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5 Interesting Medical Facts From Around the World

The human body is a complicated thing. Here are five medical facts-from urine trouble to cancer to bulimia-that you should know right now.

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1. Urinary tract infections are more common than you think

Medical facts usually clarify misconceptions. Contrary to popular belief, both sexes see their UTI risk increase as they age. Men over 50 often have an enlarged prostate, which can block the bladder and trap urine inside, while women produce less of the estrogen that strengthens the urinary tract’s protective lining. However, “in post-menopausal women, the vaginal estrogens can be supplemented with capsules or creams,” says Dr. Suzanne E. Geerlings, a physician at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam.

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2. Severe disease often triggers trauma

More than half of breast cancer patients show one or more symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder a year after diagnosis, according to a study at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Feelings include detachment and anger. Forty per cent of the patients who’d already experienced something traumatic rated breast cancer as more troubling. These findings suggest that people with life-threatening illnesses should seek psychological support.

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3. Street light hampers sleep quality

Medical facts don’t have to be dangerous to greatly affect your life. According to a Stanford University study of more than 15,000 Americans, excessive amounts of light from street lamps has a strong effect on sleep. The study concluded that subjects living in areas with bright outdoor lighting were more likely to report sleep disturbances, shorter sleep duration and increased daytime fatigue. Heavy curtains or eye masks could help solve this problem.

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4. Viagra may exacerbate existing skin cancers

A German paper published in Cell Reports has proposed an explanation for why we see more melanoma in men who take Viagra. The popular erectile dysfunction medication may inhibit an enzyme that would otherwise slow down a signalling pathway melanoma cells use to grow. The researchers did conclude that while the drug might encourage skin cancers that already exist, but it probably won’t trigger new ones.

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5. Mirror therapies can help with bulimia

Researchers from Spain’s University of Granada tested two techniques for decreasing body dissatisfaction in women with bulimia. One allowed participants to observe their bodies in a mirror while describing themselves in neutral terms. The other allowed patients to express their thoughts about their appearance. The second method was more effective because it let patients express negative feelings and learn to manage them.

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