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February 5, 2009, 6:22 AM CT

Hormone Replacement therapy indicted again

Hormone Replacement therapy indicted again
Postmenopausal women who take combined estrogen plus progestin menopausal hormone treatment for at least five years double their annual risk of breast cancer, as per new analyses from a major study that clearly establishes a link between hormone use and breast cancer, Stanford scientists say. The multi-center study also observed that women on hormones can quickly reduce their risks of cancer simply by stopping the treatment.

The study is a follow-up to the landmark Women's Health Initiative report of 2002, which observed that postmenopausal women taking estrogen plus progestin were at far greater risk of developing breast cancer and other serious conditions than women on placebo.

After publication of the WHI data, use of hormone treatment plummeted in the United States - from 60 million prescriptions in 2001 to 20 million in 2005. Breast cancer rates also declined significantly within the year, suggesting a strong link between hormone use and cancer risk. But some researchers still questioned the connection, saying the dip in breast cancer rates could not have occurred so rapidly and may have been correlation to patterns of mammogram use.

The latest study, however, should put those questions to rest, said Marcia Stefanick, PhD, professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and a co-author of the study.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 3, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Maternal drinking and behavioral dysfunction in children

Maternal drinking and behavioral dysfunction in children
While a number of people are aware that drinking during pregnancy can lead to a range of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), including the serious Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), linkages between maternal-drinking measures and child outcomes have been inconsistent. Scientists have now designed a "metric" or combination of measures that appear better able than individual measures to predict prenatal neurobehavioral dysfunction and deficits in children.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"The number of children being born with FAS remains unnecessarily high," said Lisa M. Chiodo, a researcher at Wayne State University and corresponding author for the study. "In part this is because it is difficult to identify patterns of drinking during pregnancy that put women's children at risk for FAS and other FASDs".

Chiodo said that eventhough there are several measures of maternal drinking during pregnancy, their ability to predict child outcomes especially cognitive and behavioral problems has been inconsistent. "We thought that combining a number of of the clinical and research measures of alcohol drinking into a single metric might help us find every child in our study who had been exposed to levels of alcohol that put them at risk," she said.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more


February 2, 2009, 6:27 AM CT

Restless syndrome in pregnancy

Restless syndrome in pregnancy
A study in the Feb. 1 issue of the journal Sleep shows that the elevation in estradiol levels that occurs during pregnancy is more pronounced in pregnant women with restless legs syndrome (RLS) than in controls.

During the last trimester of pregnancy, levels of the estrogenic steroid hormone estradiol were 34,211 pg/mL in women with RLS and 25,475 pg/mL in healthy controls. At three months postpartum, estradiol levels had dropped to 30.73 pg/mL in the RLS group and 94.92 pg/mL in controls. Other hormone levels did not differ significantly between the study groups.

As per the authors the data strongly suggest that estrogens play an important role in RLS during pregnancy. The study also supports prior reports of high RLS incidence in the last trimester of pregnancy when estradiol is maximally elevated.

"Our findings strongly support the concept that neuroactive hormones play a relevant pathophysiological role in RLS," said principal investigator Thomas Pollmacher, MD, director of the Center for Medical Health at Klinikum Ingolstadt and professor of psychiatry at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Gera number of. "This information will increase the understanding of RLS in pregnancy and will assist in the development of specific therapeutic approaches".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 29, 2009, 6:22 AM CT

Anxiety and depression and cancellation rates

Anxiety and depression and cancellation rates
Anxiety and depression before and during fertility therapy does not affect the likelihood of a woman becoming pregnant or of her cancelling her therapy, as per a research studypublished in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction [1] on Thursday 29 January.

Dr Bea Lintsen, a doctor at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (The Netherlands), and her colleagues used questionnaires to assess the levels of psychological distress in 783 women at two points before and during fertility therapy. Results from the 421 women who completed both questionnaires showed that levels of depression or anxiety either before or during fertility therapy had no influence over cancellation rates and did not predict pregnancy rates either.

Until now, studies of the links between anxiety and depression and the success of fertility therapy have been inconclusive. Dr Lintsen believes hers is the largest prospective study yet to look at the influence of distress on the outcome of a first IVF or ICSI therapy, and that the findings are reliable. However, she and her colleagues say the associations between psychological factors and pregnancy rates after IVF are complex and require further research into mediating factors such as lifestyle and sexual behaviour.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 28, 2009, 6:29 AM CT

What's the link between menopause and heart disease?

What's the link between menopause and heart disease?
An evaluation of 203 women as part of the multifaceted Los Angeles Atherosclerosis Study (LAAS) observed that those who transitioned more quickly through menopause were at increased risk for a higher rate of progression of "preclinical atherosclerosis" narrowing of arteries caused by the thickening of their walls.

Heart specialist C. Noel Bairey Merz, M.D., is principal investigator of the study. She is director of the Women's Heart Center and the Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. She serves as professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai and holds the Women's Guild Endowed Chair in Women's Health.

This observational study included 203 women between ages 45 and 60 at the time they entered the study. Fifty-two were premenopausal, 20 were perimenopausal and 131 were postmenopausal. None of the women had been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. They were reviewed when they entered the study and at two 18-month intervals, providing a snapshot over a three-year period of time.

Evaluations included carotid intimal-media thickness (cIMT) measurements and objective measures of menopausal status based on hormone levels and physiologic changes, not subjective factors, such as hot flashes and estimates of menstrual cycling.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 20, 2009, 6:29 AM CT

What your mother ate?

What your mother ate?
In the United States, there has been a recent dramatic rise in the number of children classified as obese and diagnosed with obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). One factor thought to contribute to this rise is obesity of the mother during pregnancy. However, a team of researchers, at Oregon Health and Science University, Beaverton, and the University of Colorado School of Medicine,.

Aurora, have found the offspring of both lean and obese nonhuman primate mothers chronically consuming a high-fat diet exhibited an increased risk of developing NAFLD. Importantly, if mothers fed a high-fat diet were reverted to a low-fat diet during a subsequent pregnancy, this second offspring exhibited fewer signs of NAFLD. The team, led by Kevin Grove and Jacob Friedman, therefore suggests that a developing fetus is highly susceptible to maternal consumption of excess fat, whether or not the mother is obese, and that a healthy maternal diet is most important for the obesity-related health of a developing fetus.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 14, 2009, 6:07 AM CT

You are Not What your Mother Eats

You are Not What your Mother Eats
Scientists S. Stanley Young, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Heejung Bang, Ph.D., of Cornell University and Kutluk Oktay. MD, FACOG, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director, Division of Reproductive Medicine & Infertility Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology from New York Medical College, wrote a paper, "Cereal-Induced Gender Selection? Most Likely a Multiple Testing False Positive," which has been reported in the January 14, 2009 online issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B The paper questions the claims made by Mathews, Johnson and Neil (2008) in their article "You are What your Mother Eats" that was reported in the April 22, 2008 Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and generated over 50,000 Google hits due to media interest.

Young, Bang & Oktay note that the original research by Mathews, Johnson & Neil implied that children of women who eat breakfast cereal are more likely to be boys than girls. Young, Bang & Oktay assert that the result of the original study is easily explained as chance. Young, Bang & Oktay examined the data sets from the original study and noted that 132 food items were tested for two time periods, totaling 264 statistical tests.

With this a number of tests, it is quite likely that some apparent statistical significance will occur simply by chance.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 12, 2009, 6:42 PM CT

Epidural anesthesia is safe

Epidural anesthesia is safe
The largest ever prospective study [1,2] into the major complications [3] of epidurals and spinal anaesthetics reported in the British Journal of Anaesthesia today (Monday 12 January 2009) concludes that prior studies have over-estimated the risks of severe complications of these procedures. The study concludes that the estimated risk of permanent harm following a spinal anaesthetic or epidural is lower than 1 in 20,000 and in a number of circumstances the estimated risk is considerably lower.

The study finds that the risk of permanent injury (of whatever severity) is about 1 in 23-50,000. In betting terms, the odds of being badly injured by an epidural or spinal anaesthetic are considerably better than 20,000-to-1 against. The risk of being paralysed by one of these injections is 2-3 times rarer than of suffering any permanent harm. The risk for women requiring pain relief for labour or Caesarean section is lower still, the most pessimistic estimate of permanent harm is 1 in 80,000 and it appears to be much lower. A similarly low risk was found in procedures performed for chronic pain and in children.

The study also finds that the risk of harm when an epidural is used for surgery is considerably higher than the estimated risk of using it during childbirth: between 1 in 6,000 and 1 in 12,000. However, while these figures may appear high, they too are still considerably lower than a number of prior estimates, and Dr Tim Cook, a consultant anaesthetist at the Royal United Hospital, Bath who led the project believes there are other reasons to explain these figures: "It has been known for a long time that these complications occur more often after surgery. The reason is likely to be that a number of of these patients are elderly with medical problems and that the process of having surgery itself increases risks. Major surgery leads to severe pain and may mean that an epidural has to stay in place for several days. Epidurals are generally only used for the biggest most painful operations and it is probably the least fit patients who have the most to gain from these techniques. What the project has shown is that a number of complications of epidurals occur after major surgery in elderly unhealthy patients. The risks must also be balanced against the generally accepted benefits of epidurals".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 8, 2009, 0:02 AM CT

Winter babies face socioeconomic disadvantages

Winter babies face socioeconomic disadvantages
A number of of us may often feel that we've been born under an unlucky sign. Now, new research by a pair of University of Notre Dame economists suggests that some of us are, in fact, born in an unlucky season.

In their paper, Kasey Buckles and Daniel Hungerman point out that a large body of prior research consistently has observed that people born in December, January and February are, on average, less educated, less intelligent, less healthy and lower paid than people born in other seasons.

A variety of explanations have been suggested for this phenomenon, including such social and natural factors as compulsory schooling laws, changes in climate and exposure to illness. However, the exact cause of the association between season of birth and later outcomes has never been precisely clear.

In the newly released study, Buckles and Hungerman analyzed U.S census data and birth certificates to determine if the typical woman giving birth in winter is any different from the typical woman giving birth at other times of the year.

They discovered that babies born in the winter are more likely to have mothers who are unmarried, who are teenagers or who lack a high school diploma. One explanation for the seasonal patterns in births is that summer's high temperatures inhibit sperm production. This seems to affect lower socioeconomic status women more adversely, which could explain why there are relatively fewer births to these women in the spring and early summer.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 7, 2009, 11:24 PM CT

Risks of choosing repeat cesarean

Risks of choosing repeat cesarean
Women choosing repeat cesarean deliveries and having them at term but before completing 39 weeks gestation are up to two times more likely to have a baby with serious complications including respiratory distress resulting in mechanical ventilation and NICU admission.

UAB researchers, led by Alan T.N. Tita, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and his colleagues reported as per a research findings published January 8 in the New England Journal (NEJM) that women who choose to have their babies delivered via repeat cesarean at 37 or 38 weeks without a medical or obstetric indication, risk serious complications for their child.

"The cesarean rate in the United States has risen dramatically, from 20.7 percent in 1996 to 31.1 percent in 2006. A major reason is the decline in attempted vaginal births after cesarean. Because elective cesareans can be scheduled to accommodate patient and doctor convenience, there is a risk that they appears to be performed earlier than is appropriate." Tita said. "We knew from prior small studies that infants born before 39 weeks' gestation are at increased risk for respiratory distress. Because nearly 40 percent of the cesareans performed in the United States each year are repeat procedures, we undertook this large study to describe the timing of elective repeat cesareans and assess its relationship with the risk of various adverse neonatal outcomes".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source



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Did you know?
The addition of testosterone to hormone therapy in women after menopause enhances their sexual function. However, it may also reduce HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in women, according to a systematic review of current evidence."If the reduction in HDL had been associated with an increase in triglycerides [fatty acids] or LDL cholesterol it would be of great concern," said Dr. Susan Davis, professor of medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and study co-author "However, as an isolated finding the significance is difficult to interpret." She added, "Testosterone has not been found to alter other coronary heart disease risk factors.".

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