CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics reports declining oral sex numbers in teens; people with blood type O may be less likely to get heart disease, according to study; and what are fair portrayals of mental illness victims? Read these and other health stories headlining public news on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012.

Philadelphia Inquirer — Medical debate: Should autism block a man from getting a heart transplant?
Twenty-three-year-old Paul Corby has a bad heart and a flawed mind. The question before doctors now is whether his mental problems – he has a form of autism – are severe enough to make him a bad candidate for a heart transplant. Doctors at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania have said they are, according to Paul’s mother, Karen. She disagrees and is using an online petition and the support of a network of autism advocates to make her case. Karen Corby says she was “stunned” by Penn’s decision, then inspired by another family’s successful fight with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia over a similar decision.

ABC News — CDC: Dip in oral sex among teens, but numbers still high
The National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released data today that revealed an overall decrease in oral sex among adolescents between 2002 and 2010, reflecting a similar small decline in vaginal intercourse within the same age group. A drop in oral sex was seen among females, but the numbers of males engaged in the behavior was the same.

Times of India — Daily dose of walnuts boost sperm quality
According to a new study by UCLA researchers, eating 75 grams of walnuts a day improves the vitality, motility, and morphology of sperm in healthy men aged 21 to 35. Dr. Wendie Robbins and her colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles decided to investigate whether increasing polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are critical for sperm maturation and membrane function, would increase sperm quality in men consuming a Western-style diet.

Medical News Today — Blood type may affect heart disease risk
A person’s blood type may affect their risk for heart disease, according to a new study that finds people with blood type A, B or AB were more likely to develop the disease than those with type O. However, the researchers said following a healthy lifestyle can still make a difference to protect people with the higher risk blood types.

Los Angeles Times — Mental illness sans clichés
Denny Crane calls it “mad cow,” but viewers of “Boston Legal” know William Shatner’s character is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Another character on the show, Jerry Espenson (played by Christian Clemenson), has strange tics, can’t keep his hands off his thighs, but, despite having obsessive-compulsive disorder, makes his living as a lawyer. Mental illness, long taboo or distorted by the media, is making its way into the fictional lives of television characters. Once, mentally ill people were commonly portrayed as homicidal maniacs, evil seductresses and assorted buffoons. Sometimes, they are still. But they are also lawyers, doctors, mobsters and detectives — not always lovable folks, but increasingly understandable human beings.

USA Today — Far more could be done to stop the deadly bacteria C. diff
Just days after doctors successfully removed a tumor from Bailey Quishenberry’s brain, the 14-year-old was spiraling downhill, delirious and writhing in pain from an entirely new menace. Her abdomen swollen 10 times its normal size and her fever skyrocketing, Bailey began wishing she could die, just to escape the agony. Bailey had contracted a potentially fatal infection called Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, that ravages the intestines. The bacteria preys on people in hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities — the very places patients trust to protect their health.