What We’re Reading: Flu Hospitalizations Doubled; Male Birth Control Research; Rising Child Marijuana Use

The CDC reported that the number of people who were hospitalized with the flu nearly doubled during the week of Thanksgiving; contraception for people producing sperm is finding promising results in clinical trials; marijuana use in children has risen 245% in the last 20 years.

Flu Hospitalizations Rising in Holiday Week

The week of Thanksgiving saw hospitalizations for the flu nearly double, according to data from the CDC. The data, which was reported by NBC News, found that flu hospitalizations rose from 11,378 people the week prior to Thanksgiving to 19,593 in the next week; most hospitalizations were of people aged 65 years and older. The CDC said that there are 45 states where the flu is spreading rapidly and at higher levels. Flu vaccination rates are also down by 12% in pregnant people compared with last year. Alaska, Michigan, and Vermont are the only states reporting low flu transmission as of November 26.

Research Continues for Contraception for People Producing Sperm

Research has continued for a contraceptive that will work on people producing sperm, according to NPR. Clinical trials for contraception for people producing sperm are currently underway, including a trial for a topical gel applied to the shoulders. The gel, which includes synthetic hormones, would help lower sperm count until it would be safe to have intercourse without other contraceptive methods. Hormonal pills are also being looked into. Nonhormonal methods include injections that would stop the transport of sperm to the urethra. It may take up to 10 years before these methods are widely available.

Marijuana Use in Children Rises

A new study found that adolescent marijuana use, judged by reports to poison centers for children and teens, rose by 245%, according to ABC News. Increase in marijuana rates was found to be the highest of any substance reported in the National Poison Data System in the past 20 years, with the largest increase found from 2017 to 2020. The same study found that alcohol use reports have decreased in the same amount of time, with marijuana surpassing it by 2014. Men aged 16 to 18 years were found to be the mostly likely to be involved with reported cases regardless of substance.

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