Female doctors are more likely to screen women for human papillomavirus, a virus that can lead to cervical cancer, than male doctors, according to a study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System.
They reviewed health records of 833 women between ages 30 and 65 who went to five Michigan clinics from 2008 to 2011. They found that over the three years, the physicians’ requests for HPV tests increased by 46 percent. Female physicians, however, were twice as likely as their male counterparts to properly order the test.
A combination pap smear and HPV test is recommended every five years to screen women older than age 20 for cervical cancer, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevenion.
The age of the physicians or the stage of their career did not make a difference on whether the test was ordered. Female physicians may be more comfortable discussing women’s health issues, including the HPV test, the researchers concluded.
BOTTOM LINE: Female doctors are twice as likely to screen women for human papillomavirus as male doctors.
CAUTIONS: The study was limited to a small number of clinics in one area so the findings may not represent a wider group.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, Nov. 7
Speaking a second language may delay onset of dementia
Being bilingual is associated with later onset of dementia, even in people who are illiterate, a study conducted in India found.
Researchers in India and the United Kingdom looked at records of 648 patients with dementia who attended a memory clinic in the city of Hyderabad between June 2006 and October 2012. Nearly half of the patients spoke more than one language.
The study found that patients who spoke only one language had developed initial symptoms of dementia such as memory loss or confusion at an average age of 61, compared with 65 among those who were bilingual. Symptoms appeared later among bilingual patients with three different types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.
The association held true for the 14 percent of patients who were illiterate. There was no larger difference in the onset of dementia among those who spoke more than two languages.
BOTTOM LINE: Being bilingual may delay the onset of dementia, even in those who are illiterate.
CAUTIONS: The study does not suggest that learning a second language prevents dementia, nor does it prove that the delayed onset of symptoms was the result of patients being bilingual. The researchers also did not look at whether bilingual people fared better once they developed dementia.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Neurology, online Nov. 6