Stories We're Following This Week

News + Insights from Around the Web + The Patient's Playbook Bottom Line. 

This Vaccine Beats A Cancer-Causing Virus—So Why Are So Few Teens Getting It?



"Despite the vaccine’s proven effectiveness, immunization rates remain low... partly because of the implicit association of the vaccine with adolescent sexual activity, rather than with its explicit purpose: cancer prevention."

—HPV vaccines have reduced the virus’s prevalence in teenage girls by almost two-thirds, yet only 40% of girls and 20% of boys between the ages of 13 and 17 are vaccinated. (New York Times)

Bottom Line: Nearly all cervical cancers result from HPV infections. About 79 million Americans have HPV, and 14 million more are infected each year. A three-dose series of the vaccine can protect against the strains responsible for an estimated 90% of HPV-related cancers. Doctors, parents, and teens should seriously consider HPV vaccination as a valuable tool in cancer prevention. 

Late Night Snacking Is Bad For You — and Researchers Can Prove It



"If your friends are anything like young people anywhere, there's a good chance that after a night out they stop for a snack on the way home... Snacks are undoubtedly delicious — but also not a very good idea."

Bottom Line: Studies find that late-night eating comes with a higher risk of weight gain and diabetes. Researchers have several theories as to why, as the article in Vox notes. But common sense tells us that eating balanced meals, with a majority of your calories consumed earlier in the day, when you're more active, rather than before bedtime, is a good habit for a longer, healthier life.

What’s Causing Your Leg Pain, Burning, and Numbness?



“Leg pain that comes on acutely with a bang, is severe and doesn’t resolve within minutes probably needs to be seen right away. There’s no trophy for suffering.”

—Leg pain could be a sign of a more serious condition. (Next Avenue)

Bottom line: Leg pains can be caused by blood-vessel distress, peripheral neuropathy, an electrolyte imbalance, or something else entirely. But pain typically means something isn't working right. So don't take it lightly. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and be as detailed as possible.

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