Been busy this week? In the Weekly Dose, MyHealthNewsDaily gives you this week's most important health news.
Sugar may increase drug potency: Simply adding some sugar to antibiotics may get the drugs to work better, a new study suggests. Certain bacterial infections, such as staph, strep and urinary tract infections, can reoccur even after patients are treated with antibiotics. This happens because a population of bacteria within the infection, called persisters, lie dormant, evade drug treatment and cause the infection to return after drug treatment stops. Adding sugar to the antibiotic essentially wakes up the bacteria and causes them to gobble up the antibiotics designed to poison them. So far, the technique has been shown to improve treatment of urinary tract infections in mice. More research is needed to show if the method works on humans as well, but the researchers are hopeful it will reduce the number of recurrent infections patients have.
Sexual orientation linked to cancer risk: Homosexual men are about twice as likely as heterosexual men to report having cancer, a new study finds. However, this does not mean a person's sexual orientation increases the risk of cancer. Rather, lifestyle factors among gay men may influence the risk. For instance, gay men are more likely to smoke and at greater risk for having HIV, both factors that increase the risk of cancer. The study also found lesbian and bisexual women are more likely to report poor health after having cancer . This may be because lesbian and bisexual woman experience stress from discrimination and prejudice that has ill effects on their psychological health, the researchers say. In addition the group may have reduced social support if they have severed ties with family. Doctors should try to find out why those in this group report poor health following cancer diagnosis and address these issues, the researchers say.
HIV drugs curtail disease spread: Treating HIV patients with antiretroviral drugs as soon as they test HIV positive drastically reduces the chances the virus will be transmitted to others, according to a new study. The study involved 1,763 couples from 13 sites across the world, including Botswana, Brazil, India, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Thailand, the United States and Zimbabwe. In each couple, one person had HIV and the other did not. The couples were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. In the first group, the HIV-infected partner received antiretroviral drugs right away. In the other, the HIV-infected partner received drugs only after their immune system deteriorated to a certain extent. Those who took the drugs early were 96 percent less likely to pass the disease on to their partner. The study was scheduled to end in 2015, but was stopped early because of the clear benefit that was observed in the early-treatment group.
Follow MyHealthNewsDaily staff writer Rachael Rettner on Twitter @RachaelRettner.