August 2010

Arthritis Prevalence Higher in Women than Men

In 2006, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 21.6% of the US adult population reported arthritis, with significantly higher prevalence in women than in men (24.4% vs. 18.1%). Arthritis prevalence increased with age and was higher among women than men in every age group.    With the aging of the US population, the prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis is expected to increase in the coming decades.   By 2030, it is estimated that 67 million adults age 18 and older will have arthritis, compared with the current 46 million.  Also, by 2030 an estimated 25 million adults will report arthritis-attributable activity limitations.

Stress and Infertility

A study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Oxford supports the widespread belief that stress may reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant.  The study is the first of its kind to document, among women without a history of fertility problems, an association between high levels of a substance that is indicative of stress and a reduced chance of becoming pregnant.

Scientists as Role Models for Girls

Results of a recent poll by ICM, a public opinion research firm from England, two thirds of the British public and nearly nine out of 10 (88%) of 18-24 year olds are unable to name a single famous female scientist, despite scientists being viewed as a good role model.   The Royal Society , the national academy of science, requested the poll of public attitudes regarding women in science.

Evamist: Keep Children and Pets Away.

A recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) MedWatch Safety Alert warns women to make sure children and pets do not come into contact with Evamist that they have sprayed on their skin.    Evamist is a transdermal spray containing estradiol, a form of estrogen. It is sprayed inside of the forearm between the elbow and wrist to reduce hot flashes during menopause. Each squirt of spray delivers 90 mcL which contains 1.53 mg of estradiol and is FDA approved for this use.

The FDA has received reports of side effects in children who were unintentionally exposed to Evamist.   Side effects include:

Stress could Worsen Premenstrual Symptoms

Study finds association between stress level in early cycle, severity of symptoms

Women who report feeling stressed early in their monthly cycle were more likely than those who were less stressed to report more pronounced symptoms before and during menstruation, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The association raises the possibility that feeling stressed in the weeks before menstruation could worsen the symptoms typically associated with premenstrual syndrome and menstruation.

Male Menopause

No, you did not open the wrong page.   Yes, this blog is posted by the Institute for Women’s Health Research at Northwestern. As an advocate for better  sex and gender based research, we support all avenues that increase our knowledge about sex differences and that includes  a better understanding of  hormone changes in women AND MEN.

Furthermore, women are generally the source of health information for their families and that includes their male partners! So, women and men, read on!

Chocolate May Lower Risk of Heart Failure

Benefits shown in middle-aged and elderly women

Middle-aged and elderly Swedish women who regularly ate a small amount of chocolate had lower risks of heart failure risks, in a study reported in Circulation: Heart Failure, a journal of the American Heart Association.  The nine-year study, conducted among 31,823 middle-aged and elderly Swedish women, looked at the relationship of the amount of high-quality chocolate the women ate, compared to their risk for heart failure. The quality of chocolate consumed by the women had a higher density cocoa content somewhat like dark chocolate by American standards. In this study, researchers found:

New Study Shows Obesity Has No Impact on Birth Control Effectiveness

The first study to compare the effectiveness of the birth control pill in women with marked weight differences has found that the pill works equally well in women with obesity and thinner women. This new finding by physician-scientists at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center refutes a long-held conviction among many doctors that the pill may not reliably prevent pregnancy in women who are overweight or obese. With obesity a significant health issue in the United States — the U.S.

Circadian Rhythm and Breast Cancer

All living organisms have a circadian clock, sometimes called a biological clock, that is an important part of maintaining optimal health.   The circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in the biochemical, physiological, or behavioral processes of living things.   Although  circadian rhythms originate from within our bodies, they are synchronized to the environment by external cues, including the day-night cycle caused by the Earth’s rotation.  Researchers are looking more closely at the role circadian rhythms play in the development of diseases such as breast cancer and also how factors such as hormones affect this biological clock.

Hypertension in Women

Postmenopausal women have an increased risk of hypertension (high blood pressure), and among older adults, more women than men have hypertension.   As with many other health issues, hypertension research has been conducted predominately in males, and little is known about how women’s bodies manage blood flow.   Research conducted by Heidi A. Kluess at the University of Arkansas is focusing on a  better understanding of hypertension in women by using a new technique to examine the release of a neurotransmitter in small blood vessels.