STAT Medical News: Going To Hospital Too Early Increases Risk of Having C-Section

WHY SO MANY C-SECTIONS? The rise in Caesarian (c-section) births in the U.S. is partially due to mothers showing up at the hospital too early, researchers conclude after a review of 41,000 births in California. The research, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, shows that women who have normal pregnancies are more likely to have a c-section if they show up at the hospital too soon, in the very beginning stages of labor. Women who are in labor many hours are often advised to have a c-section, so hanging around a hospital for the duration appears to draw doctor's attention to the length of the labor, increasing the odds of a c-section birth. Steering clear of an elective induction also helped avoid a c-section according to the study.

MINORITIES LEFT OUT OF SKIN CANCER CAMPAIGNS?Hispanic and black patients in Florida are more likely to have an advanced case of the serious skin cancer melanoma at the time of their diagnosis, researchers find. The reason is not known, but doctors at the University of Miami speculate that darker-skinned minorities may have been overlooked in campaigns to raise sun-safety awareness, since most of these efforts focus on light-skinned people. According to the new study in the Archives of Dermatology, rates of serious disease were highest in black patients, but rates were also higher in Hispanic patients as compared to whites.

2.4 MILLION STARTED ABUSING PAINKILLERS More Americans started abusing painkillers in 2004 than started using marijuana or cocaine, according to new figures from the U.S. government. An estimated 2.4 million people age 12 and older began abusing painkillers such as Vicodin, Percocet, and Tylenol with codeine in 2004, compared to 2.1 million people who began using marijuana and 1 million who began using cocaine. However, the new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also finds that most people who abuse painkillers try another drug first; only one quarter of painkiller abusers started with painkillers

STAT is a brief look at the latest medical research and is compiled by Joanna Schaffhausen, who holds a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. She works in the ABC News Medical Unit, evaluating medical studies, abstracts and news releases.

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