Also In Global Health News: Tajikistan Earthquake; WHO Head Marks 2009 Milestones; Mexico Health Program; Dry Toilets; Kenya HIV Testing
About 20, 000 People Homeless After Tajikistan Earthquake, Officials Say "Tajikistan officials say about 20, 000 people have been left homeless after an earthquake rocked the impoverished central Asian nation" on Saturday, VOA News reports. The quake severed electrical supplies and communications in affected areas, officials said (1/3). A regional spokesperson for the country's Civil Defense Committee that oversees the affected area said a clinic, two schools and a power line had been destroyed. "The spokesman reported no deaths but said dozens of sheep and goats were killed in the earthquake, " Agence France-Presse reports (Borisov, 1/3). Several Health Milestones In 2009, But Challenges Continue, WHO Director-General Says At a press conference reflecting on 2009, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan highlighted health achievements, such as the halving of malaria deaths among children in Africa, but noted that challenges remain, VOA News reports. "She says she is deeply touched by the lack of progress in maternal mortality.
One of the reasons why cervical cancer is more common among poorer women could be because they start having sex at a younger age than more affluent women, scientists have said. Although deprived women are twice as likely to get cervical cancer as more affluent women, research has shown that their levels of infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) - which is responsible for the majority of cases of cervical cancer - tend to be similar. Researchers at the International Agency for Research on Cancer investigated the link between deprivation and higher cervical cancer risk. Until now, experts thought that the difference in cases of the disease could be just because poorer women were less likely to go for cervical screening. Although screening uptake had an effect, this latest international study looked at many countries without screening programmes and found that poorer women were still more likely to develop the disease. The researchers looked at how many years a woman had been in education, which gave them an indication of their socio-economic status.
Several maladaptive eating behaviors, beyond anorexia, can affect women. Indeed, some 10 to 15 percent of women have maladaptive eating behaviours and attitudes according to new study from the UniversitÃ de MontrÃ al and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. "Our results are disquieting, " says Lise Gauvin, a professor at the UniversitÃ de MontrÃ al Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. "Women are exposed to many contradictory messages. They are encouraged to lose weight yet also encouraged to eat for the simple pleasure of it." Some 1, 501 women took part in the phone survey on eating disorders and disordered eating. Not one participant was classified as anorexic. The average age of these urban-dwelling participants was 31, the majority of respondents were non-smokers and university graduates. Dr. Gauvin says the study sheds new light on binge eating and bulimia, which are characterized in part by excessive eating accompanied by feelings of having lost control.
Women's Digital Imaging Using DXA Total Body Fat Analysis To Help Patients In Weight Management And Fitness Programs
Women's Digital Imaging of Ridgewood (WDI), has begun using Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA), a technology developed to screen for osteoporosis (bone loss), to measure body fat in patients who want a more accurate method of establishing goals and measuring results for weight management and fitness programs. While Body Mass Index (BMI) has been a standard measuring tool, it does not distinguish muscle from fat. DXA analysis measures the percentage of lean muscle, fat tissue mass, bone mineral density (BMD), and bone mineral content (BMC) in the whole body and specific regions such as trunk, arms, legs and pelvis. "Knowing your ratio of fat to lean body mass helps you determine how to reshape your body correctly, " says Dr. Lisa Weinstock, Director of Women's Digital Imaging. "With DXA analysis, you can show patients where they have to make changes and measure how successful they are in making them." The results provided by DXA imaging can help health care professionals treat conditions such as obesity, anorexia nervosa, cystic fibrosis, and chronic renal failure.
For Americans living in rural areas, obtaining and maintaining health care can be challenging. Aside from common barriers, including shortages of care providers and facilities, older women face additional challenges, according to Kay Libbus, a public health researcher at the University of Missouri. Libbus says that women ages 50-65 living in rural areas are at-risk for inadequate health care coverage and limited access to health information. "There is a gap in health care access for women ages 50-65 living in rural areas, " said Kay Libbus, professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing. "These women are beyond child-bearing age, susceptible to developing chronic diseases and often retired or leaving the workforce - and these factors make it difficult to maintain health insurance or obtain new coverage. Rural communities are in need of interventions to address this issue." Women in the 50 to 65 age group often lose insurance coverage at retirement and don't qualify for Medicare, Libbus says.
The number of women attending breast screening has risen, with nearly two million accepting invitations from the NHS Breast Screening Programme in 2007/08, new figures show. The programme's 2009 annual review shows that 1, 994, 651 women aged 50 to 70 attended screening in 2007/08, up by 93, 418 on the previous year. Over 73 per cent of the 2.5 million women who received an invitation attended their appointment. The total number of invitations for screening has also increased - by just over 100, 000 women - thanks in part to the fact that units in Bolton, King's College London, Coventry, Manchester and Guildford have started to include women from a wider age group in their screening programmes. These units are piloting an extension of the screening age ahead of a nationwide roll-out, which will ultimately see all women between the ages of 47 and 73 years receiving invitations for screening. The increase in screening has been accompanied by a rise in the number of cancers detected.
NPR's " All Things Considered " on Thursday examined the debate over an Oklahoma law that requires a woman seeking an abortion to answer dozens of questions on topics relating to her job, education, relationship with her partner and why she is opting for an abortion. The law calls for the survey answers to be posted on a state Web site without the women's names. Opponents of the law, which is being challenged in court by the Center for Reproductive Rights, call it an invasion of privacy that is intimidating to women and unrelated to improving public health. They also fear that posting the answers online will allow people to identify specific women based on the information provided on the surveys, especially in small, rural communities. Linda Meek, executive administrator of Reproductive Services in Tulsa, Okla., said, "If they want to reduce the number of abortions, then they need to concentrate on educating women about preventing unwanted pregnancies, educating them about emergency contraception, birth control -- and making birth control more accessible.
Curvy actress Kate Winslet has topped a UK national poll to find the perfect celebrity body. The Oscar-winning film star, who has been praised for promoting a more realistic body shape, took the top spot with 16% of the overall votes - narrowly pipping shapely Kelly Brook into second place with 15%. And super thin celebrities Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss finished bottom of the poll carried out with 2, 000 respondents by Slimming World and YouGov, scoring just 1% each of the votes. Former Casualty actress and Slimming World Woman of the Year, Rebecca Wheatley, who herself lost over 12 stone with the slimming club, believes this marks a shift in people's perception of what is attractive - especially for women, with whom Winslet scored two thirds of her votes. "It's fantastic to see that finally women seem to be aspiring towards a healthy body shape that is realistic and achievable, " she says. "Kate Winslet has always spoken out about the importance of accepting your body. After all, healthy women come in all sizes.
Concentrations of the biomarkers CA125, human epididymis protein 4 (HE4), and mesothelin began to rise 3 years before clinical diagnosis of ovarian cancer, according to a new study published online December 30 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, the biomarkers became substantially elevated only in the last year prior to diagnosis. The stage of the cancer at the time of marker elevation is not known. CA125, HE4, mesothelin, B7-H4, decoy receptor 3, and spondin-2 have been identified as potential ovarian cancer biomarkers, but their behavior in the pre-diagnostic period, with the exception of CA125, has not been evaluated previously. In this study, Garnet L. Anderson, Ph.D., of the Division of Public Health Sciences at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues analyzed stored serum samples from the Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled chemoprevention trial testing the effects of beta-carotene and retinol on lung cancer incidence among individuals at high risk for the disease.
Gail Entner Sonenshein, PhD, a professor in the department of biochemistry at Boston University School of Medicine, and director of the School's Program in Research on Women's Health, has been awarded the distinction of AAAS Fellow. Election as a Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers. This year, 531 members have been awarded this honor by AAAS because of their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. New Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, 20 February from 8 to 10 a.m. at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting in San Diego. This year's AAAS Fellows were announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of the journal Science on 18 December 2009. As part of the section on Biological Sciences, Sonenshein was elected as an AAAS Fellow for her seminal contributions to the understanding of the mechanisms by which activation of NF-kappaB signaling pathways contributes to the development of metastatic cancer.