Posts Tagged ‘Adolescents’

Vaccines and obesity

February 21, 2010

The folks over at Effect Measure posted their take on a recent research article about vaccinating obese adolescents. The researchers were trying to see if needle length had an effect on the amount of antibody titer found in the subject’s blood after vaccination. The researchers found that those vaccinated with a 1.5″ needle  had higher antibody titers than subjects vaccinated with a 1.0″ needle.

I wish I could see the entire article, but unfortunately I don’t have access to Pediatrics and the abstract will have to suffice. The study itself was small, with only 22 young women and 2 young men receiving the Hepatitis B vaccine over 3 years. It raises an interesting point and possibly names another negative consequence of the obesity crisis in this country.

Of course, one study doesn’t tell us if using shorter needles constitutes under-vaccinating in obese individuals. In fact, it raises so many questions. Is it the needle size or the person that is the bigger factor in antibody levels? Will nurses have to start taking skin fold measurements before administering vaccines? Would vaccine needles have to start coming in many different sizes, to accommodate different levels of girth? And how will the anti-vaccine folks respond to this?

UK Pilot Program Provides Over-The-Counter Oral Contraception

December 15, 2009

A pilot program to give teenage girls OTC birth control pills is being launched in London.

Pharmacists have been trained to do general checks and provide oral contraception in two inner-city London areas, both with high teenage pregnancy rates (one, Southwark, has twice the national average). I am sooooo interested to see the findings.

Apparently the UK government’s goal to reduce teenage pregnancy by 50% by 2010 is not even close to being reached. Thus the program. Of course opponents go with the old stand-by: promiscuity.

What are your thoughts? Possible increases in promiscuity? OTC birth control for teens a good idea? I’m personally pretty jazzed, but we’ll see how things proceed.

Undocumented Youth

October 10, 2009

I saw Papers this week. It’s a documentary about what happens when undocumented youth, who have never known a home other than the US, turn 18. The filmmakers follow 5 people who are directly affected as well as several lawmakers and experts on immigration. Although health isn’t a direct focus, the issue definitely has health implications.

Definitely check it out.

Interview with Elizabeth Saewyc on Queer Teen Health

September 10, 2009

My fabulous friend Emily sent me this.

Interestingly, queer teens who are sexually active have higher rates of pregnancy than their straight peers.  The researcher, Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc (who I can only assume is AWESOME) comments on why it’s hard to determine the cause:

There are a lot of different factors that help explain the pregnancy risk, and I really cannot say which one is the most common or more likely, because in part some of those questions are not asked on large population surveys. So we didn’t ask, what was your sex education like, or did you even have any. We don’t ask about how stigmatized do you feel as an LGB youth. We don’t ask why you got pregnant. So for a lot of those kinds of things, we can’t see how common those are. We’ve got ideas and plans of what we’d like to study. You know, how we’d like to answer those questions.

I especially like how she discusses the need to do further research on sexual violence.

For the record, I haven’t actually read the study.  I’m going to try to find it and do a follow-up post.