Double Dose: The Big Push for Midwives; Seasonal Affective Disorder; Same-Sex Marriage Ruling; Health Cuts Trigger Crisis in Chicago; HIV Studies Discussed at Boston Conference

By Christine |

The Big Push for Midwives: Great post by Amy G. about the campaign for the regulation and licensure of certified professional midwives. Amy mentions a number of blog posts on the issue, including ours.

Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda: “This is interesting,” said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the paper, which was posted online in the journal Circulation on Jan. 22. “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?”

I don’t know, but it makes me see red ….

Feeling Bad?: Those susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder, take note: Chicago had 11 — count ‘em — 11 minutes of sunshine during the first eight days of February. Chicago Tribune health columnist Julie Deardorff writes that she is going to try a sauna that that “uses infrared energy to warm the body and release toxins.” Readers, if you have suggestions for coping with a long gray winter, please leave them in the comments.

Why I am an Abortion Doctor: “I can take an anxious woman, who is in the biggest trouble she has ever experiences in her life, and by performing a five-minute operation, in comfort and dignity, I can give her back her life.” — Canadian abortion doctor Garson Romalis, who has survived being shot and stabbed because of his work.

NYT Op-Ed on Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: “In a decision at once common-sensical and profound, a New York State appeals court ruled Friday that same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition in New York. It was common sense because it simply accorded same-sex marriages the same legal status as other marriages. It was profound because of the way it could transform the lives of gay people.” Continue reading …

A Health Law With Holes: “This idea of an individual mandate absent comprehensive reform – how to say this politely? – is nuts. It makes a social failure the problem of the individual,” writes Robert Kuttner in an op-ed published in the Boston Globe about health care in Massachusetts.

Health Cuts Trigger Crisis in Chicago: In a front-page story on Friday, the Chicago Tribune reported on what doctors are calling “an emerging health crisis” in the city, with “hundreds of women with abnormal Pap smears, unusual bleeding, pelvic masses and other worrisome symptoms are waiting for weeks or months to see gynecologists in the Cook County health system.”

“The longer women wait for care, gynecological experts warn, the more likely it is that untreated medical problems could worsen, exposing the women to severe pain, cancers that are harder to treat or even life-threatening emergencies.”

Breastfeeding and HIV-Infected Mothers: “An antiretroviral drug already in widespread use in the developing world to prevent the transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their newborns during childbirth has also been found to substantially cut the risk of subsequent HIV transmission during breast-feeding,” according to this release from the John Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education. Approximately 150,000 infants are infected through breastfeeding each year.

The findings were made public during the 15th Conference on Retroviruses and and Opportunistic Infections held in Boston this past week.

Another study presented at the conference found that the risk of HIV transmission decreased by 90 percent within couples in which one person is HIV-positive and the other is HIV-negative — if the HIV-positive person took antiretrovirals, which drive down the level of HIV in the blood.

“Getting an early diagnosis, and getting treatment to drive down viral load, is going to be good for prevention,” said Dr. Rebecca Bunnell, a researcher for the CDC in Kampala, Uganda, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

SF Chronicle writer Sabin Russel described the study as “one of the few rays of hope” to come out of the conference, “a meeting that has been dominated by discussions of setbacks, such as the failure of a major AIDS vaccine trial that was abruptly ended in September.”

And The New York Times reports on yet another study that was discussed, one that showed that male circumcision did not result in a lower risk of transmission for female partners. “Although the findings did not reach statistical significance, they still underscore the need for more effective education among men who undergo circumcision and their female partners, the authors of the study said,” reports the Times.

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  1. On the circumcision issue: The snip for HIV positive men may not prevent transmission to wives and girlfriends. But some of us would argue that it has other advantages for women. I’m curious that all the studies about acceptability of male circumcision have focused on its acceptability to men. If women were to raise their voices about added satisfaction for female partners of circumcised men, men might be more likely to choose circumcision. And at a population level, in countries with high HIV prevalence, that’s a good thing.