November 20, 2006
Carson City, Calif.
A: The first vaccine to prevent human papilloma virus, called Gardasil, become available this year. The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in June to recommended the vaccine (a series of three shots given over a six-month period) for all girls and women ages 9 to 26. It's best if the vaccine is given before a female becomes sexually active.
Even though you've already been diagnosed with HPV, you should still talk to your doctor about whether you should get the vaccine. Gardasil protects against four strains of HPV that together cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. Few young women are infected with all four of these HPV strains, so you could still get protection from the vaccine for the types you have not acquired.
For more information about the HPV vaccine, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-vaccine.htm .
— Shari Roan
Q: I am wondering about using these new, very thin running shoes on asphalt or concrete. Would frequent running without orthopedic support (in the arch, mainly) on a hard, flat surface cause some injury? I guess I'm thinking that the foot evolved to run on grass or dirt, which is a lot softer than concrete.
A: Running without a properly supportive shoe may lead to problems with tendinitis, according to Dr. Bob Baravarian, a podiatrist at the Foot & Ankle Institute of Santa Monica. In addition, landing on rocks, pebbles or rough material can cause wounds that may be difficult to heal. Not every runner needs supportive shoes, Baravarian adds, but most require some level of support for long runs in order to avoid problems, particularly if they have low arches. Baravarian has misgivings about the increasing popular practice of barefoot running. Yes, he says, it's done in some African tribes, but most of these practitioners have run barefoot since childhood and their feet have adapted to the running surface.
— Janet Cromley
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