Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:

Boys Hit Puberty Younger

The New York Times recently highlighted researching showing that boys hit puberty younger but it is unclear as to why:

A large study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that boys are entering puberty earlier now than several decades ago — or at least earlier than the time frame doctors have historically used as a benchmark.

The study, widely considered the most reliable attempt to measure puberty in American boys, estimates that boys are showing signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than was reported in previous research, which historically taught that 11 ½ was the general age puberty began in boys. But experts cautioned that because previous studies were smaller or used different approaches, it is difficult to say how much earlier boys might be developing.

The study echoes research on girls, which has now established a scientific consensus that they are showing breast development earlier than in the past.

The study did not try to determine what might be causing earlier puberty, although it mentioned changes in diet, less physical activity and other environmental factors as possibilities. Experts said that without further research, implications for boys are unclear.

Dolores J. Lamb, a molecular endocrinologist at Baylor College of Medicine and president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, who was not involved in the study said:

“This should perhaps set a standard going forward for being very attentive to puberty in boys and being mindful that they’re developing earlier.  Whether the difference is as large as what they say on some papers 40 years ago is not clear.” However, she added, “this is going to be incredibly useful to pediatricians and urologists.”

The new study also found that African-American boys began puberty earlier than whites and Hispanics, a result that other studies have shown also applies to African-American girls. Researchers said that difference is most likely driven by the role of genes in puberty.

On average, black boys in the study showed signs of puberty, primarily identified as growth of the testicles, at a little older than 9, while white and Hispanic boys were a little older than 10.

Several experts said the study should not be seized upon as cause for alarm, but rather as a way to help parents and doctors gauge what to be aware of in boys’ development and whether to start conversations about social issues sooner.

For the study, researchers enlisted about 200 pediatricians in 41 states to record information on 4,131 healthy boys ages 6 to 16 during their well-child exams.

Funny stories from around the world

Some more funny and random headlines from around the world:

  • South Africa’s Zuma in dog row: South Africa’s government seeks to clarify remarks by President Jacob Zuma, who angered dog lovers by reportedly saying pets were part of white culture.
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  • US man admits dinosaur smuggling: A fossils dealer admits smuggling dinosaur bones into the US, including the skeleton of a 70 million-year-old Tyrannosaurus bataar from Mongolia.
  • Wikipedia’s most searched revealed: Articles about Facebook, cul-de-sacs, adult video actresses, One Direction and the @ symbol are among some of 2012’s most clicked Wikipedia pages.
  • Kim and Kanye expecting baby: The rapper Kanye West and his girlfriend Kim Kardashian are expecting a baby.
  • Blood of Louis XVI ‘identified’: Scientists say an old dried out squash contains the blood of beheaded French King Louis XVI, and a genetic link with the mummified head of Henri IV.
  • Woman trapped in shop at new year: While most people celebrated New Year’s Eve with parties and fireworks one pensioner in France spent the night alone in a locked supermarket.
  • Author offers role to dog rescuer: US author Dennis Lehane, who wrote Shutter Island and Mystic River, pledges to name a new character after the person who returns his missing pet dog.
  • Kenya ‘fake police chief’ charged: A Kenyan man is charged after allegedly pretending to be an assistant commissioner of police for five years – during which time he reportedly sacked and recruited police officers.
  • China wedding boom on ‘lucky day’: Thousands of couples across China rush to marry on 4 January, because the Mandarin wording for the date sounds like a promise of eternal love.