December 2011

Blood pressure changes at middle age raises risk for later heart attack or stroke

A hike in your blood pressure during middle age significantly raises the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke during your lifetime, according to new Northwestern Medicine research. The study offers a new understanding on the importance of maintaining low blood pressure early in middle age to prevent heart disease later in life.  Men and women who developed high blood pressure in middle age or who started out with high blood pressure had an estimated 30 percent increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke compared to those who kept their blood pressure low.

A new kind of ‘road rage’

Remember when road rage was mainly triggered by rush hour traffic?   Recently, I was driving in local traffic near the university when a car in front of me was signaling left and made a sudden move to the RIGHT lane.   Okay, we all get confused.   In the next block the driver all of a sudden moved to the middle of the road between two lanes.  I slammed on my brakes and honked my horn.     When the driver finally pulled into one lane,  I moved up and saw the elderly woman driver clearly on her cell phone.   She looked at me as I motioned “get off your phone” and I don’t think she had a clue why I was signaling her.   Within two city blocks I could have not o

Report provides new insight into risks for stillbirths

Half of all stillbirths result from pregnancy disorders and conditions that affect the placenta, according to a new report. Risk factors already known at the start of pregnancy—such as previous pregnancy loss or obesity—accounted for only a small proportion of the overall risk of stillbirth.

Breast cancer patients often skip medications due to side effects

Why do so many postmenopausal women who are treated for estrogen-sensitive breast cancer quit using drugs that help prevent the disease from recurring?

The first study to actually ask the women themselves — as well as the largest, most scientifically rigorous study to examine the question — reports 36 percent of women quit early because of the medications’ side effects, which are more severe and widespread than previously known. The Northwestern Medicine research also reveals a big gap between what women tell their doctors about side effects and what they actually experience.

Institute director wins award for mentoring

Dr. Woodruff (in the red jacket) meets with President Obama

Teresa Woodruff, Director of the Institute for Women’s Health Research (creator of this blog site)  and the Thomas J. Watkins Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, received the prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring at the White House from President Barack Obama Monday, Dec. 12.

Shift work increases diabetes in women

Women who worked a rotating night shift had an increased risk of type 2 diabetes that was not completely explained by an increase in body mass index (BMI), according to results of a prospective study of women who were enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Studies.  Nurses who had 1 to 10 years of night shift work  saw a 5% excess risk for type 2 diabetes compared to women who did minimal to no night shift work. That risk climbed to 40% after a decade of shift work, according to Frank Hu, MD, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard School of Medicine in Boston, and colleagues.

Mammography: Sometimes science tells us what we don’t want to hear

While mammograms certainly play an important role in the early detection of breast cancer (and women have responded to this selling point), when weighed against other issues related to quality of life, this benefit  becomes the question of debate among the scientific community.  While researchers have ways to measure quality of life via quality-adjusted life years (QALYS), how do women measure quality of life?  Some recent research done in the UK has caught my attention that found:    after 10 years of mammograms, a woman may get more harm than good from the screening.

Stress and the Holidays

Handling holiday stress is the focus of this month’s e-newsletter from the Institute for Women’s Health Research and can be accessed by clicking HERE.   It addresses why stress is handled differently in men and women.

We also thought the following tips on e-shopping might be helpful!.

Now that black Friday is over, many of you have likely decided to do the rest  of your shopping on-line.   Here are some tips to help you avoid problems when shopping from home.