5 Things to Read on Improving Health

Researchers debating if there's a safe amount of alcohol, doctors urging new moms to stop using marijuana, and more are covered in this week's roundup of stories on improving health.

Is there a ‘safe’ amount of alcohol?

A recent study concluded that even one drink a day carries risk of harm, generating headlines like “No Amount of Alcohol Use is Safe.” Pediatrics professor and writer Aaron Carroll had a less alarmist take. “The truth is much less newsy and much more measured,” Carroll wrote on the New York Times’ Upshot blog. While heavy drinking is clearly harmful, he wrote, “just because something is unhealthy in large amounts doesn’t mean that we must completely abstain.”

Antibiotic resistance poised to kill more people than cancer

Antibiotics are becoming less effective at killing bacteria as the germs grow resistant to medicines designed to stop them. That means diseases currently curable with antibiotics, like gonorrhea, syphilis and E. coli, could soon become deadly. One expert told Axios bacterial infections could become the No. 1 killer by 2050 if something isn’t done.

Antibiotic use, meanwhile, causes 70,000 ER visits each year

Adverse reactions and other side effects of antibiotics lead to 70,000 emergency room visits for children each year, new research shows. Usually the cause was an allergic reaction. “While antibiotics save lives when used appropriately, antibiotics also can harm children and should only be used when needed,” one expert said. Read more from ABC News.

Record number of STDs in U.S.

The number of Americans with a sexually transmitted disease reached a record high in 2017, new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rates of STDs in the industrialized world, one expert told NPR. Federal funding for STD prevention and control has declined about 40 percent in the last 15 years.

Pediatricians urge new moms to put down the marijuana

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued new recommendations that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use marijuana, even if it is legal in their state. “A lot of the public equates legalization with some kind of endorsement of safety. Of course, that’s not true,” one OB-GYN told Kaiser Health News. Researchers found THC can accumulate in breast milk, and they’re concerned about the possible neurological effects in children.



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