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

Multiple Sclerosis Strikes Women More Than Men

Multiple sclerosis (MS) disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body.  In the worst cases, it can bring partial or complete paralysis. Researchers don’t yet know what causes this disease or how to cure it, but they’ve been making progress on both fronts.

Symptoms of MS arise most often between the ages of 20 and 40. It often begins with blurred or double vision, color distortion, or even blindness in one eye. It can cause muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness or tingling, and difficulty with coordination and balance. MS can bring many other symptoms as well.

New Drug Regimen Reduces HIV Spread from Mom to Infant

Pregnant women who are unaware that they have HIV miss the chance for drug treatment that can benefit not only their own health, but could also prevent them from transmitting the virus to their infants. When HIV is not diagnosed until women go into labor, their infants are usually treated soon after birth with the anti HIV drug zidovudine (ZDV), to prevent the infants from becoming infected with the virus.

Now, a National Institutes of Health study has found that adding one or two drugs to the standard ZDV treatment can reduce the chances by more than 50 percent that an infant will develop an HIV infection.

Alcohol Linked to Psoriasis in Women

Women who have more than two alcoholic drinks a week — particularly nonlight beer — appear to be at increased risk of developing the skin condition psoriasis.  The cohort study of almost 83,000 nurses — over 1,000 of whom had cases of incident psoriasis — found that among women who consumed 2.3 or more alcoholic drinks per week, the relative risk (the ratio of the risk of disease among those exposed to a risk factor to the risk among those not exposed, in this case a RR >1 indicates that there was a higher risk for psoriasis in the drinking group)  for psoriasis was 1.72 according to Abrar A.

Smoking Early in Pregnancy Increase Heart Risks for Infants

Maternal cigarette smoking in the first trimester was associated with a 20 to 70 percent greater likelihood that a baby would be born with certain types of congenital heart defects, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defects, contributing to approximately 30 percent of infant deaths from birth defects annually.

Breast Feeding May Counter Some Effects of Childhood Cancer

Breast-feeding may help reduce some long-term negative side effects of cancer treatment in women who survived childhood cancer, according to a new study.

The findings suggest that making women aware of the benefits of breast-feeding should be part of routine recommendations for a post-cancer healthy lifestyle, said Susan W. Ogg and colleagues from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Breast Cancer Therapy Contributes to Hip Fracture Risk

Painful Hip Fractures Strike Breast Cancer Survivors

A hip fracture is not common in a 54-year-old woman, unless she is a 54-year-old breast cancer survivor, according to a new Northwestern Medicine study. Researchers found that a combination of early menopause due to breast cancer treatment and common drugs used to treat breast cancer, could be weakening the bones of breast cancer survivors once they hit middle age, leading to hip fractures.

Results of the study are published in the February 2011 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

New Report Focuses on Women and Diabetes

A new report Women at High Risk for Diabetes: Access and Quality of Health Care, 2003–2006 was released on February 14, 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) . The full report can be downloaded or free print copies ordered HERE .

Understanding the Science of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional medicine that’s been practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years. Its proponents say it can do everything from relieving pain to bringing a general sense of wellness. Others think the only benefits you get from acupuncture are in your head. Recent studies have found that both sides may have a point. Acupuncture can be effective for certain health problems, such as some types of chronic pain. But how it works is something of a mystery.