Diabetes may impact hearing loss more in women

Having diabetes may cause women to experience a greater degree of hearing loss as they age, especially if the metabolic disorder is not well controlled with medication, according to a new study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.   Women between the ages of 60 and 75 with well-controlled diabetes had better hearing than women with poorly controlled diabetes, with similar hearing levels to those of non-diabetic women of the same age.The study also shows significantly worse hearing in all women younger than 60 with diabetes, even if it is well controlled.

Why boys talk later than girls: hormones?

Studies have shown that language development varies between the sexes, with males generally gaining language skills at a slower rate. Prenatal testosterone is known to influence fetal neurodevelopment, and preliminary studies have suggested that the hormone is associated with language delay.  Researchers from the U of Western Australia explored this issue in a large cohort of children.  They collected umbilical cord blood samples from 861 randomly selected births and measures the bioavailable testosterone levels.  As expected the males had a much higher level of testosterone in the umbilical cord blood than the females.

Breast cancer should not be about politics

You’ve heard it before, but it’s a cliché that has earned its place: breast cancer knows no boundaries.  It affects all women – of all ethnicities, young or old, blue collar and professional.  Cancer doesn’t care where you worship, who you love, or how you vote.  Over 30 years ago I served for 13 years as the first executive director of a Chicago based breast cancer support organization called Y-ME.   Today, the Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization is the largest breast cancer support organization in the U.S.

Obesity: Is it a disease or a choice?

Last weekend I noticed a billboard on the highway that read:   Obesity is a disease, it is not a choice!   Nice way to avoid responsibility–put the blame elsewhere.   This billboard was promoting a weight loss program (not a bad idea, but a misleading headline!)  Remember the days when the main excuse for weight gain was “it’s a hormonal problem, I can’t do anything about it”  or “it’s in my genes”.   Yes , there are some hormonal issues (e.g.

Pfizer birth control pill recalled due to incorrect dosage

Pfizer Inc. announced today that it has voluntarily recalled 14 lots of Lo/Ovral®-28 (norgestrel and ethinyl estradiol)Tablets and 14 lots of Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets (generic) for customers in the U.S. market. An investigation by Pfizer found that some blister packs may contain an inexact count of inert or active ingredient tablets and that the tablets may be out of sequence. The cause was identified and corrected immediately.

How often should women have bone density tests?

Experts recommend that older women have regular bone density tests to screen for osteoporosis. But it’s been unclear how often to repeat the tests. A study of nearly 5,000 women now reports that patients with healthy bone density on their first test might safely wait 15 years before getting rescreened.

Smoking teens can get text help to stop

Teens who start smoking could smoke more over their lifetimes– which may be made shorter as a result. It’s a good reason to quit.

But teen smoking expert Dr.Yvonne Hunt of the National Institutes of Health says quit programs are often designed for adults, and teens are not little adults – they think and talk differently, and have different smoking patterns.

So Hunt and her coworkers developed a tool to help teens quit. Teens spend a lot of time texting, so SmokefreeTXT sends six weeks of teen-friendly texts to their cellphones. Teens can register at

Red or White (wine, that is) may make a difference

Drinking red wine in moderation may reduce one of the risk factors for breast cancer, providing a natural weapon to combat a major cause of death among U.S. women, new research from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center shows. The study, published online in the Journal of Women’s Health, challenges the widely-held belief that all types of alcohol consumption heighten the risk of developing breast cancer. Doctors long have determined that alcohol increases the body’s estrogen levels, fostering the growth of cancer cells.

New Collaboration Benefits Women Faculty in STEM

A recent blog talked about the importance of support women in the STEM fields.    A good example is the new partnership between our University and the U of Chicago:

Northwestern University and the University of Chicago have launched the Chicago Collaboration for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, a three-year effort to enhance the recruitment and advancement of women faculty members in those fields.

Updated ruling on contraceptive coverage

Bulletin:  The US Dept. of Health and Human Services modified the final ruling that required new health insurance plans to cover contraceptive services without a copay or deductible by August 2012  based on comments received from the public.   To quickly recap:  many non-profit religious employers objected to this new policy because their religious beliefs did not support contraception.