Health and Fitness

New York Times Editorial, Opinion Piece Examine Impact Of Abstinence-Only Programs

A recent study by the Guttmacher Institute examining teenage pregnancy, birth and abortion rates "suggests the wisdom" of President Obama's decision to "redirect sex-education financing from an abstinence-only approach to broader, more-effective programs that provide information to young people about contraceptives, pregnancy and sexually transmitted [infections], " a New York Times editorial states. According to the Times, the study found that the pregnancy rates among teens ages 15 through 19 rose by 3% from 2005 to 2006, marking "a troubling departure after more than a decade of declining teenage pregnancy." The study found a 1% increase in the teenage abortion rate "for the first time in more than a decade, " the editorial says. "It remains to be seen whether these increases represent a longer-term trend, " the editorial adds, noting that "a number of factors contributed to the upticks, " including declining contraception use by teenagers. However, Guttmacher "also sees a link between the rise in the teenage pregnancy and abortion rates and the Bush administration's reliance on abstinence-only sex education programs that bar teaching about contraception, " the editorial continues, adding, "This is not an unreasonable inference.

For Menstrual Pain, NSAIDs May Be More Effective Than Paracetamol

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may be more effective for relieving period pain than paracetamol, according to the update of a Cochrane Review. However, it remains unclear whether any one NSAID is safer or more effective than others. Period pain affects a high proportion of women: up to 72% in a recent Australian survey of 16-49 year olds. It is thought to be caused by an excess or imbalance of certain hormones released by the body during menstrual periods, including one called prostaglandin. NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen are commonly used for period pain. The updated review includes data from 73 trials carried out in 18 different countries and involving a total of 5, 156 women. The trials compared NSAIDs with placebo, with each other, and with paracetamol. The review shows that NSAIDs are very effective for treating period pain compared with placebo. This applied to all NSAIDs tested except aspirin, for which there was only limited evidence of effectiveness.

Strong New Evidence Links Retail Meat To Urinary Tract Infections

Chicken sold in supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets may place young women at risk of urinary tract infections (UTI), McGill researcher Amee Manges has discovered. Samples taken in the Montreal area between 2005 and 2007, in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Guelph, provide strong new evidence that E. coli ( Escherichia coli ) bacteria originating from these food sources can cause common urinary tract infections. Eating contaminated meat or food does not directly lead to a UTI. While some E. coli such as O157:H7 can cause serious intestinal disease, these E. coli bacteria can live in the intestine without causing problems. In women however, the bacteria can travel from the anus to the vagina and urethra during sex, which can lead to the infection. The research team is also investigating whether livestock may be passing antimicrobial-resistant bacteria on to humans. This is due to the use of antibiotics to treat or prevent disease in the animals and to enhance their growth, which may lead them to develop resistance to the medication.

Questioning The Change In Mammography Guidelines

The methodology and evidence behind a widely publicized change in national mammography guidelines is questionable, according to a review in the Journal of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (JDMS), published by SAGE. In November 2009, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine discussing the screening techniques for the early detection of breast cancer. A few isolated portions of that report, regarding recommended changes for the use of mammography, were widely discussed in the media, and garnered tremendous public attention. This new JDMS article provides an evidenced-based review of the work and recommendations contained in the USPSTF report and raises the question whether the controversial conclusions for breast cancer screening were supported by established scientific measurement and research standards. The JDMS review found low methodological scores in the USPSTF report, which may place in question the recommendations generated from the report.

Blogs Comment On Antiabortion Super Bowl Ad, Tiller Murder Trial, Other Topics

The following summarizes selected women's health-related blog entries. ~ " Center for Reproductive Rights' Letter to CBS: Tebow Story Raises Serious Accuracy Questions, " Nancy Northup, Huffington Post blogs: In a letter to CBS over its plans to air an antiabortion-rights Focus on the Family ad during the Super Bowl, Center for Reproductive Rights President Northup asks the network to "reconsider" the decision. It is "essential" that the network determine whether the ad "meets CBS's own standards with regard to accuracy and advocacy, " Northup says. She writes that the Associated Press in a Jan. 16 article "reported that 'the commercial is likely to be an antiabortion message chronicling Pam Tebow's 1987 pregnancy'" while she was working in the Philippines as a missionary. Northup notes that abortion has been illegal in the Philippines since 1870 and that "Filipino law does not contain a single exception to its abortion ban -- not even to save the life of the pregnant woman or to protect her health.

Routine Antibiotic Use Reduces Mothers' Infection Risk From C-Section

Having a baby by Caesarean section is becoming increasingly common, despite the higher risks associated with the surgery compared to a vaginal birth. One important concern is the risk of infection, which is between five and 20 times greater for women who undergo scheduled or emergency Caesarean section. In fact, "the single most important risk factor for postpartum maternal infection is Caesarean section, " according to a new Cochrane review. The researchers looked at 86 studies involving more than 13, 000 women to determine whether the use of antibiotics to prevent infection was beneficial. According to review findings, giving prophylactic or preventive antibiotics to women undergoing Caesarean section reduced the incidence of fever by 45 percent, wound infection by 39 percent, inflammation of the uterine lining by 38 percent and serious infectious complications for the mother by 31 percent. "The most salient points [of the review] are that antibiotic prophylaxis is effective in preventing infectious complications post-Caesarean section, whether elective or emergency, " said lead review author Fiona Smaill, M.

Next Summer's G-8 Summit To Focus On Maternal, Child Health, Canadian Prime Minister Says

"As president of the G-8 in 2010, Canada will champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world's poorest regions, " Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper writes in a Toronto Star editorial. Canada will lay out its plans as president of the G-8 and host of June's G-20 summit when global leaders meet this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Harper says. According to Harper, "The world's poor have been hit hardest by the global economic downturn, and in these difficult times we must address their pressing needs." He continues, "Each year, it is estimated that 500, 000 women lose their lives during pregnancy or childbirth, " adding that "an astonishing nine million children die before their fifth birthday." Harper writes, "This is simply not acceptable." The United Nations' Millennium Development Goals called for reducing the number of pregnancy-related deaths by 75% by 2015, according to Harper. "It now appears this target will go unfulfilled, " he says, adding, "What makes it worse is that the bulk of deaths during pregnancy -- experts claim as many as 80% -- are easily preventable.

Haitian Earthquake Creates Especially Dire Situation For Pregnant Women, Children

In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, nearly 37, 000 pregnant Haitian women face difficulties securing food, clean drinking water and access to health services, according to Frank Geneus, the director of health programs in Haiti for CARE, the Washington Post reports. Nearly 10, 000 of those women may give birth in the next month. Women and children are especially vulnerable to disease and sexual exploitation under the deteriorating health and safety conditions in Port-au-Prince, the Post reports. Even before the earthquake, Haitian women and girls faced a high risk for physical and sexual violence. A 2006 study by the Inter-American Development Bank found that one-third of Haiti's women and girls reported physical or sexual violence, with more than half of those younger than age 18. "We have to keep in mind that disasters make existing inequalities even worse, " Marijke Velzeboer-Salcedo, a gender-issues expert for the Pan American Health Organization, said. "Those who are stronger and more powerful, whether physically or psychologically -- or both -- are going to have better access to scarce resources, " she noted, adding that "when women are deprived of resources, entire families are likely to be deprived, too.

Eating Habits Of Female Footballers And Consequences For Sporting Activity

For a week Ms Gravina evaluated players from the first two Athletic teams (Superleague and National League), in order to observe their eating habits and where they could improve. The evaluation lasted a week and the studies were carried out on the days prior to the match, on the same day of the game and after the match. Using this data she wrote her PhD thesis: Estudio nutricional en mujeres futbolistas de lite y su relaci n con los cambios hematol gicos, de estr s oxidativo y da o muscular tras jugar un partido de f tbol (Nutritional study of top-class women footballers and the relation with changes in haematology, oxidative stress and muscular damage after playing a football match). Playing football game triggers a whole series of reactions in the human body. With the leucocytes or white blood cells, for example, Ms Gravina was able to observe that, due to the physical exertion involved, those of the neutrophyle type increased in number while the lymphocytes diminished.

Opinions: Clean Water; Oversight Of U.N. Bookkeeping; Obama's Global Health Goals; Maternal Mortality

Clean Water Needs To Be Priority For Haiti "Long before the earthquake, Haiti was mired in a crisis that only a few experts noticed - a severe lack of clean drinking water, " writes Joseph Treaster, editor of the University of Miami's Internet magazine on global water issues and the environment, in a Miami Herald opinion piece that examines the interconnectedness between water and health problems in Haiti, as well as other countries around the world. "As the rebuilding of Haiti gets under way, billions of dollars are going to be spent. Some of those dollars, perhaps a billion or more, should be dedicated to cleaning up the country's drinking water and to making sure it stays clean, " Treaster continues. "It would help put Haiti on a sound footing for the future, perhaps more than any other single thing. A well-orchestrated plan for providing clean drinking water to the people of Haiti could be a model for the world" (1/28). Forbes Column Calls For Increased U.S. Oversight Over U.

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