Spring 2023

Making headlines

Hesitant no more > Apprehension about new vaccines isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it an insurmountable challenge, say medical professionals. Public health leaders broke through initial hesitancy about the HPV vaccine, which was introduced in 2006, for instance, by taking people’s fears seriously and highlighting the vaccine’s long-term, cancer-preventing capabilities. “Now, [the HPV vaccine] has really become mainstream,” the U of M Medical School’s Jill Foster, M.D., told Vox in March. “This idea has entered the zeitgeist of America.”

Not so straightforward > According to new guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, obesity in children isn’t just the result of personal choices—it must be understood as the complex disease it is, with short- and long-term health implications. “Everybody likes to simplify what obesity is,” Aaron Kelly, Ph.D., codirector of the U of M Medical School’s Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine, told the New York Times in January, “but it’s not just a matter of kids or their parents trying harder to eat less and move more.”

Carcinogen watchdog > After small amounts of chemicals called nitrosamines were found in medications, prompting a wave of recalls, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating how widespread the problem may be. Nitrosamines, which may contribute to cancer with long-term exposure, are found elsewhere, too—in water, cured and grilled meats, and other foods. “The difference is with drugs it’s totally avoidable,” the Masonic Cancer Center’s Stephen Hecht, Ph.D., told USA Today in February.