February 2010

Twice as Many Women to be Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes

According to a study that was coordinated by investigators at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, two to three times more pregnant women may soon be diagnosed and treated for gestational diabetes, based on new measurements for determining risky blood sugar levels for the mother and her unborn baby.

“As result of this study, more than 16 percent of the entire population of pregnant women qualified as having gestational diabetes,” said lead author Boyd Metzger, MD.  “Before, between 5 to 8 percent of pregnant women were diagnosed with this.”

HRT and Heart Disease–An Update

On February 15, 2010 the NIH issued a news release about a new analysis reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine on data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI).  The study reevaluated whether or not combination hormone therapy (estrogen+progestin) increases the risk of heart disease in healthy postmenopausal women. Researchers from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the Harvard School of Public Health reanalyzed data from the WHI, comparing the effects of hormone therapy (HT) on heart disease risk among women who began hormone therapy within 10 years of menopause to women who began therapy more that 10 years after menopause.

Drs Woodruff and Bristol-Gould featured on WTTW!

We realize that Thursday nights are jam packed with all sorts of great TV shows, but hopefully you were able to set the DVR for the WTTW series Health Secrets:  What Every Woman Should Know.  The 4-part TV series was hosted by Paula Zahn and sponsored by Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Alberto Culver.  Each one-hour program was aimed at addressing women’s health needs at all stages of life. Topics ranged from vaccinating young girls (and boys) against HPV to Oncofertility to the importance of clinical research participation to the serious risk of heart disease and stroke in women.  No doubt each show was full of important and useful health information!  If you missed the series or do not get WTTW, you can watch segments from all the shows and obtain any information you need online at http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=1,57.

Nail Salon Safety

A few decades ago, manicures and pedicures were something your grandmother and her friends did. Today, it has become popular with all ages–probably due to the general acceptance that women could pack away their panty hose and go bare-legged and the popularity of flip flops. As the consumer base widened, so did the number of nail salons, from store front services that featured express nail polish repair to high-end spas that offered a wide range of nail services that included organic and luxury cream treatments.  According to Jobbank.usa, there are over 78,000 manicurists in this country.

Genetic Testing for Cancer: Knowing Your Risk

I have noticed that recently there have been a lot of commercials on television about getting your BRACAnalysis®.  You might be wondering what a BRAC analysis is? Or maybe you are wondering if you should get one?  The BRAC test is a genetic test that will test your genome for the presence of two genes that have been correlated with certain types of breast and ovarian cancer.

Research: The Good, the Bad, and the Confusing

Every day we hear about a new drug, screening tool or technology that promises to improve our knowledge of health and disease.    Generally, the news is good, or at least hopeful, reassuring the public that important research is progressing.  Often, the new breakthroughs  have been demonstrated in the lab or in animal models and has not yet been studied in humans,  a process that could take years.  Sometimes the lab findings do not translate well to the human and the researcher may have to start all over with a new strategy.   This is particularly frustrating for individuals who have a disease or condition that is debilitating and could be deadly.  The new movie, Extraordinary Measures,  is the story about a father who self-funds a researcher to accelerate the process for a promising drug for Pompe disease because his children have the condition.  It is a great example of how driven and focused we can become when our own loved ones are ill.

Focus on Oncofertility

Research led by Teresa Woodruff, PhD, director of the Institute for Women’s Health Research at Northwestern University was featured in the first edition of  Horizons in Bioscience, a publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, that describes scientific discoveries on the brink of clinical application.   This publication is shared with members of Congress who track National Institute of Health funding.