Dec. 2005 Briefing - Obstetrics/Gynecology

Here are what the editors at HealthDay consider to be the most important developments in OBGYN & Women's Health for December 2005. This roundup includes the latest research news from journal articles, as well as the FDA approvals and regulatory changes that are the most likely to affect clinical practice.

Smokeless Tobacco Use Doubles Risk of Stillbirth

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Smokeless tobacco use during pregnancy more than doubles the risk of stillbirth and is just as risky as maternal cigarette smoking, researchers report in the January issue of Epidemiology. The study was conducted in India, where women use smokeless tobacco in the form of mishri, a product used as a toothpaste.

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Femara Approved as First-Line Therapy After Breast Cancer

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that is has approved letrozole (Femara) as a first-line therapy for postmenopausal women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer who have undergone surgery.

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Letrozole More Effective Than Tamoxifen In Study

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Letrozole is better than tamoxifen for reducing recurrent cancer in postmenopausal women with early stage, hormone receptor positive breast cancer, according to a study in the Dec. 29 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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More STD Patients' Partners Treated in Nurse-Run Program

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A nurse-run program to increase notification of sexual partners of patients with chlamydia can be as successful and cost-effective as referring patients to a specialized clinic, and can also be conducted in a primary-care setting, according to a report published Dec. 15 by the British Medical Journal.

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Coma Outcomes on Soap Operas Too Good to Be True

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Coma patients in soap operas experience significantly rosier outcomes than their real-life counterparts, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Female Flight Attendants Report Fair to Poor Health

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Female flight attendants have high levels of psychological distress, with many experiencing sexual harassment from passengers or co-workers, Italian researchers report in the January issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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Menstrual Cycle Length Associated with Conception

TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Women are more likely to conceive after menstrual cycles of 30 to 31 days compared with shorter cycles, according to a study in the January issue of Epidemiology. In addition, pregnancies conceived after a shorter or longer cycle are more likely to end in spontaneous abortion compared with 30 to 31 day cycles.

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Sorry, Celebrants: Hangover Cures Don't Work

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- New research suggests that there is no conventional or complementary intervention that will prevent or treat a hangover, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Short Drinks May Have More Kick Than Tall Ones

MONDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Because of human perceptual bias, alcoholic beverages mixed in short, wide tumblers may be more potent than those mixed in taller and more slender highball glasses, according to a study published in the Dec. 24 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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Androgen Receptor May Be Key to Premature Ovarian Failure

THURSDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Genetically engineered mice that lack androgen receptors develop premature ovarian failure (POF), according to a study published online Dec. 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition. The finding suggests that POF in women could be related to androgen signaling irregularities, or to inherited disruptions in the androgen receptor gene, which is located on the X chromosome.

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Link Between New Vaginal, Prior Cervical Dysplasias

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- In rare cases, cells from human papillomavirus (HPV)-positive cervical lesions may spread and cause lesions in the vagina and vulva despite treatment of the original cervical dysplasia, according to the results of a small study published in the Dec. 21 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. In six of seven women treated for cervical cancer or cervical dysplasia, HPV16 or HPV18 integration sites in lower genital tract lesions were identical to those seen in the cervix.

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Low Estrogen in Brain Linked to Alzheimer Disease

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Lack of estrogen in the brain is associated with Alzheimer disease, which could explain why women are more likely to develop the disease than men, according to a study of postmortem human brain tissue and transgenic mice published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Oxygen Deprivation Produces Autism-Like Changes in Rats

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Rats briefly deprived of oxygen shortly after birth develop auditory system deficits similar to those seen in autism and other developmental disorders, according to a study published online Dec. 19 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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HAART Use Prior to Pregnancy Associated with Pre-Eclampsia

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Women infected with HIV who receive highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) before becoming pregnant have a higher risk of pre-eclampsia and fetal death than other women, Spanish researchers report in the January issue of AIDS.

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Hospital 'Handoffs' Common Source of Medical Errors

TUESDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Poor communication during hospital "handoffs," when patient care transitions from one physician or team of physicians to the next, may be responsible for many of the estimated 44,000 to 98,000 deaths that occur each year in U.S. hospitals due to medical errors, according to a study published in the December issue of Academic Medicine.

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CDC Finds Impaired Fecundity Increased in U.S. Women

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing numbers of U.S. women are having difficulty getting pregnant, according to a 244-page report released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also finds that women's reproductive experiences, marital status and history of sexually transmitted infections vary significantly by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race and age at first intercourse.

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S. Korean Researcher Requests Cloning Paper Retraction

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Following a worldwide flurry of fraud and ethics charges, the editors of Science announced Friday that South Korean scientist Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk has requested that his cloning study published online by the journal in May be withdrawn because of errors. However, Hwang still maintains that, despite the errors, the findings are sound.

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Short-Term Complications Common with Breast Implants

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Women who have breast implants after mastectomy often develop short-term complications requiring surgery, according to a study in the December issue of the Archives of Surgery.

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Boys More Likely When Conception Takes Longer

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- The longer it takes a woman to conceive, the more likely it is she will have a boy, according to a study in the Dec. 17 issue of the British Medical Journal.

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ICU Staff Can Cut Work Hours with 14-Hour Shift Schedule

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Changing the "long-call" schedule for interns, residents and fellows to a 14-hour work shift can reduce the number of work hours without compromising patient care, according to a report in the December issue of Chest.

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Single Embyro Transfer Leads to Successful Pregnancies

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The transfer of a single embryo in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle can result in the same pregnancy rates as a two-embryo transfer and significantly reduce the numbers of twins conceived, according to two studies published in the December issue of Fertility and Sterility.

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Oral Contraceptives OK for Some Patients with Lupus

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Although the use of oral contraceptives is contraindicated in women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) because of estrogen-related side effects, two studies in the Dec. 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggest the pill might be considered for patients with inactive or moderately active, stable disease.

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Risk of Other Cancer 25% Higher After Breast Tumor

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women with a history of breast cancer have a 25% increased risk of a new primary cancer, which may be related to breast cancer treatment, such as malignancies developing in the connective tissue of the thorax and arms, researchers report in the Dec. 8 online issue of the International Journal of Cancer.

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U.S. Hospitals Lag in Adopting Safety Recommendations

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Despite some improvements in hospital patient safety systems, many hospitals have made slow progress in adopting 1998 recommendations from the Institute of Medicine National Roundtable on Health Care Quality or from subsequent reports, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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Infiltrating T Cells Linked to Better Ovarian Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Ovarian cancer patients have a better survival rate if their tumor biopsies show high infiltration of CD8+ T cells, according to a study published online Dec. 5 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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Drinking Tea Associated with Lower Ovarian Cancer Risk

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking tea daily is associated with a lower risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study published in the Dec. 12/26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. The association was dose-dependent, with greater tea consumption linked to more protection, but the link may also be due to a healthy lifestyle effect, the authors say.

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Race and Gender Disparities in Lung Cancer Clinical Trials

TUESDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Women and blacks are less likely to enroll in treatment trials for lung cancer, according to a study in the Jan. 15 issue of Cancer.

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FDA Warns Paxil Could Increase Risk of Birth Defects

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned that Paxil (paroxetine) could increase the risk of birth defects, particularly cardiac defects, if taken during the first three months of pregnancy. Paxil should not be taken during pregnancy unless other treatment options are not available, the FDA said in a statement.

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Sleep Quality, Social Factors Predict IL-6 in Women

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Older women who have good sleep quality and social relationships have lower levels of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-6, according to study findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

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New Tool Can Quickly Assess Patients' Health Literacy

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- A new health literacy test lets health care professionals quickly screen patients in English or Spanish, according to a study in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Independent Practice Boosts Physician Job Satisfaction

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians working in independent practices are happier with their jobs than those working for large health care organizations, according to a report published in the November/December issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

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Hot Flushes Linked to Cytochrome P450 Gene

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Perimenopausal and menopausal hot flushes are associated with a polymorphism in the gene that codes for CYP1B1, a cytochrome P450 enzyme, according to a study published in the December issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The polymorphism is a risk factor for hot flushes independent of estradiol (E2) and estrone levels, the authors say.

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Vaginal Delivery Not Linked to Urinary Incontinence

FRIDAY, Dec. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Vaginal delivery does not appear to be associated with postmenopausal urinary incontinence, researchers report in the December issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Rather, an inherited susceptibility to the condition may play a greater role, the study authors suggest.

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Legal Education Common in Ob/Gyn Residency Programs

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Medical-legal education occurs in most obstetrics and gynecology residency programs, but the frequency and types of education could be improved, according to a report published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Obesity Increases Risk of Pregnancy Complications

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Obese women have up to a fivefold higher risk of maternal complications, including hypertension and wound infection, compared with normal-weight women, according to a study published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Graveyard Shift Associated with Premature Births

THURSDAY, Dec. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Strenuous occupations don't appear to adversely affect pregnancy outcomes, but night-shift work may increase the risk of preterm delivery, according to a study published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Genital Herpes Linked to Perinatal HIV Transmission

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women infected with HIV may be more likely to vertically transmit the virus if they also have genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection, according to a study in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

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Some Injured Children Have Long-Term Impairment

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Eight percent of injured children have some long-term residual impairment, with girls three times more likely than boys to experience long-lasting problems, according to the results of a Dutch study published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Study Sheds Light on Families Prone to Preterm Delivery

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- An analysis of families with multiple preterm deliveries suggests that the tendency may be inherited, according to study results published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology. The Utah families with preterm deliveries were more closely related than families selected at random from a large genealogical database.

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Dose-Dense Chemo Effective for Early Breast Cancer

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with early breast cancer who receive six cycles of standard chemotherapy every two weeks have similar 10-year outcomes to patients who have standard therapy every three weeks, according to the results of a large Italian study published in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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FDA Approves First Human Recombinant Hyaluronidase

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first recombinant version of human hyaluronidase, Hylenex, for use as an adjuvant to increase the absorption and dispersion of other injected drugs.

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High-Dose Chemo Improves Breast Cancer Survival

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A rapidly cycled tandem high-dose chemotherapy regimen following conventional chemotherapy may improve the four-year survival of breast cancer patients, according to a report in the Dec. 3 issue of The Lancet.

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Wounds Heal More Slowly in the Unhappily Married

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- A hostile marriage can slow wound healing and increase blood levels of proinflammatory cytokines, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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Group B Streptococcal Disease Drops in Newborns

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of group B streptococcal (GBS) disease in newborn infants dropped by 31% between 2000-2001 and 2004 after universal screening was introduced, according to the Dec. 2 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Black infants remain at highest risk for both early-onset and late-onset GBS disease.

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Half of American Moms Opt Out of Breast-Feeding

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Half of U.S. mothers studied during a two-year period either did not initiate breast-feeding or stopped breast-feeding within one month, according to study findings published in the December issue of Pediatrics.

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Mother's Prenatal Weight Linked to Childhood Obesity

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are obese before becoming pregnant are more likely than non-obese women to have children who are overweight at an early age, according to a study in the December issue of Pediatrics. Women who are black, Hispanic and those who smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to have obese children, the researchers found.

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Percentage Increase in U.K. Men Who Say They Pay for Sex

MONDAY, Dec. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of British men who say they've paid women for sex doubled between 1990 and 2000, according to a study published in the December issue of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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Breakdown in Placental Barrier Boosts Infant HIV Risk

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- A breakdown in the placental barrier, or microtransfusions, appear to increase the risk of vertical transmission during vaginal deliveries, according to a study published in the January 2006 open-access medical journal PLoS Medicine.

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