teen girls rely on rhythm for birth control
A growing number of teen girls say they use the rhythm method, and more teens also think it's okay for an unmarried female to have a baby, according to a government survey released Wednesday. About 17 percent of sexually experienced teen girls say they had timed sex to avoid fertile days to prevent getting pregnant — but that method has a 25 percent failure rate, according to the CDC. The survey results were based on interviews with nearly 2,800 teens. It found that about 42 percent of never-married teens had had sex at least once; 98 percent said they'd used birth control at least once, with condoms the most common choice. The teen birth rate declined steadily from 1991 through 2005, but rose from 2005 to 2007. It shrank only slightly in 2008. "We've known the decline in childbearing stalled out. This report kind of fills in the why," said Bill Albert of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Nearly 64 percent of teen boys said it's okay for an unmarried female to have a child, up from 50 percent in 2002. More than 70 percent of teen girls agreed, up from 65 percent.
FDA approves new osteoporosis drug
The Food and Drug Administration this week approved the sale of a pricey new drug, Prolia, to help prevent fractures in postmenopausal women. The FDA decision came nearly two months before the expected action date. "The approval of Prolia provides another treatment option for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are susceptible to fractures," said Dr. Julie Beitz, director of an FDA office of drug evaluation. Prolia, which is given by injection once every six months, will cost $825 per dose, or $1,650 annually, far more than other osteoporosis drugs. Amgen will start marketing Prolia within a week. Amgen has also asked the FDA to approve it to treat bone damage suffered by cancer patients. Financial analysts say that second approval is key to Amgen's success.
Wait a minute on umbilical cord cut
Doctors shouldn't hurry to cut newborns' umbilical cords, a new study suggests. The procedure typically occurs 30 to 60 seconds after birth. Researchers at the University of South Florida's Center for Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair say waiting an extra minute allows the infant to receive vital stem cells which may prevent breathing problems, anemia, eye damage, blood infection and internal bleeding. The study appears in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
No one-two punch with cancer risks
Although genetics and lifestyle factors such as obesity and inactivity both contribute to breast cancer, they do so separately and do not mix for a more deadly effect, according to a study in the Lancet. Lead author Ruth Travis of the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford said the finding was good news. "There's a danger of feeling you're at the fate of your genes," Travis said. "But whatever you're born with, there are things you can do to modify your risk."
Times staff, wires