The Most Alarming Health Stories of 2007

With a new year full of it's own surprises soon to be underway, now is a good time to reflect on the most shocking medical stories of 2007. 5. For Older Men Low Levels of Testosterone Can Be.. Fatal? We don't usually associate testosterone levels in men with matters of life and death. However, research revealed that older men with low levels of testosterone were 40 percent more likely to die during an 18 year period. It's not certain if testosterone supplements are safe or effective at reducing mortality. Researchers recommend lifestyle changes to prevent or decrease incidence of obesity.

4. Harmful Pesticide Chemicals Found in Pregnant Women. Pregnant women are normally aware of what goes into their body. But no one could have expected that 15 different pesticide chemicals would be found in the placenta of over 300 women. The long term implications are still unclear, but scientists say these chemicals affect genitor-urinary and potential cognitive development in the child. Researchers stress that diet, exercise and avoidance of tobacco may control the levels of pesticides in the pregnant mother.

3. Padded Bumpers Only Do Harm to Children. You know those padded crib bumpers meant to protect infants from injury? A study found that 27 babies up to age 2 were accidentally suffocated or strangled by bumper pads and another 25 were injured. Researchers maintain that these bumper pads do not belong in cribs beacuse they provide no benefit and can do serious harm to the infant.

2. Pregnant Mothers Are Unaware of the Dangers of High Tech Imaging Exams. Many consider pregnancy scans to be a safe, routine procedure to track the status of the developing fetus - the increase in high-tech imaging exams on pregnant women during the last decade supports this notion. However, aside from perfectly safe ultrasound exams, x-rays and ct scans can expose an unborn child to damaging levels of radiation. Doctors claim that unless there is a serious health need, pregnant patients should not be exposed to radiation from high-tech imaging.

1. Birth Control Pills Pose May Have Posed Long Term Health Risks. Over 100 million women use birth control pills. Though further testing is needed, a study has suggested that birth control pills, notably ones sold decades ago, may increase the chances of having artery buildup that could become a potentially fatal blood clot. Surprisingly, researchers had difficulty finding testing and safety data for oral contraceptives used decades ago by 80 percent of women. Women worried about heart disease risk should not stop taking birth control but instead reduce other risk factors like inactivity and smoking.


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