In the News: Birth Control Pills Still Linked to Breast Cancer, Showering At Night Improves Sleep, Tylenol Use In Pregnant Women Linked to ADHD

Birth control pills still linked to breast cancer. A Danish study which tracked 1.8 million women over the course of a decade has found that birth control pills and contraceptive devices that release hormones may cause an increased risk of breast cancer. These findings reinforce previously held beliefs that hormonal contraceptive methods may lead to a higher likelihood of breast cancer. While a lot of women think that new pills and devices are safer due to a lower amount of hormones, researchers are looking into the progestin hormone which is often used these days as a potential cause for the higher risk. They have also determined that there were not many differences in terms of IUDs and pills, as they both release hormones in the body. These findings may change the way doctors approach prescribing these medications. Want to learn more about breast cancer risks and prevention? Check out this fact sheet. (NYT)

Showering at night improves sleep. Research has shown that taking showers at night can help control your body temperature and therefore help you fall asleep faster. Studies conducted by the New York’s Montefiore Medical Center report that your core temperature naturally begins to drop in the evening and remains low while you sleep. While a shower before bed will briefly heat up your skin, you’ll quickly feel colder after toweling off because, as with sweat, the evaporation of moisture on the skin leads to skin cooling. This cooling effect may facilitate the onset of sleep. The results of several studies show that body temperature plays an important part in regulating circadian rhythm, which tells the body when to feel tired or alert. Cooling down sends signals to the body when it’s supposed to go to sleep. The effects work the same way when reversed; early in the morning since you’re likely to be on the move after your shower, and your body’s circadian rhythms are driving your core temperature upwards, a shower will help you feel more awake. While you’re at it, try these five snacks to help you sleep! (T)

Tylenol use during pregnancy may increase ADHD risk. In a large study published online in Pediatrics, researchers looked at possible effects of heavy use of acetaminophen by pregnant women on the brain of a developing fetus. The study analyzed acetaminophen use during more than 100,000 pregnancies in Norway, and the risk of the child eventually being diagnosed with ADHD. Researchers looked at information collected from a Norwegian patient registry about what drugs they had taken while pregnant and analyzed which children were later given ADHD. diagnoses. They found that regardless of the medical reason the women used acetaminophen, those who reported taking it for 29 consecutive days or more during their pregnancy had children who were twice as likely to receive a diagnosis of ADHD. While the study doesn’t completely prove cause and effect, there’s enough evidence of a link to make experts think carefully about what the recommendations for pregnant women should be in the future. (NYT)