Health roundup: Gun deaths on the rise, vaccine linked to menstrual cycle changes, and more

Gun deaths continue rising trend in America’s cities

A temporary falloff in the number of Americans who kill themselves and others with guns is over, newly released U.S. government data show.

It noted that guns were involved in 75% of all homicides and 91% of homicides involving youths between 2018 and 2019 — a rate basically unchanged from 2016.

But those new numbers represent a significant and troubling uptick from a decade before, said Kegler, from the CDC’s Division of Injury Prevention.

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COVID-19 vaccination linked to small changes in menstrual cycle length

COVID-19 vaccination is associated with a small change in menstrual cycle length, but not in menses length, according to a study published online Jan. 5 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Alison Edelman, M.D., M.P.H., from the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues prospectively tracked menstrual cycle data among U.S. residents aged 18 to 45 years with normal cycle lengths (24 to 38 days) for three consecutive cycles before the first vaccine dose and three additional cycles following the first dose (including the vaccination cycle), or for six cycles over a similar time period among unvaccinated individuals. The mean within-individual change in cycle and menses length was calculated among 3,959 individuals (2,403 vaccinated and 1,556 unvaccinated).

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Zoo study finds animal DNA floating in the air

Sampling the air from local zoos, two teams of researchers collected enough DNA to identify the animals nearby. They say their study could potentially become a valuable, noninvasive tool to track biodiversity.

“Capturing airborne environmental DNA from vertebrates makes it possible for us to detect even animals that we cannot see are there,” said researcher Kristine Bohmann, head of the team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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Children’s behavior is reportedly worse at home during remote learning

Parents report that their children’s health at home is worse during remote learning than with in-person learning, according to a research letter published online Jan. 10 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Emily C. Hanno, Ph.D., from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues administered online surveys four times to 405 parents of children in Massachusetts from Jan. 4 to May 23, 2021.

Parents indicated their child’s current learning format in each wave and then reported their child’s behavioral health on three measures: general behavioral health in the last month; number of maladaptive behavioral changes in the previous month; and frequency of dysregulated behaviors. Overall, 348 parents reported on 356 children’s behaviors in at least one of the surveys.

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Exercise can save your brain, scientists say

Exercise helps you stay fit, hale and hearty, and researchers say it may also help you stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Now they have a better understanding of the hidden benefits that aid the brain.

Older folks who are more physically active have higher levels of a protein that promotes better communication between the brain’s synapses, a new study reports.

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