In 2023, the medical field experienced a series of noteworthy advancements and concerning trends. Among the breakthroughs, it was discovered that anti-obesity GLP-1 drugs have the potential to improve cardiovascular outcomes. Additionally, the FDA granted approval for the first RSV vaccine called ‘Arexvy’, offering new hope for respiratory syncytial virus prevention. Another significant milestone was the FDA’s approval of lecanemab as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, offering a glimmer of optimism for those affected by this devastating condition. Furthermore, the FDA approved Norgestrel as an over-the-counter oral contraceptive, providing increased accessibility for individuals seeking birth control.
One area that drew the attention of Maria Cohut, our features editor, was the limited options for non-barrier birth control methods for men. While numerous contraceptive pills are available for women, the same cannot be said for men. Maria delved into the reasons behind this disparity, exploring the potential factors contributing to the lack of research and development in this area.
Concerns were also raised about the alarming rise in colon cancer cases among young individuals. Over the past two decades, there has been a doubling in the proportion of colon and rectal cancer incidence in individuals under 55. To shed light on this troubling trend, a study identified four key symptoms associated with an increased risk of early-onset colorectal cancer in younger adults: abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, diarrhea, and iron deficiency anemia. These findings serve as vital information for healthcare professionals and individuals to be aware of potential warning signs.
Another topic of discussion centered around the potential link between artificial sweeteners and cancer. Research revealed that a chemical found in a commonly used artificial sweetener, sucralose, may cause DNA damage. The study highlighted the potential harm to gut health, oxidative stress, inflammation, and the increased risk of cancer associated with sucralose consumption. These findings warrant further investigation and consideration of the long-term effects of artificial sweeteners on human health.
The conversation surrounding non-barrier birth control options for men continued, emphasizing the limitations and potential drawbacks of existing contraceptive methods. Issues such as allergies and the failure rate of vasectomy reversals were highlighted, underscoring the need for alternative options that are both safe and effective.
The discussions also delved into the reasons behind the lack of research on the cancer-causing effects of artificial sweeteners in humans and the increase in colon cancer rates among young individuals. Factors such as lifestyle choices, dietary habits, and family history of colon cancer were considered as potential explanations, emphasizing the need for further research and education in these areas.
Overall, the year 2023 witnessed significant medical breakthroughs and concerning trends. The discussions surrounding artificial sweeteners, rising colon cancer rates in young individuals, and the lack of non-barrier birth control options for men shed light on important health and wellness issues. These conversations serve as a reminder of the ongoing efforts needed to understand and address the complexities of these medical challenges.