-vaginal sex, the predominant mode of HIV transmission in Africa, whereas the predominant mode of sexual HIV transmission in the United States is by penile-anal sex among [men who have sex with men]."

As for medical complications, a review of 52 relevant studies from 21 countries found circumcision of infants by trained professionals rarely showed adverse health outcomes. For instance, the researchers found that among those under age 1, there was just a 1.5 percent average risk of minor adverse events such as excessive bleeding, swelling and infection. Severe complications were very rare, the study found, which was published in 2010 in the journal BMC Urology. However, risk of both minor and severe complications went up when inexperienced providers did the circumcisions.

Despite the benefits of circumcision and a lack of strong evidence showing negative side effects, the debate continues as opponents look for ways to outlaw the practice.

Put it to a vote?

A proposal to ban circumcisions in San Francisco has moved forward as proponents of the ban delivered more than 12,000 signatures to the Department of Elections this week. If the petition has enough valid signatures from registered voters, the ban will appear on the ballot in the November election. The ban would make circumcision of any male under the age of 18 a misdemeanor and carry with it a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to one year.

According to Reuters reports, Lloyd Schofield, the leader of the proposal, says circumcision is "excruciatingly painful and permanently damaging surgery that's forced on men when they're at their weakest and most vulnerable."

The CDC disagrees that the procedure is painful. "Data has shown that with anesthesia, the majority of infants have no objective pain reaction," Scott Bryan, a spokesperson for the CDC, told Life's Little Mysteries.

The banning of circumcision may be an extreme measure, especially given the fact that the procedure is not mandatory. There are also still many unanswered questions on both sides of the argument. We'll have to wait until November to see how the debate actually plays out.

Follow Life's Little Mysteries on Twitter @LLMysteries.
This story was provided by Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.


Taken from; source article is below:
Does Circumcision Have Health Benefits?

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