December 2012

Mental Health Access for Mothers

I ran across this very powerful article written by Liza Long for Gawker. Liza is a mother. A mother dealing with a child’s mental health issues, like many women in this country.

Although I have avoided most coverage of the tragedy in Connecticut, I have spent a great amount of time thinking about the present state of mental health care and access in the United States. This piece addresses both the importance of having access to health care needs, but also the numerous and painful difficulties of a mother dealing with a violent child.

I highly recommend reading not only the article, but some of the 900+ comments. The commentary speaks volumes about the issues mothers deal with and the impact mental health care (and lack thereof) can have on families.

Women who had childhood cancer may have earlier menopause

When female childhood cancer survivors grow up, are they more likely to experience an earlier onset of menopause?  If so, what are the risk factors associated with early menopause?  These were the questions asked by researchers at the French public hospital organization (AP-HP), the Institute Gustave Roussy, and the Universite Paris-Sud.  Their study, published in the November 12th edition of Human Reproduction ( and summarized on the

Beware of Reindeer on Christmas Eve!

‘Tis the season for reindeer watching as children listen for Santa and his sleigh bells, but beware!  A study from Sweden reports that reindeer may be carrying the larvae of a bumble-like fly called Hypoderma tarandi.  Its eggs laid in the hair of reindeer hatch into larvae that penetrate the skin like a needle. The larvae mature into flies that burst out of the skin and begin the cycle all over again—and can even lay their eggs in humans!

U.N. Looks to Ban Female Genital Mutilation

On November 28, the United Nations’ (U.N.) human rights committee approved a resolution calling for a ban of female genital mutilation (FGM) throughout the world. The human rights committee condemned the practice as “a harmful and serious threat to the psychological, sexual, and reproductive health of women and girls.” This is the first resolution regarding this topic passed in the U.N., and its Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon believes it is a major step forward in protecting millions of women and girls (

Guns and the Constitution

The recent tragedy at the elementary school in Connecticut is beyond horrible and our hearts reach out to the families who lost their innocent children and friends.  Though I am not a supporter of guns and would never own one, I acknowledge that the U.S.  Constitutional gives us the legal right to ‘bear arms’ in this country but struggle with the interpretation of the law.

Stroke and birth control pills

The relative risks of thrombotic stroke and myocardial infarction (MI) are higher among users of hormonal contraception, although absolute risks remain low, a Danish study conducted at Copenhagen University  showed.

Use of oral contraceptives combining low-to-moderate doses of ethinyl estradiol and various progestins was associated with up to 2.3 times the risks of thrombotic stroke or MI compared with non-use.The type of progestin in the pill had little effect on the risks, the researchers reported in the June 14 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

To put the risk in perspective, they estimated that among 10,000 women taking a pill combining desogestrel with ethinyl estradiol at a dose of 20 μg for 1 year, two will have arterial thrombosis and seven will have venous thrombosis.

Is it time for easier access to contraception?

Several health experts are proposing to make the birth control pill available in the U.S.  without a prescription (as they are in many parts of the world). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)  released a statement calling for oral contraceptives to be sold over-the-counter, no longer requiring a doctor’s prescription.

ACOG considered a host of issues, including the safety of birth control pills; whether pharmacists should have a screening role (which could raise the moral objection issue) ; adherence to taking the pill; whether women would skip other preventive care if they didn’t visit a health care provider for a prescription; and cost.

What you need to know about medications

The Women’s Health Research Institute just published its December on-line monthly newsletter.   It discusses drug safety, bioidentical hormones, generics and online pharmacies.  To read, click HERE and scroll down to “Using Medicine Wisely”.


Mesothelioma Cancer among women

Mesothelioma is typically regarded as a men’s cancer.  The primary cause – occupational asbestos exposure – was the biggest threat in male-dominated industries, such as mining, construction and factory work. During the early and mid-20th century, when asbestos was most heavily used by manufacturers, women made up only a small percentage of the workforce.  However, female patients continue to come forward, sharing their stories of how they ended up with this aggressive disease.