Ever feel like you're addicted to the Internet? That may soon be a valid medical condition, says Forbes, which reports that Internet Use Disorder (IUD) may be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders sometime in the near future. Before that happens, though, the manual's authors say they need to do a lot more research on IUD.
In other health news on health care:
– The Commonwealth Fund, which a company employee described as nonpartisan, has released an analysis of the presidential candidates' health care plans and how they'd affect the nation's numbers of uninsured by 2022. In short: Mitt Romney's plan would result in 72 million people without coverage by 2022; President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act would have it down to 27 million by the same year.
– A group of doctors have said that unnecessary health care in the U.S. has an annual price tag of about $800 billion, according to HealthDay. The doctors made that claim in a report that appeared in the journal BMJ, and also said unnecessary medical treatment accounts for up to 30 percent of health care spending every year.
– The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the number of teenagers who drive after drinking has dropped by a whopping 54 percent since 1991.
– New research shows that young pedestrians are hit by cars for two preventable reasons: They aren't being supervised and they're distracted by their electronic devices – phones and music players, for example. HealthDay reports that 20 percent of child pedestrians who'd been hit by a car were found to have been texting or otherwise distracted at the time of their accident, compared to 10 percent of adults. The "good" news in all of this: Young pedestrians were more likely than adults to be discharged from the ER without any major injuries.
On sickness and disease:
– TIME writes about a study that says if you're trying to avoid a cold, skip vitamin D supplements – they're about as useful as placebos, researchers found.
– Get off that tanning bed! New research, says ABCNews.com, links use of the coffin-like devices to more than 170,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers every year. Artificial tanning ups folks' risk for "squamous cell carcinoma" by 67 percent and "basal cell carcinoma" by 29 percent.
– West Nile strikes again: According to KPCC, the deadly virus has claimed its second victim in L.A. County this year. The county's Department of Public Health says 54 people in the county have gotten sick from the virus.
– Getting inadequate sleep while you're a teen can mean bad things for your heart disease risk, says HealthDay. That's because poor sleep means higher cholesterol, higher blood pressure, more body mass and a larger waistline, all of which are risk factors for heart disease.
– There's more bad news about the notoriously painful disease known as rheumatoid arthritis, says HealthDay: Folks with the condition may be at a somewhat higher risk of developing blood clots.
On population trends:
– New research in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows that the prevalence of diabetic complications varies by race, even when all other things are equal. More research is needed, but findings suggest that despite equal access to care, black patients "experienced higher rates of end-stage renal failure, but lower rates of" heart disease, heart failure and stroke than white diabetic patients did.
– The word "Latino" can refer to one of many cultures, and two new studies show the phrase "health of Latinos" doesn't mean the same thing across the board, either. Research in the Journal of Women's Health and the American Journal of Men's Health shows that there are significant differences in health trends among Cuban-Americans, Mexican-Americans and Puerto Rican-Americans.
And, finally, on self-image:
HealthDay reports that genetic factors may make some women especially susceptible to the idea that skinnier is better. That's in addition to other factors, of course – not the least of which is a media barrage of skinnier-is-better messaging – but researchers think genes can explain almost half the reason why some women are more likely to try to stay slim.
Photo by Daniele Pieroni via Flickr Creative Commons.