Trending News Today: Oral Cancer Incidence on the Rise

Top news of the day from across the health care landscape.

A new study has been launched to test a dietary supplement called lunasin and its potential effects on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to NPR. The study came from an unusual case, in which an ALS patient taking lunasin had his speech go back to normal, swallowing back to normal, and is no longer using his feeding tube. Furthermore, his therapists reported that he was significantly stronger. This occurred after 6-months of taking lunasin. With this new study, researchers are taking a nontraditional approach. Instead of using a comparison group in which patients take a placebo, researchers matched each patient with 3 to 5 people whose disease was on a similar course. Since the supplement is already on the market, researchers were able to skip safety testing. There are 50 volunteers included in the study, and most of the data was gathered virtually through the PatientsLikeMe website, where patients post their weekly assessments. Even if the dietary supplement is found to not be beneficial, the approach will provide people with the outcomes quickly and won’t waste their time and money if lunasin fails, reported NPR.

A new analysis revealed that oral cancer diagnoses in American men are on the rise, and health insurance claims for this disease jumped 61% from 2011 to 2015. According to The Washington Post, the most significant increases were seen in throat and tongue cancer. The data showed that during this same time period, claims were nearly 3 times as common in men (74%) as in women (26%). The analysis was conducted by FAIR Health, and are based on a database of more than 21 billion privately-billed medical and dental claims, reported the Post. Researchers believe the cause may be the change in sexual practices and the effects of human papillomavirus (HPV), which effects nearly 80 million individuals in the United States, or 1 in 4. In past generations, oral cancer was linked to smoking, alcohol use, or both. But despite the smoking rates decreasing, the oral cancer rates have stayed the same. Authors noted this could be caused by HPV. Surveys have indicated that today younger men are more likely to perform oral sex than their older counterparts. Furthermore, they have more of a tendency to engage with more partners.

A new study revealed that heading a soccer ball causes temporary, instant brain changes, reported The Washington Post. For the study, researchers examined brain changes among 19- to 25-year-old amateur soccer players who headed machine-projected soccer balls at speeds that modeled a typical practice. The results of the study showed that 5 women and 14 men had changes in motor response and memory. Participants were asked to perform a rotational header 20 consecutive times during 10-minute sessions. Immediately following these sessions, researchers found that participants error scores on short- and long-term memory tests were significantly higher compared with baseline performance. Additionally, findings revealed that even after a single session of heading, the memory-test performance was reduced by as much as 67%. Although the brain changes appeared to clear within 24 hours, researchers caution that individuals should not take these temporary changes as a sign of no long-term damage, the Post reported.