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Fewer moms having C-sections before 39 weeks
Research indicates that delivery should not be scheduled before 39 weeks of gestation, the CDC says.
April 10th, 2013
03:53 PM ET

Fewer moms having C-sections before 39 weeks

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.

Just last month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reiterated its recommendations, encouraging moms to avoid early elective deliveries. FULL POST


Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth
March 4th, 2013
03:01 PM ET

Women experience OCD, anxiety after childbirth

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.
FULL POST


February 26th, 2013
04:02 PM ET

Metastatic breast cancer rising in patients younger than 40

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


Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking
The task force found evidence that Vitamin D and calcium supplements increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
February 26th, 2013
10:49 AM ET

Task force: Evidence for Vitamin D, calcium supplements lacking

You’ve seen it added to cereal boxes, gallons of milk and bottles of orange juice. Experts tout its benefits – from strong bones to a strong immune system – and warn of the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency.

The public relations push is working; between 2002 and 2011, sales of vitamin D supplements increased from $42 million to $605 million, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.

New recommendations from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force could bump those sales even higher, or - if critics are right - confuse consumers as they head down the pharmacy aisle.

After completing a review of existing research, the USPSTF, an independent panel of doctors and experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, is advising against taking moderate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium supplements because there is not enough evidence to prove the supplements reduce the risk of bone fractures.
FULL POST


A woman's choice
February 14th, 2013
03:46 PM ET

New contraception data: by the numbers

Happy National Condom Day! If you're not thrilled with the abundance of pink paper hearts surrounding your desk, this campaign for safe sex offers a different reason to celebrate February 14.

Fittingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released two reports Thursday on contraception use in the United States. The reports summarize data from the National Survey of Family Growth.

One, "Use of Emergency Contraception Among Women Aged 15-44," is the first ever published on emergency contraception by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

Here are some of the most interesting highlights from that report:
FULL POST


Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn
January 16th, 2013
05:01 PM ET

Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn

Fears and misconceptions often surround the flu vaccine: Does it really work? Will it make me sick? Could it hurt my baby?

Researchers from Norway say the last question was a big concern during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic; anecdotal reports of fetal deaths caused many pregnant women to avoid getting vaccinated despite health officials’ pleas.

To determine the accuracy of these reports, the Norwegian researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 pregnancies during the 2009-2010 flu season. Their results were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.
FULL POST


Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers
January 9th, 2013
01:52 PM ET

Scientists work on new test for ovarian, endometrial cancers

Could the Pap smear, which is already commonly used to detect cervical cancer, also be used to find endometrial and ovarian cancers?  A small study suggests that may be possible in the future.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins have found that cervical fluid collected during a routine Pap smear can be used to detect both types of cancers by using a genome sequencing test called the “PapGene.”

Researchers administered the test on a small group of samplings, and found the procedure accurately detected all 24 endometrial cancers, or cancer of the lining of the uterus.  However, they were only able to find nine of 22, or 41%. of ovarian cancers.  FULL POST


Antidepressants during pregnancy don't raise infant death risk
January 3rd, 2013
02:26 PM ET

Antidepressants during pregnancy don't raise infant death risk

It's a heated question: should women take antidepressants during pregnancy? Some experts argue for it and some against, but a new study may ease the minds of women facing the decision.

Researchers say taking a common type of antidepressant does not increase the risk of having a stillborn child or losing an infant early in life. The study was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

"It does strengthen the view that these meds are safer than we once thought," explains Dr. Jennifer Payne, director of the Women's Mood Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. FULL POST


Acute morning sickness: What is it
The Duchess of Cambridge at an event Sunday at St. Andrew's School in Pangbourne, England.
December 3rd, 2012
03:10 PM ET

Acute morning sickness: What is it

Whenever there's a royal wedding, waiting for the news that a royal heir is on the way is always the next step.  Less than two years after Britain's Prince William wed his bride Catherine Middleton, word of a royal pregnancy was eagerly anticipated.  Now we know Catherine is having a baby.

But the world didn't find out in the form of a photo revealing a conspicuous baby bump.  Rather, the news broke when Buckingham Palace announced Monday the Duchess of Cambridge has been "admitted ... to King Edward VII Hospital in Central London with hyperemesis gravidarum," - which means excessive vomiting during pregnancy.

As most mothers can attest, feeling nauseated during pregnancy is not unusual, so why is the duchess hospitalized?

FULL POST


5 things you need to know about thyroid cancer
"Dancing With the Stars" host Brooke Burke-Charvet revealed this week she has thyroid cancer.
November 9th, 2012
12:32 PM ET

5 things you need to know about thyroid cancer

"Dancing with the Stars" host Brooke Burke-Charvet revealed Thursday she’s battling thyroid cancer via The ModernMom’s YouTube channel.

She says had no clue she had cancer - it was discovered during a routine physical.

"Doctors say this is a good kind of cancer to have. A good cancer ... that sounds so crazy," she says in the video. She says she is feeling great and is not going to let her diagnosis define her. "I'm going to make a positive out of this negative thing."

We strongly believe knowledge is power and that it's critical to be an Empowered Patient. So here are five things to know about thyroid cancer.

1. Women are more likely to get thyroid cancer then men. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2011 there were just over 48,000 new cases of thyroid cancer. Of those, 36,550 were in women and 11,470 were in men. Doctors aren't sure why.

2. It also impacts younger people. Nearly two out of three thyroid cancer cases are found in adults under 55. While it can occur at any age, women's risk peaks typically in their 40s or 50s, while the risk peaks for men usually in their 60s or 70s.

3. It tends not to be an "obvious" cancer. As was the case for Burke-Charvet, for most people there are no obvious symptoms. But over time as the cancer grows, according to the Mayo Clinic, it may cause symptoms ranging from a lump on your neck to difficulty swallowing to changes in your voice.

4. There are more cases now than there were 20 years ago. The number of thyroid cancer diagnoses have more than doubled since 1990. Why? According to the ACS, some of it is the result of the increased use of ultrasound, which can detect tiny nodules on the thyroid that might have been missed in the past.

5. The survival rate is high. Burke-Charvet says in her video that her doctor told her, "this is a happily-ever-after-ending kind of thing." If caught early, the survival rate is nearly 100%. But not everyone survives. Around 1,700 people do die, mostly because their cancer was caught in the late stages.

As for Burke-Charvet, she says that she will soon undergo a thyroidectomy which will remove her thyroid and leave a scar across her neck.


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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.

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