A pilot investigation performed by a group of Italian investigators and published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics indicates that supportive-expressive group therapy is helpful in patients with breast cancer. So far, no study has tested supportive-expressive group therapy (SEGT) in cancer patients with an established psychiatric diagnosis. The aim of this 6-month follow-up study was to evaluate breast cancer patients with an ICD-10 diagnosis of affective syndromes participating in SEGT and a group of breast cancer patients with no ICD-10 diagnosis. A total of 214 patients were examined in the screening phase (T0) using the ICD-10, the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Mini-Mental Adjustment-to-Cancer Scale (Mini-MAC), the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, the Openness Scale and the Cancer Worries Inventory (CWI). Those with an ICD-10 diagnosis of affective syndromes received 16-24 sessions of SEGT (90-min sessions, once a week), while those with no ICD-10 diagnosis were followed up.
A new US study suggests that regular taking of aspirin is linked to increased survival after a breast cancer diagnosis and also to a lower risk of the disease recurring. However, as this was an observational study that suggests a possible link and not a clinical trial, the researchers recommended women do not use these findings as a reason to start taking aspirin as a way to increase survival from, and prevent recurrence of, breast cancer. An article on the study by senior author Dr Michelle Holmes of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues, appears in the 16 February online issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology. According to a Reuters report, Holmes told the press that: "This is the first study to find that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death for women who have been treated for early stage breast cancer." Previous studies in animals and lab cultures have suggested that aspirin may reduce the risk of breast cancer spread.
New York Times Editorial Praises DOD Decision To Stock Emergency Contraception At Military Facilities
The Department of Defense's decision to stock emergency contraception at military facilities worldwide "marked welcome, if overdue, progress in meeting the needs of women serving the United States in the military, " a New York Times editorial states. The move came after the Pentagon's Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee voted in November 2009 to include EC on the list of mandatory drugs for military facilities. The panel issued similar recommendations in 2002, but the Bush administration "chose to ill-treat servicewomen -- including victims of sexual assault -- to placate antiabortion extremists who view emergency contraception as a form of abortion." The military's exclusion of EC from its facilities became even "harder to justify" once FDA approved the medication for over-the-counter sales. The DOD's decision to offer EC "is all the more significant given the serious, continuing problem of sexual assaults among service members, " according to the editorial. "Next, Pentagon officials and members of Congress need to address the callous treatment of servicewomen with regard to abortion, " the editorial continues, noting that military facilities currently can offer abortion only in cases of incest, rape or danger to the woman's life.
Migraine is seen more frequently in women with multiple sclerosis (MS) than those without, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010. "While having a history of migraine diagnosis was linked to MS, women with migraine need to know that over 99 percent of them will never develop MS, thus having migraine should definitely not be a reason to worry about getting MS, " said study author Ilya Kister, MD, with New York University School of Medicine and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "More research is needed since it's still not known whether migraine is a risk factor for developing MS or if it is a condition that occurs at the same time as MS." The study involved 116, 678 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study II. Of these women, 18, 000 had been diagnosed with migraine at the start of the study. The women were followed every two years for 16 years.
While interviewing for postgraduate residency positions soon after giving birth to her third child, Dr. Sharona Ross recalls, she was very hesitant to bring up her infant and two small children at home. She thought it would hurt her chances for a career in surgery. A decade later, when the University of South Florida surgeon interviews aspiring surgeons about their career plans, she enthusiastically talks about her family - her husband their four children, ages 4, 9, 13 and 15 - hoping they will feel comfortable broaching the topic. She wants the young women she mentors to know that, with planning and support, they can successfully juggle a rewarding career in surgery with family and motherhood. "Multi-tasking is a definite strength many women bring to the table, " said Dr. Ross, assistant professor of surgery and director of surgical endoscopy at USF Health. More than 50 percent of medical students are now women, yet only 6 percent consider careers in surgery. Even fewer end up in surgical residencies, opting instead for specialties like pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, dermatology or internal medicine.
Washington Times columnist Cheryl Wetzstein writes that a recent Indiana University School of Medicine chlamydia study "hints at serious flaws in the condom approach" to reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. According to Wetzstein, "Now that the Obama administration and Democrat-led Congress have jettisoned federal abstinence-education funding, sex education that stresses condom use to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases will dominate classrooms and communities." The study -- published in the January issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases -- tracked nearly 400 teen girls for several years through meetings with health care workers every three months. At the meetings, the teens "received sound public health messages; i.e., if you want to avoid chlamydia, don't have sex, and if you must have sex, be sure to use a condom, " Wetzstein writes. The teens received regular chlamydia tests, and 54% were treated for infection, while 120 teens acquired two or more infections during the duration of the study.
The antiabortion-rights group Family Policy Council of West Virginia issued a statement Wednesday calling on state lawmakers to support abstinence-only sex education and oppose legislation that would expand insurance coverage of contraception for teens, the Charleston Gazette reports. Earlier in the week, several reproductive-rights groups -- led by WV FREE -- held a press conference advocating for passage of a House bill ( HB 4272 ) that would require health insurers to cover contraceptives for teens who are insured through their parents' plans. At the event, organizers said they hoped the legislation would receive support from antiabortion-rights groups because expanding access to contraception could lower the rate of unintended teen pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion. West Virginia has the 18th highest teen birth rate among states. In his press release, Family Policy Council President Jeremy Dys said WV FREE's stance encourages teens to "experiment with risky, premarital sexual behavior.
A recent study showing that an experimental abstinence-only sex education program was effective in delaying sexual activity among teenagers is far from the last word in the debate over sex education, the Boston Globe reports. According to the Globe, the study's results come at a "pivotal point" in the debate, as the latest data show that the U.S. teen pregnancy rate rose in 2006 for the first time in since the early 1990s. The sex education study, conducted by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, found that sixth- and seventh-graders in Philadelphia who were enrolled in an abstinence-only program that did not include a moralistic message were less likely to become sexually active than students who completed a comprehensive program that included information about contraception. The results of the new study have reopened the "tinderbox that is sex education" and shown that it is "as combustible as ever, " the Globe reports. Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign To Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said the debate over sex education "is a mini culture war.
When it comes to violent nonfiction, men are from Mars, the planet of war, but women are from Earth, the planet of serial killings and random murders. A new study found that, when given a choice of violent reading material, women overwhelmingly opted to read true stories about the death and dismemberment of victims much like themselves. Men, however, were more likely to choose nonfiction books about war or gang violence than those in the "true crime" genre. The study appears in Social Psychological and Personality Science. "We found that women were more likely than men to choose the true crime book versus the war or the gang violence book and also that they expected to enjoy it more, " said Amanda Vicary, a graduate student who conducted the study with University of Illinois psychology professor R. Chris Fraley. The research began with an analysis of reviews posted on the Web site Amazon.com by readers of books in the true crime and war genres. Coding usernames for gender, the researchers found that women wrote 70 percent of the reviews of books about true crime, while men wrote 82 percent of the reviews of books on war.
Also In Global Health News: Boosting Banana Production; Measles Vaccines In Bangladesh; NTDs; Burkina Faso Maternal Care; Health Care, HIV In S.A.
Moderate Fertilizer Use Could Double Banana Production In East Africa, Improve Food Security A study of almost 200 farms in Uganda, funded by USAID and carried out by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), found that moderate use of mineral fertilizers could double banana production in East Africa and improve the lives of more than 70 million people dependent on the crop for food and income, the East African/allAfrica.com reports (Mande, 2/15). A majority of banana growers in the region make no use of fertilizers, the study found, afrol News writes (2/12). In related news, Pana/Afrique en ligne reports that new maize varieties, developed by IITA and partners, could boost food security in West and Central Africa. The varieties "aim to overcome the major constraints to maize production in the sub-region, including drought, low soil fertility, pest, diseases and parasitic plants" (2/15). Bangladesh Launches Nationwide Campaign Against Measles IRIN reports on a two-week measles vaccination campaign targeting more than 20 million children living in Bangladesh.