Health and Fitness

Peoria Clinical Research Center Tests Investigational Drug To Treat Painful Menstrual Cramps

A leading clinical research center in Peoria has joined an international research program to study an investigational drug designed as a possible treatment for painful menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrhea, a condition that affects between 45 and 90 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States. Although not life threatening, dysmenorrhea can be debilitating and psychologically taxing and is one of the leading causes of absenteeism from work and school. Current therapies for the condition (including NSAIDs and 'off label' oral contraceptives) are not completely effective for all women and sometimes do not provide satisfactory relief of symptoms, particularly in women with more severe pain. It is hoped that the investigational drug, presently named VA111913, may prevent the cause of the cramps that can leave some women bedridden, rather than just treat the symptoms. Pivotal Research is recruiting women of childbearing age who suffer from dysmenorrhea and normally take medicine to treat their menstrual cramps to take part in a research study.

Study Shows Sutures Produce Fewer Complications Than Staples After C-Sections

A prospective study found that the use of sutures to close the skin after a caesarean delivery results in fewer wound complications than the use of staples, Reuters reports. Suzanne Basha and colleagues at the Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania led a prospective trial of 416 women giving birth via c-section who were randomly assigned to skin closure with either staples or sutures. The wound complication rate was 9.1% in the suture group, compared with 21.8% in the staple group. The staple group also had a higher rate of wound separation -- 16.8% -- than the suture group's 4.6%. The investigators presented the research Thursday at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting. After controlling for other factors -- including mass index, whether or not it was the woman's first c-section, operation time, the presence of the infection chorioamnionitis, medication use and whether the woman had pre-eclampsia -- the sole predictor of wound separation was whether the patients received staples or sutures.

Abstinence-Only Program In New Study Has Notable Differences From Those Supported By Bush Administration, Editorial Says

A recent study showed that an experimental abstinence program for sixth and seventh grade students could delay sexual activity among urban youth "if it is freed from the moralistic overtones and ideological restrictions that were the hallmark of abstinence-only programs under the Bush administration, " a New York Times editorial states. "It would be a mistake to place too much importance on a single study of black middle-school students in Philadelphia, but the study appears to be sound and its findings are worth further exploration, " according to the editorial. It continues, "Advocates of abstinence-only education have seized on the new findings as evidence that their approach works best, " with some "urging the Obama administration to reverse course and restore federal support for abstinence-only education, " the editorial says. It adds, "That is a willful misreading of the implications of this study." It notes that under current laws, "abstinence-only programs that seek federal support must meet several rigid requirements that essentially make them abstinence-until-marriage programs.

Study FindsTV Drama Can Be More Persuasive Than News Program

A fictional television drama may be more effective in persuading young women to use birth control than a news-format program on the same issue, according to a new study. Researchers found that college-age women who viewed a televised drama about a teen pregnancy felt more vulnerable two weeks after watching the show, and this led to more support for using birth control. However, those who watched a news program detailing the difficulties caused by teen pregnancies were unmoved, and had no change in their intentions to use birth control. The results show the power that narratives like TV shows can have in influencing people, said Emily Moyer-GusГ, co-author of the study and assistant professor of communication at Ohio State University. "A message that is hidden inside of a story may overcome some of the resistance people have to being told how to behave, " Moyer-GusГ said. "The impact that dramatized stories have on people's beliefs and intentions depends a lot on the individual viewers, and not just the message - but our results suggest the effect can be there.

Swine Flu In Pregnancy - What To Look Out For

A new study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology examines how the swine flu virus, Influenza A H1N1 (2009), affects pregnant women. Clinicians at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital in Singapore treated 211 confirmed cases of pregnant women with swine flu between 26 May 2009 and 14 September 2009. These were women who had fever and/or acute respiratory illness at presentation and a positive diagnosis of having swine flu through a throat swab. Most of these patients reported having fever at home but only 62.2% had a fever when they arrived at hospital. Cough was the most prevalent symptom, occurring in 90.5%. Other recorded symptoms were: runny nose (62.1%), sore throat (58.8%), muscle ache (32.2%), headache (18%), and breathlessness (13.3%). Co-morbidities included: asthma (12.8%), hypertension (0.5%) and gestational diabetes (1.9%). There were two cases of pneumonia, one requiring admission to intensive care. Both recovered. The average time between the onset of acute respiratory illness and presentation at hospital was two days and the average time between onset and commencement of treatment was also two days.

Health Debate Travails Boost Lobbying Firms

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., won an upset election last month that has reshaped the health debate and that new dynamic could be a boon for lobbying firms, The Philadelphia Inquirer 's Law Review columnist writes. "The thousands of lobbyists on and off Capitol Hill who labor on behalf of health-industry clients can now count on at least a few more monthly retainers. ... Nothing stimulates the flow of lobbying dollars like uncertainty on Capitol Hill." One Philadelphia legal firm, Cozen O'Connor, which is known for its insurance-defense practice, is chasing the health debate's new opportunities. "Like many of its peer law firms in Philadelphia and around the country, it has been hustling to bolster its government-relations (lobbying) practice in Washington" (Mondics, 2/9). Also in lobbying news: "A group advocating the rights of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are on the Hill this week to press lawmakers on issues ranging from disability care to high rates of unemployment, " Politico reports.

Single Gene Mutation Induces Endometrial Cancer

A mutation in a single gene can cause endometrial cancer that is responsive to a specific drug therapy, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found in an animal study. The finding suggests that eventually it might be possible to screen women with endometrial cancer to see if they have that mutation and use the drug as targeted therapy, the researchers said. "Our data suggest that deficiency of this gene can indicate both how aggressive an endometrial tumor will be and how well it might respond to a specific class of drugs, " said Dr. Diego Castrillon, assistant professor of pathology at UT Southwestern and senior author of the paper, which appears in the March/April issue of Disease Models and Mechanisms. "Some early clinical trials have shown that about one-fifth of women with endometrial cancers respond to a group of drugs called 'rapalogs, '" Dr. Castrillon said. "Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to predict which women these are." Endometrial cancer affects the lining of the uterus.

Diabetes And Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status

Researchers from Boston University's Slone Epidemiology Center have found a direct link between neighborhood socioeconomic status and risk for type 2 diabetes in African American women. The study, which appears in the online American Journal of Epidemiology, is the first prospective study to examine the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic status and incidence of type 2 diabetes in a large, geographically diverse cohort of African-American women. Type 2 diabetes is estimated to affect 20.6 million people in the United States and has particularly impacted African-American women, who are twice as likely to have the disease as non-Hispanic whites. Recent studies indicated that the socioeconomic characteristics of a neighborhood can affect health status independent of socioeconomic status of an individual. Neighborhood environment influences diet and physical activity through the availability of grocery stores, recreational facilities and educational resources. In addition, neighborhoods vary with regard to sources of chronic stress (noise, violence and poverty).

What Are Irregular Periods Oligomenorrhea ? What Causes Irregular Periods?

Oligomenorrhea is a medical term which generally refers to irregular or infrequent menstrual periods with intervals of more than 35 days - however, the duration may vary. A period, or menstruation, is the shedding of the endometrium - the lining of the uterus. Menstruation is also called menses. All female humans, as well as a number of other female mammals, have regular periods during their reproductive age. Menstruation, which includes bleeding from the vagina, occurs mainly among humans and similar animals, such as primates. In many mammals, the endometrium is reabsorbed. As far as humans are concerned a period is a bleed from the womb (uterus) that is released through the vagina. Human females have a period about every 28 days - most women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. However, some women may have a 24-day cycle while other may have a 35-day one. A period is part of the female's menstrual cycle. Periods usually start between the ages of 10 and 16 (during puberty), and continue until the menopause, when woman is 45 to 55 years old.

Research Identifies Gene With Likely Role In Premenstrual Disorder

Scientists have identified a gene they say is a strong candidate for involvement in premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and other maladies associated with the natural flux in hormones during the menstrual cycle. In a paper to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rockefeller University researchers detail experiments in mice showing that a common human variant of the gene increases anxiety, dampens curiosity and tweaks the effects of estrogen on the brain, impairing memory. If applied in the clinic, the work could help diagnose and treat cognitive and mood disorders related to the menstrual cycle and inform treatments during menopause, such as hormone replacement therapy, researchers say. The experiments homed in on the gene for a protein that, among other things, works with estrogen to enhance the adaptability of neurons in the hippocampus, a brain region that plays a key role in mood, cognition and memory. A change in one amino acid in this gene, called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), creates the variant BDNF Met, which is carried by 20 to 30 percent of Caucasian women.

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