Rising Rates of Prediabetes Among US Adolescents and Young Adults

Public Health

Analysis of data taken between 2005 and 2016 indicates 24% of adolescents ages 12 to 18 years and about 17% of young adults ages 19 to 34 years are prediabetic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The data, which went under analysis in April 2017 and was published for review on Dec. 2 in JAMA Pediatrics, suggested that rates of prediabetes were higher among males than females and higher among obese individuals compared with those of normal weight.

Prediabetic individuals have abnormally high blood glucose (sugar) levels and are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. With Type 2 diabetes on the rise among American adolescents in the past decade, researchers emphasized the importance of tracking prediabetes to better understand risk factors.

Hair Dye and Straighteners Linked to Breast Cancer Risk, Especially for Black Women

Research + Findings

A new study by the National Institutes of Health found that the use of permanent hair dye, chemical hair straighteners and the application of straighteners to others in the 12 months prior to enrollment in the study was associated with increased breast cancer risk among the 46,709 black and white women studied. While professionally-applied semi-permanent and temporary hair dyes presented “little to no” increased breast cancer risk, nonprofessional at-home application of semi-permanent dyes to others was associated with higher breast cancer risk.

White women who reported use of permanent hair dye in the previous year were 7% more likely to develop breast cancer than those who said they did not. Black women showed a significantly higher risk from the use of permanent hair dye with a 45% associated increased risk of breast cancer. This finding is consistent with chemical analyses that have found higher levels of estrogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in products marketed to women of color.

Among all women, greater frequency of chemical straightener use led to higher breast cancer risk. The study was published Wednesday in the International Journal of Cancer.

Senate Committee Recommends Dr. Stephen Hahn as Next FDA Commissioner

Legal Developments

On Tuesday, Dr. Stephen Hahn received a recommendation for confirmation as the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration with an 18-5 vote from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. President Donald Trump nominated Dr. Hahn, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center chief medical executive and professor in the department of radiation oncology, in November to replace Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who left the FDA in April.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted in favor of Hahn but expressed concern that the White House nominee had not adequately professed a commitment to public health and safety, particularly regarding the youth vaping epidemic. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), ranking member of the committee, expressed similar concerns although she voted against recommending Hahn for confirmation. The other senators who voted against Hahn’s confirmation were Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Measles Deaths Reached 140,000 Globally in 2018, Most Under 5 Years Old


Measles deaths continue to skyrocket globally according to a report released Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. In 2018 there were more than 140,000 deaths due to measles with most of those deaths being children under the age of 5, showing an increase of approximately 40,000 additional annual deaths since 2017, when measles-related deaths fell below 100,000.

Measles, a highly contagious disease, is caused by a virus and is preventable by vaccination. Despite the recent upsurge in deaths, global measles deaths have trended down over the past two decades.

Johnson & Johnson Faces Latest Talc Trial in Missouri

Legal Developments

On Friday, court proceedings against Johnson & Johnson brought about claims from plaintiff Vickie Forrest’s attorney that the judge could save thousands of woman’s lives with a single verdict against the industry giant. Forrest was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 and has since gone into remission, though she still suffers anemia, depression, neuropathy and osteopersosis as a result of the disease and treatment.

According to Law360, Forrest’s legal team argued that J&J’s talc powder was both a carcinogen and contained asbestos. J&J’s attorney denied the claims, arguing that Forrest suffered from a very rare clear-cell cancer, which was likely caused by the prevalence of cancer in Forrest’s family, Forrest’s endometriosis and her obesity.

St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Rex Burlison last presided over Gali Ingham v. J&J in July 2018, a case addressing 22 women affected by talc powder. In that case, J&J was hit with a record-setting $4.69 billion verdict. The current pending Missouri trial is expected to take two weeks to complete.