Our Bodies, Our Blog

More Attention to Potential Risks from Bisphosphonates

By Rachel Walden |

We have previously written about the apparently small risk of a rare bone fracture associated with drugs meant to prevent bone fractures in people with osteoporosis. These drugs are called bisphosphonates, known under trade names such as Fosamax and Boniva.

Today, NPR’s Morning Edition has a good overview of this topic, noting the dilemma for women weighing whether to take such drugs. Bisphosphonates can help some women prevent serious hip fractures, but they may be associated with a increased risk … More

List of Comparative Effectiveness Research Priorities Released

By Rachel Walden |

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that comparative effectiveness research (research that directly compares the effectiveness of different treatments for the same illness) received funding in the stimulus bill, and that the Institute of Medicine was gathering public input in order to inform a report providing specific recommendations to Congress for prioritizing the expenditure of the funds. On Tuesday, the IOM released that report, “Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research“, which includes a list of 100 top topics (out … More

Double Dose: Mass. Mothers Get Breastfeeding Protection; NABJ Conference on Health Disparities; A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Clinic; The Cutting Edge of Opera; Studies on IVF, Fosamax …

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Who Decides? A State-by-State Analysis: NARAL Pro-Choice America has released its 18th edition of “Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States.” The report summarizes the state of women’s access to reproductive healthcare nationwide, including legislation considered and enacted in 2008. This year’s edition also examines attacks on choice in the states and in the courts and highlights pro-choice legislative and non-legislative victories, including NARAL’s Prevention First initiative.

Trading in “Barefoot and Pregnant” for Economic and Reproductive Justice: “The relevance of barefoot … More

Osteopororsis Medicine: National Women’s Health Network Urges Women to Consider the Risks

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

National Women’s Health Network has posted a health alert concerning FDA oversight of bisphosphonates, such as Fosamax, and is urging women to carefully evaluate whether they should be on the drugs:

After two bisphosphonate studies showed problems with heart damage, the FDA examined the effect of these drugs on the heart and found that women taking zoledronic acid (Reclast) and alendronate [Fosamax] were more likely to have dangerous irregular heart beats (atrial fibrillation). After examining all the available data, the FDA wasn’t able to … More

Cultural Support Needed for Women Who Breastfeed, Plus a Pitchman for Breast Milk

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Aisha Qaasim, a civil rights attorney, often advocates on behalf of others.

Today, in an essay published at Women’s eNews, Qaasim takes on the insults hurled at women who breastfeed in public and argues that the negativity surrounding breastfeeding is hurting the health of children and mothers, particularly in African-American families, where the rate of breastfeeding is the lowest.

Women who breastfeed lower their risk of developing uterine cancer, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and breast cancer over their lifetimes.

Like what you’re reading? Help us expand … More

Bone-Building Drugs May Cause an Uncommon Fracture

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A story making headlines this past week raises questions about what we know/don’t know about a class of drugs commonly used to treat osteoporosis.

The New York Times looks at a rare type of leg fracture in the upper thighbone — a fracture that typically affects people in car accidents or very frail older people — which is showing up in women who have used a class of bone-building drugs called bisphosphonates for five years or more. Tara Parker-Pope writes:

Some patients have reported that … More

Double Dose: Bush White House – “Where All Good Public Health Protections Go to Die”; Afghanistan’s High Maternal Death Rate; The Disney Hypocrisy; Divorce Tied to Professor’s Job Loss; Amy Richards on “Opting In”; and More

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Federal Agencies Can Now Offer Secret Input on EPA Chemical Reviews: The Washington Post reports on changes the Bush administration has made to Environmental Protection Agency reviews of chemicals — changes that officials with the Government Accountability Office say will delay scientific assessments of health risks and open the process to politicization.

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, called the EPA process a “bureaucratic quagmire,” adding, “With these rules in place, it’s now official: The Bush White House is … More

Genome Scans: What do You Want to Know About Your DNA?

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

How much would you pay to know your genetic makeup? And once you had the information, how might it affect your behavior? Or your anxiety levels?

Anna Gosline gets to all that and more in this comprehensive story she wrote for the L.A. Times about the fall-out from her own genetic test. Gosline discovered that she has a higher-than-average lifetime risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease — a risk that wasn’t entirely a surprise, since her maternal grandmother had Alzheimer’s disease. Gosline writes:

But something about … More

Good Bones: Prevention and Treatment for All Ages

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Our Bodies Ourselves Executive Director Judy Norsigian and Managing Editor Heather Stephenson recently wrote about the potential side effects associated with some medications for post-menopausal osteoporosis, and they offered smart tips to help navigate the pharmaceutical hype.

Writing in the Washington Post, Nancy J. Nelson personalizes the challenge of determining one’s risk for bone fractures and making informed decisions about treatment options:

I share an anxiety with several women friends in their 50s and 60s. We’ve all been told that because our bone mineral … More

Bones to Pick — and Preserve

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

In a recent commentary at Women’s eNews, Judy Norsigian and Heather Stephenson of Our Bodies Ourselves caution women about buying into the hype surrounding a new, once-a-year, injectable medication for osteoporosis.

While it might be a worthwhile option for women of a certain age or women with certain risk factors, most women should think long and hard before rushing out to get the bone density screenings needed to determine if you might benefit from the drug.

Although the drug companies don’t really want you … More