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New vaginal ring to prevent HIV, pregnancy is safe: Study

Gorkha Post

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An experimental vaginal ring designed to prevent pregnancy and HIV looks safe, according to an early stage study.

The ring is designed to provide 90 days’ protection at a time. The dual-purpose ring releases the antiretroviral drug dapivirine and the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel, said researchers led by Dr Sharon Achilles, of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

This small, 14-day trial involving 24 women who were not pregnant and not infected with HIV was the first clinical study of the ring.

“We are very encouraged by our findings in this first-in-human study of the dapivirine-levonorgestrel ring,” said Achilles, an assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Its use resulted in sufficient levels of levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy and adequate levels of dapivirine to reduce risk of HIV infection, the researchers noted.

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There were no safety concerns, and the ring was well-tolerated, according to the Microbicide Trials Network study.

The researchers have started a second Phase 1 trial in which women will use the ring for 90 days.

“With a second study underway, we are another step closer to potentially having an easy-to-use product that can provide safe and effective, long-acting protection against both HIV and unintended pregnancy,” Achilles said in a network news release.

The research was funded by the US National Institutes of Health and presented Wednesday (Oct 24) at an HIV prevention conference, in Madrid, Spain.

Research presented at meetings is usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Agencies

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Excess use of social media may lead to depression and loneliness

Raghu Kshitiz

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Excessive use of social media like Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram could lead to depression and loneliness as this habit is associated with poor well-being,researchers have warned.

A new study, being published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, showed that limiting screen time on these apps could boost one’s wellness.

The study has tried to look into the causal side of things, and see whether people may actually feel better when they cut down on social media.

“Our findings strongly suggest that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being,” the authors concluded.

“When you are not busy getting sucked into clickbait social media, you are actually spending more time on things that are more likely to make you feel better about your life,” said Melissa Hunt, associate director of clinical training at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

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For the study, researchers from the varsity, included 143 undergraduate participants. The team designed their experiment to include the three platforms most popular with the participants.

They monitored the students for a week to get a baseline reading of their social media use, and gave them questionnaires that assessed their well-being according to seven different factors: social support, fear of missing out (aka FOMO), loneliness, autonomy and self-acceptance (a measure of psychological well-being), anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

They collected objective usage data automatically tracked by iPhones for active apps, not those running in the background, and asked respondents to complete a survey to determine mood and well-being.

“Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness. These effects are particularly pronounced for folks who were more depressed when they came into the study,” Hunt told Science Daily.

The researchers chose to limit social media, rather than have subjects stop using it altogether, because it was a more realistic option, she noted.

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