November 18th, 2013
09:18 AM ET
Women who used birth control pills for three years or more have twice the risk of developing glaucoma later in life, according to new research.
Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and is a leading cause of blindness in the United States.
It’s been well documented that low-estrogen levels following menopause contribute to glaucoma in women. Scientists don’t know exactly why this happens. But years of using birth control pills, which can also lower estrogen levels, may add to the problem.
The study, conducted by researchers at University of California, San Francisco, Duke University School of Medicine and Third Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China, did not differentiate between women who took low-estrogen or regular birth control pills. Investigators theorize that when women are not on the pill, their natural estrogen levels go up and down, which seems to prevent the eye from developing glaucoma. When women go on the pill, their estrogen levels are consistent, and in some cases consistently low, which could cause them to develop the condition.
This research project is the first to suggest an increased risk of glaucoma in women who have used oral contraceptives for three or more years. The researchers looked at data on more than 3,400 women aged 40 and older from across the United States, who answered questionnaires about their reproductive health and eye exams. FULL POST
October 1st, 2013
06:01 PM ET
When Janice hit menopause, she had terrible night sweats and hot flashes, but she was scared to undergo hormone replacement therapy.
Janice (who asked that her full name not be used for privacy reasons) had heard this treatment might be dangerous to her heart, and worried about risking her health.
It's a concern many American women have shared over the past decade since the benefits of hormone replacement therapy have been called into question. A large study called the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) was instrumental in casting doubt on these hormones.
Tuesday, scientists from the WHI released what they say is the definitive study on the safety of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The bottom line: It's OK for most healthy women who have just entered menopause to take hormones for a short period of time, but the researchers do not recommend it for long-term use. The results are published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.
September 23rd, 2013
05:32 PM ET
Being married may significantly improve the likelihood of surviving cancer, researchers say.
In a new study of more than 700,000 people with diagnoses of the most deadly cancers in the United States, patients who were married were more likely to detect their disease early, receive potentially curable treatments and live longer. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
The researchers observed a 20% reduction in deaths among the patients who were married compared to unmarried patients - a benefit bigger than several kinds of chemotherapy used for treating cancer.
August 12th, 2013
06:35 PM ET
Numerous medical studies have shown that fatty fish is healthy for the heart. Now researchers say it may also help prevent a debilitating type of arthritis.
Just one serving a week of a fatty fish such as salmon, or four servings a week of a leaner fish such as cod, may cut your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis by half, according to a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Researchers reviewed the diets of 32,000 Swedish women who filled out two food questionnaires, one in the late 1980s and another a decade later.
July 19th, 2013
02:30 PM ET
Hormone replacement therapy has been a controversial issue for a lot of women over the last decade. Many have rejected any type of hormone therapy since a large, federally funded study found hormone replacement therapy could increase a woman’s risks for heart disease and strokes.
Now, a new study out of Yale School of Medicine suggests anywhere from 18,000 to 91,000 women in their 50s who had hysterectomies may have died prematurely in the last decade because they did not take estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy.
June 3rd, 2013
02:11 PM ET
In some parts of the world, cancer patients are treated with some of the newest targeted cancer drugs which can cost more than$100,000 per year, while in other regions, patients don't even know they have cancer because they're not being screened.
But where pap smears are not available, there may be a decidedly low-tech way to screen for cervical cancer and reduce cancer deaths, according to a large clinical trial released Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago: swabbing a woman's cervix with vinegar.
This study out of India is one of the top five out of more than 5,300 studies presented at the conference. It was given a spotlight usually reserved for the newest blockbuster drug research. FULL POST
April 10th, 2013
03:53 PM ET
Moms can be convinced to change their minds about having their babies before they are at full term, according to a study released this week in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
For years, medical groups have been encouraging moms to wait until their baby has remained in utero for 39 weeks. At the same time, the number of women choosing to induce labor or have an elective cesarean section for nonmedical reasons has been rising.
March 4th, 2013
03:01 PM ET
Women may experience more symptoms of anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder following childbirth than previously thought, according to two studies published today.
One study, published in the March/April issue of The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, found postpartum is a high-risk time for women to develop these symptoms. More than 400 study participants completed screening tests for anxiety, depression and OCD at 2 weeks. At 6 months, 329 of the women completed the survey again. (The women in the study did not receive a clinical diagnosis by a psychologist.)
"Postpartum women may experience obsessive compulsive symptoms at much higher rates than at other times in their lives," said senior study author Dr. Dana Gossett, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
OCD is a sub-type of depression. In this study, researchers found the most common symptoms were being concerned about dirt or germs, and checking behaviors for fear of harming the baby. While it's not unusual for new mothers to be concerned that they are doing everything with their new baby correctly, the real question, Gossett said, is how it's affecting the mother's daily life.
February 26th, 2013
04:02 PM ET
Diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer in women younger than 40 has increased 2% a year, every year, from 1976 to 2009, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The increase was seen in women aged 25 to 39 of all races and ethnicities, living in both rural and urban areas.
It's a devastating diagnosis, particularly because a woman younger than 40 who is diagnosed with breast cancer is more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease and face lower survival rates.
But for perspective, the overall population of women who are affected still remains small. FULL POST
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.