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Suicide among young people

Suicide among young people

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Your Health

(CNN) -- It amazes most people to learn that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-aged people in the United States -- second only to traffic accidents, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

The institute says rates have tripled among men and nearly doubled for women since 1950.

As a neurosurgeon, I have treated many suicide attempts. The irony of whisking someone off to the emergency room, when that person who would rather die, is not lost on me. I do it with the sincere hope that my patient will recover physically and emotionally.

Statistically, they often don't recover, as repeated suicide attempts are very common.

We need to do better as a medical community in treating those who would rather not live -- because you don't get many second chances.

Thank you for reading "The Pulse," my column on the week's top health and medical news. Here are more stories making headlines this week.

Caffeine and cancer

Latte lotion, anyone? A new study has found that mice slathered with a caffeine-laced skin cream developed fewer skin tumors -- both cancerous and non-cancerous -- than their caffeine-free counterparts.

The same was true for mice wearing a skin cream containing EGCG, a chemical compound found in green tea.

Unlike sunscreen, which works by preventing the skin from absorbing ultraviolet rays, caffeine's cancer protection works in cells after exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. Researchers say caffeine causes abnormal cells to kill themselves, preventing the development of abnormal growths.

However, researchers warn that studies still need to be done on humans.

Click here for the results of the study and a list of caffeine pros and cons.

LATCH system in all new vehicles

Parents need all the help they can get when it comes to installing safety seats for children in the cars. Approximately 80 percent of all child safety seats are installed incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Help is finally here.

Starting Sunday, all new vehicles and car seats must come with special attachments designed to fit together like two pieces of a puzzle. This will allow parents to secure the safety seat to the car without the use of the seatbelt system.

The safety agency says the new system, called Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), could prevent up to 50 deaths and 3,000 injuries annually.

However, parents are not home free: They will still have to make sure they're using the right car seat for their child, and that their child is buckled in properly.

Click here to see how the LATCH system works.

Animals and allergies

It might fly in the face of conventional wisdom but Fido and Fluffy could actually reduce your child's risk of developing allergies, according to a new study.

Researchers who followed almost 500 children from infancy found that children with two or more pets in the house had about half the risk of developing allergies -- not only to dogs and cats, but also to other allergens like dust and grass.

However, children with only one pet had a slightly higher risk than those with no pets of becoming allergic.

Researchers think that exposure to pets helps a child's immune system better manage the irritants that can trigger an allergic reaction.

Click here for allergy facts and a chart on the rate of pet allergies among children.




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