February 7, 2014
Women’s rights are good for men’s health
(Phys.org) – In societies where women are equal to men, males stand a better chance of living longer, a new study shows. Researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and colleagues found gender differences in mortality rates are higher in more patriarchal societies. Men living in the top 25 percent most patriarchal societies were 31 percent more likely to die than men in the least patriarchal quartile, compared to mortality rates for women. This only includes the societies with high quality infrastructures that provide reliable data; the true difference may be even higher, according to the study led by U-M researcher Daniel Kruger.
February 6, 2014
At 90, this doctor is still calling
(New York Times) – Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynecologist who has spent most of her life in Ethiopia, is a 21st-century Mother Teresa. She has revolutionized care of a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula, which occurs when the baby gets stuck in the birth canal and there is no doctor to perform a cesarean section. As many as two million women (and often young teenage girls) worldwide suffer from fistulas. The babies die, and the woman is left incontinent with urine and sometimes feces trickling through her vagina.
Female genital mutilation: Hospitals to log victims
(BBC) – Doctors and nurses in the UK are to be told to log details of the injuries suffered by victims of female genital mutilation (FGM). The move is designed to gather more information on the practice, which was outlawed in the UK in 1985. The children’s charity, NSPCC, which set up a FGM helpline seven months ago, says it has already received 153 calls. At least 66,000 girls and women in the UK are believed to be victims of FGM.
February 3, 2014
Abortions at more than 30-year low in United States
(UPI) – American women are having abortions at the lowest rate in more than 30 years, a study released Monday shows. The report from the Guttmacher Institute in New York found there were 1.1 million abortions reported in the United States in 2011, the New York Times reported. That is about 16.9 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age.
Seeking the genetic underpinnings of lupus
(Medical Xpress) – Lupus is one of the most enigmatic of diseases. It can take years to diagnose, marked as it is by a laundry list of seemingly unrelated symptoms: fever, fatigue, rashes, hair loss, sensitivity to light, seizures and even psychosis. Nearly 2 million Americans have some form of lupus, an autoimmune disorder, that is, one in which the immune system wages war on the body’s own cells and tissues. More than 90 percent of those who suffer from it are women—and there is no cure.
January 31, 2014
A New Edition of The Journal of the American Medical Association is Available
The Journal of the American Medical Association (Volume 311, No. 4, January 22, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “The Accelerated Approval of Oncologic Drugs: Lessons From Ponatinib” by Vinay Prasad and Sham Mailankody
- “Improving the Drug Development Process: More Not Less Randomized Trials” by Benjamin Djulbegovic, et al.
- “Time to Get Over It” by Ellen D. Feld
- “Hormone Therapy Use and Outcomes in the Women’s Health Initiative Trials” by Eric Roehm
- “Hormone Therapy Use and Outcomes in the Women’s Health Initiative Trials—Reply” by JoAnn E. Manson, et al.
- “Public Health Officials Mark 50th Year of Measles Vaccine: Concern Remains About Outbreaks in Pockets of Unvaccinated” by Bridget M. Kuehn
- “Pertussis Vaccine May Not Prevent Spread” by Bridget M. Kuehn
January 21, 2014
In conservative Pakistan, politician and others challenge taboos hiding rise of breast cancer
One in nine women in Pakistan will face breast cancer during their life, with the country itself having the highest rate of the disease across Asia, according to the breast cancer awareness group PinkRibbon, oncologists and other aid groups. Yet discussing it remains taboo in a conservative, Islamic culture where the word breast is associated with sexuality instead of health and many view it as immoral for women to go to the hospital for screenings or discuss it even within their family. (Associated Press)
January 16, 2014
A New Edition of Medical Law International is Available
Medical Law International (Volume 13, No. 2-3, June 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Sex selection and sex-selective abortion: Lessons to be learnt from a comparison between the United Kingdom and the North Indian state of Punjab” by Mandeep Dyal
- “Comparative reflections upon the Assisted Dying Bill 2013: A plea for a more European approach” by Samantha Halliday
- “Delivering proportionate governance in the era of eHealth: Making linkage and privacy work together” by Nayha Sethi and Graeme T. Laurie
A New Edition of The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy is Available
The Journal of Medicine & Philosophy (Volume 39, No. 1, February 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Deliberative Clinical Ethics: Getting Back to Basics in the Work of Clinical Ethics and Clinical Ethicists” by Laurence B. McCullough
- “Make Her a Virgin Again: When Medical Disputes about Minors are Cultural Clashes” by Loretta M. Kopelman
- “Resisting the Siren Call of Individualism in Pediatric Decision-Making and the Role of Relational Interests” by Erica K. Salter
- “Reproductive Choice, Enhancement, and the Moral Continuum Argument” by Erik Malmqvist
- “Reconceiving the Therapeutic Obligation” by David Merli and Joshua A. Smith
- “The Hippocratic Thorn in Bioethics’ Hide: Cults, Sects, and Strangeness” by Tom Koch
- “Systematic Reviews in Bioethics: Types, Challenges, and Value” by Rosalind Mcdougall
Parental leave policies best promote gender equality and well-being in women’s health
Government policies that allow both parents to take time off after a child is born provide positive benefits for the physical and mental health of women, according to a literature review that looked at the influence of public policies on women’s overall health. The findings were published today in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews. Parental leave policies tended to reduce the physical and mental stress levels in women who, historically, held the majority of the burden childcare and household responsibilities, said Dr. Patricia O’Campo, director of the Centre for Research on Inner City Health of St. Michael’s Hospital. (Medical Xpress)
January 9, 2014
Thousands of breast cancer sufferers carry ‘survival’ protein
Tens of thousands of women suffering breast cancer could be spared from chemotherapy or radiotherapy after scientists discovered a ‘survival protein’ which predicts if they will survive from surgery alone. Researchers found that women with high levels of the protein had lower grade tumours, longer intervals between cancer returning and lower death rates over five years. (The Telegraph)
‘Heat maps’ find cervical cancer
A new test that uses heat to examine blood can be used to detect cancer, according to US scientists. The “plasma thermogram” examines the proteins inside blood, including those produced by tumours. A study, in the journal Plos One, showed the test could detect cervical cancer and how advanced it was. Cancer Research UK said thermograms might improve detection, but more evidence on the accuracy and reliability was needed. (BBC)
January 8, 2014
A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine is Available
The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 370, No. 1, January 2, 2014) is now available online by subscription only.
- “Physicians and the (Woman’s) Body Politic” by R.A. Charo
- “Asia’s Ascent — Global Trends in Biomedical R&D Expenditures” by J. Chakma, et al.
- “The Road toward Fully Transparent Medical Records” by J. Walker
- “History of Medicine: Doctors and the Dangers of Driving” by D.S. Jones
- “Global Health: Global Effects of Smoking, of Quitting, and of Taxing Tobacco” by P. Jha and R. Peto
- “Contraception at Risk” by The Editors
January 6, 2014
‘Every cell has a sex’
It doesn’t take a medical degree to know that men and women are different, but it will take sex-specific research to better understand how cellular and molecular differences in males and females affect every aspect of our health. The phrase “every cell has a sex’’ captures the essence of how fundamentally different men and women are when it comes to health. (The Boston Globe)
January 3, 2014
Irish law clarifying abortion grounds comes into force
A law has come into force in the Republic of Ireland – traditionally Roman Catholic – setting out for the first time when abortion is permitted. It was passed in July, after the death of a woman refused abortion highlighted the lack of legal clarity. The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act allows terminations where there is a threat to the life of the mother. (BBC)
December 23, 2013
Stem cell therapy helps girl beat birth defect
In a first of its kind case in India, stem cell therapy came to the rescue of a 19-year-old city girl who was suffering from delayed puberty and was unlikely to conceive. The B Sc (biotechnology) student was suffering from a very rare congenital abnormality. Her endometrium, the lining on the inside of the uterus that ensures a normal menstrual cycle, was absent. (Times of India)
December 19, 2013
Virgin births make up 0.5% of deliveries: IVF, chastity pledges, and the problem with imprinting genes
With Christmas all but a week away, what better way for scientists to spend the holiday season than researching modern day cases of virgin birth? As it turns out, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found the number to be slightly greater than zero. In fact, out of the 7,870 women surveyed as part of the U.S. National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), 0.5 percent of respondents confirmed their status as virgins who, without the use of assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization, still reported having given birth. (Medical Daily)
December 16, 2013
El Salvador abortion ban
Strongly influenced by Catholic teachings, the country of El Salvador now forbids all abortions. Fred de Sam Lazaro reports from San Salvador on the consequences for many women when abortion is considered murder, regardless of the circumstances. (PBS)
December 13, 2013
Human trafficking in Costa Rica
There were 28 reported victims of human trafficking reported up in Cota Rica up to October 2013 for this year. Thirteen fell victim to organ extraction and trafficking rings, according to a U.N. report from the Office on Drugs and Crime and the Costa Rican Judicial Investigation Police. (The Costa Rican Times)
December 12, 2013
A New Edition of The New England Journal of Medicine is Available
The New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 369, No. 23, December 5, 2013) is now available online by subscription only.
- “The Road toward Fully Transparent Medical Records” by J. Walker, et al.
- “How Early Should Obesity Prevention Start?” by M.W. Gillman and D.S. Ludwig
- “Adding Value to Relative-Value Units” by E.C. Stecker and S.A. Schroeder
- “Assessing Participant-Centered Outcomes to Improve Clinical Research” by R.G. Kost, et al.
- “Global Health: Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health — So Near and Yet So Far” by Z.A. Bhutta and R.E. Black
Drug halves breast cancer occurrence in women at high risk
Older women with a strong family history of breast cancer might soon have a new, safer option to help them avoid developing the disease. New research led by Dr. Jack Cuzick, head of the Cancer Research the U.K.’s Center for Cancer Prevention, looked at a drug called anastrozole, a therapy already used to stave off breast cancer recurrence in postmenopausal women who have experienced the disease. (ABC News)