The Woodruff Lab contributes to the Women’s Health Research Institute and Oncofertility Consortium blogs. Read the latest information disseminated from these blogs below:  

Step-by-step Decisions Lead to Smarter Treatment Choices

Choosing a treatment option for breast cancer can be almost as confusing and frightening as the diagnosis itself. But it doesn’t have to be. A new study from the University of Michigan has found that women make smarter choices about treatments when they receive information and make decisions in small doses rather than all at once.

Obesity and Osteoporosis

It has been reported in the past that obesity (body fat mass) is  protective against osteoporosis and fracture.  However, a recent study has documented a high prevalence of obesity in postmenopausal women with fragility fracture.

An international group of researchers has presented research at the European Congress on Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis that compares the prevalence and location of fractures in obese (Body Mass Index≥30 kg/m2) and non-obese postmenopausal women and examines specific risk factors for fracture.

Women’s Health Activism Makes a Difference

Now that so many women are balancing school, family, and work, it’s hard to find time to stand up for women’s causes.   But it is important and it does work.   Recently a prominent surgeon wrote a Valentine’s Day editorial about the mood enhancing effects of semen on women during unprotected sex.   He cited a research study done in 2002 that reported that female college students who had had unprotected sex were less depressed that those who used condoms. It implied that compounds in semen have antidepressant effects.  He goes further to imply sex without condoms may be a nice Valentine’s present. WHAT?#?#

Sex Differences in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Male fetuses most vulnerable to alcohol.

Exposure to alcohol in the womb doesn’t affect all fetuses equally. Why does one woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy give birth to a child with physical, behavioral or learning problems — known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder — while another woman who also drinks has a child without these problems?

Bisphenol A Found in Food Containers May Be Harmful to your Health

We aren’t sure how Bisphenol A (BPA) (found in plastic food containers) affects human beings — especially developing fetuses and young children — and if concerning test results in animal subjects translate to people. Should BPA be banned from baby bottles, as it has been in other countries like Canada?   Unfortunately, our ability to detect chemicals in our bodies is running ahead of our ability to understand exactly how them may affect us.

What are Whole Grains?

We all keep hearing that we need to eat more whole grains, but does everyone know what they are?   It’s pretty obvious they are NOT that swishy white bread that we used to make dough balls out of when we were kids (to use for bait while fishing!).    Whole grains are cereal grains that consist of the intact, ground, cracked or flaked kernel, which includes the bran, the germ and the inner most part of the kernel (endosperm).  Examples of whole grains include whole wheat, oatmeal, whole-grain cornmeal, brown rice, whole-grain barley, whole rye, and buckwheat.

Four New Alzheimer’s Genes Discovered

Scientists have discovered four new genes associated with an increased risk of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The findings will help researchers explore new therapies and allow doctors to better predict who will develop the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium conducted the research in collaboration with 44 different universities and research centers, including Northwestern University. The study, published in the current issue of Nature Genetics, is the largest of its kind.

The results of the study double the number of genes currently known to contribute to Alzheimer’s. Of the four genes previously confirmed, the gene for apolopoprotein E-e4, called APOE-e4, has the largest effect on risk. The genes discovered in this study are called MS4A, CD2AP, CD33 and EPHA1.

Teens with Eating Disorders Often Go Untreated

About 3 percent of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition, according to an  National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study published online ahead of print March 7, 2011, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.