September 2012

‘This Is Personal’ Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights

The 2012 election cycle has seen unprecedented coverage (and often misinformation) on women’s reproductive health care due to the Affordable Care Act’s immediate impact and nonstop campaign gaffes related to women’s health.

Last Thursday, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) launched a new campaign to improve access to women’s health information called This Is Personal. The mission of the campaign is to target, engage and inform younger women about reproductive rights and help disseminate information related to women’s health topics ranging from contraception, maternity care, and what Congress is presently voting on.

Female whales have long menopause to protect male offspring

Did you know that female whales have the longest menopause of any non-human species?  It appears that it may be a way to protect male killer whales who need Mom’s protection to survive.

In a study published in the journal Science, researchers found that for a male whale over 30, the death of his mother means an almost 14-fold increase in the risk he will also die within the following year.  Males whose mothers live well beyond their reproductive years are more likely also to live to older age.

Learn More About NIH Initiatives For Women’s Health

Have you ever wanted to know more about where your tax dollars are going when they are allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) or what particular women’s health research is being carried out by the federal agency? Enter, the new NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT). This “one stop shop” allows users to access data, analyses and reports on NIH activities, including the agencies expenditures and research results.

Older Women and the Medicare Program

In the US, older women rely on the Medicare program disproportionality and significantly more than men. Not only do women make up more than half of the Medicare beneficiaries, we comprise about 70 percent of the oldest (over 85 years old) beneficiaries and are more likely to have multiple chronic conditions.

Acupuncture and chronic pain

Acupuncture provides more relief from various types of chronic pain than does usual care and should be considered a valid therapeutic option, according to Andrew J. Vickers, DPhil of Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC and colleagues who conducted  a meta-analysis of raw data from 29 studies.

For back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headache, pain scores among patients treated with acupuncture were  below the pain scores for patients receiving sham acupuncture. The pain score improvement was even larger when acupuncture was compared with no acupuncture, the researchers reported online in Archives of Internal Medicine.

More women needed in clinical trials

In the past, researchers excluded women from many studies and applied information based only on male participants to the experience of both men and women. Researchers did not design research to specifically investigate the differences between males and females because many people did not believe such differences existed. We now know many differences do exist and play a major role in the biological and physiological experiences of women and men.

Addressing fertility preservation for young cancer patients

Oncofertility is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of oncology and reproductive medicine that expands fertility options for young cancer survivors. Experts in this field identify which cancer treatments are likely to damage later reproductive ability for men, women, and children and develop new fertility preservation methods. In addition, these scientists are also identifying cancer treatments that may be “fertoprotective” and prevent damage to the reproductive organs during cancer treatment. Every year, experts in this field meet to discuss the recent advances in oncofertility scientific and medical treatment.

Women fare poorer in Alzheimer’s progression

New research shows that women with Alzheimer’s disease show worse mental deterioration than men, even when at the same stage of the the disease.

According to researchers at the University of Hertfordshire, men with Alzheimer’s consistently performed better than women across the five cognitive areas they examined.

Most remarkably, the verbal skills of women with Alzheimer’s are worse when compared to men with the disease.   This finding is a striking difference to the profile for the healthy population where females have a distinct advantage.

Vitamin D may not impact heart risk in older women

According to a new study, vitamin D supplements may not reduce heart risks in older women as previously suggested. At total of 305 healthy postmenopausal women aged 60-70 yr were recruited and received a daily capsule of 400 or 1000 IU vitamin D3 or placebo.  Investigators found that the supplements did not have much of an impact on cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.

Source:  Wood  J of Cl Endo & Metabolism, Aug 3, 2012.