Tuesday, February 28, 2006

TN Legislators (not) on Abortion Bill Questions

Last Monday (Feb 20), I sent an email to my state Representative and Senator regarding my questions about the enforcement and implications of the proposed abortion legislation, House Bill 3199 and its companion Senate Bill 3402. As I had already put everything in writing in a previous post, I provided the post link, explained that I had outlined my questions about the bill, and asked for their response. The next day (Feb 21), I promptly received an email from the office of Representative John Hood (D), thanking me for my questions and suggesting that I contact the bill's sponsors with my inquiry. Kudos to Representative Hood's office for visiting the blog post and responding to my message in such a timely fashion.

The same day, I followed Rep. Hood's recommendation and emailed the bill's sponsors, Representative Nathan Vaughn (D) and Senator Rusty Crowe (R). To date (2/28) I have not received a response from either of the sponsors, or from my Senator, Jim Tracy (R). That is, I have not even received the cursory "thanks for your questions, we think our bill is important because..." response, and certainly have not had my questions answered. If you have contacted your legislators and received a response, I'd be interested in hearing from you. I'll post updates if the questions are addressed.

Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
MeSH Tags: Abortion, Induced/legislation and jurisprudence

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Poll for the Ladies

A few days ago, I came across Twisty's post on male OB/GYNs - she doesn't like them. An acquaintance had referred her to the online archives of the OB-GYN-L discussion list, where OB/GYNs were discussing the topic of women who prefer that their gynecological care providers not be men (see the "Sad but true" threads). Many of the male docs seemed to think it was prejudiced and ignorant for women to prefer female providers. Twisty discovered such gems of comments there such as, "My mother fixed this problem when I was born and named me Lynn. Many a woman has been quite shocked when a 6′4″ male walks into the exam room. When they say they thought I was a woman, I simply respond by saying, 'too late now.'" One female doc was told she should get out more when she repeatedly argued the point that some women are simply more comfortable with other women for this type of intimate care, and their choices should be respected rather than belittled.

Personally, I tend to choose women as healthcare providers, because I often choose nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners, who are mostly women. I appreciate the more personal approach they bring to care, and find that they tend to keep me more informed during the actual exam and about any necessary follow-up, and tend to take my concerns more seriously than the male doctors I've encountered. Maybe this is only true based on the clinicians I happen to have visited, but ultimately it's my choice, based on my comfort level. Is that prejudiced? Do you have a preference for male or female providers, particularly with regards to gynecology? I'd like to think that all practicing OB/GYNs respect women's feelings and decisions about who they're comfortable being naked and vulnerable with, regardless of the origin or evidence for those feelings. Perusal of that discussion board makes me think this isn't always the case.

Technorati Tags: ;
MeSH: "Gynecology"[MAJR] AND ("Gender Identity"[MeSH] OR "gender preference"[All Fields] OR "sex preference"[All Fields])

Secret Safe Place Needs Volunteers

A Secret Safe Place for Newborns of Tennessee, Inc. works to raise awareness of Tennessee's Safe Haven Law, which allows mothers to leave unharmed newborns at specified locations within 72 hours of the birth without risk of prosecution, after which the children can be adopted by others.

The Secret Safe Place organization currently needs:
  • Volunteers to distribute printed materials in communities across Tennessee
  • A volunteer to assist us with updating and making changes to our website (must live in Blount or surrounding county)
  • Sponsors for billboards in any county in Tennessee

    You may contact them at 865-254-2208 if you are able to assist with these needs. They also accept donations online, and have information on starting local Secret Safe Place programs online as well.

    (Found via idealist.org)

    Technorati Tags: ;
    MeSH Tags: Child, Abandoned OR Child, Unwanted; Voluntary Workers
  • Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Hospitals Prohibit Videos of Childbirth

    Newsweek has a piece on maternity wards refusing to let births be captured on video. According to the short piece, some hospitals, such as Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital, have banned this practice due to concerns about malpractice, privacy, and interference with the process. If this trend grows, I can imagine some women selecting clinicians to attend their births based on the hospital's rules on video. A WebMD article on choosing your birth attendant and hospital makes just this recommendation, that women inquire as to whether video taping is permitted. As I browsed the web for other pieces on this issue, I found discussion board entries where women complained that they expected to be able to capture video, but were not allowed. If you do plan to have your birth on video, you'll need to check your provider's and the hospital's policies first - in some cases it's outright prohibited, while other facilities have less restrictive policies.

    Locally, Vanderbilt's policy states, "Patients and/or family members in the perinatal area are allowed to Photo/Video deliveries with the permission of the mother and health care providers with consideration of photo angles, privacy, and confidentiality. Permission is documented in the Medical Record," and includes several stipulations about required documentation. If you are aware of other local policies, please leave them in the comments.

    What do you think? Would a video ban make you consider changing obstetric providers/hospitals? Is it reasonable to prohibit taping on the grounds of potential malpractice lawsuits? What does it indicate about how traditional providers view childbirth if every birth is presumed to be a potential disaster?

    As of right now, I don't see any prohibitions against live-blogging a birth. Hmmm....

    Related:
    Lawsuit-Minded Doctors, Hospitals Restrict Delivery Room Videos
    Crackdown on Videotaping in the Delivery Room
    Legal Implications of Birth Videos

    List of tips for making a video of a birth

    Technorati Tags: ;
    MeSH: "Videotape Recording"[MAJR] AND ("Labor, Obstetric"[MeSH] OR "Delivery Rooms"[MeSH] OR "Parturition"[MeSH])

    Monday, February 20, 2006

    Proposed Abortion Legislation in Tennessee

    House Bill 3199 and its companion Senate Bill 3402 were introduced on 2/16. The text of the bill states: "it is an offense for a physician to knowingly perform an abortion on a woman who is eighteen (18) years of age or older unless the physician has received from the woman a signed statement indicating that the woman has notified the man by whom she is pregnant that she intends to have an abortion."

    The bill provides exceptions if the woman signs a statement saying the pregnancy is a result of rape and has been reported to law enforcement, is unable "after diligent effort" to notify or identify the man (in which case she must file written notice with the Department of Children's Services to be placed on the department's putative father registry), and in the case of medical emergencies when the life of the woman is at risk. Penalties are a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine for the physician and a $2,000 fine for the woman.

    What is not made clear in the proposed legislation is how it will be enforced and monitored. Will physicians contact men listed on women's statements to verify that they have been notified? If so, how does this square with patient privacy laws? Why are there no exceptions for women who are being abused, or who may have been examined by a medical professional in the case of a rape which may not have been reported to law enforcement? What constitutes a "diligent effort," and how will such effort be verified? Will the Dept of Children's Services essentially keep a list of women who have had abortions, and could that affect them in future custody or other legal actions? According to TN code (36-2-318), the Putative (presumed) Father Registry was established primarily to deal with parentage records relevant to adoption procedures and termination of parental rights. How will the following section apply?
    "Those persons contained on the registry shall be given notice by the petitioners in proceedings for the adoption of a child or for the termination of parental rights involving a child, and they shall be necessary parties to the proceedings, and, except as they may waive their rights under subsection (f), must have their parental rights to the child terminated prior to entry of an adoption order, as may be required pursuant to chapter 1, part 1, of this title, unless they have executed a surrender, waiver of interest, or parental consent as provided in chapter 1, part 1 of this title."
    Although the proposed law requires 24-hour notice, could this portion be used for additional delays?
    A person listed on the registry and entitled to notice of pending adoption or termination proceedings under subdivision (e)(3) shall have thirty (30) days from the receipt of such notice to file a complaint for parentage or to intervene in the adoption proceedings or termination of parental rights proceedings for the purpose of establishing a claim to parentage of the child or to present a defense to the termination or adoption case.
    These questions would all seemingly need to be answered with regards to the pending legislation. If you would like to leave a comment with or pose these questions of your legislator, you can find names and email addresses of TN Senate members here and House members here.

    (Found via TV on the Fritz)

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Abortion, Induces/legislation and jurisprudence

    Wait, take what? Eat what? I give up...

    In the past few weeks, there have been a couple of health stories that seemingly contradict the "conventional wisdom." Among them (via MedlinePlus):

    Calcium, Vitamin D Won't Protect Older Women From Fracture - study participants were randomly assigned to receive calcium carbonate and Vitamin D or placebo. Hip bone density was higher in those receiving the supplements, but there was no significant difference in the rate of fracture. (Get the abstract)

    Low-Fat Diets Don't Protect Postmenopausal Women - "A large U.S. government study has found that a diet low in fat but high in vegetables, grains and fruits does not reduce the risk of breast cancer, colorectal cancer or cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women." This news actually comes from multiple papers published in the Feb 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association; abstracts are here (breast cancer), here (colorectal cancer), and here (cardiovascular disease).

    Cardiologists cautioned,
    ""We have to be very careful. The last thing I want is someone to go out eating a high-fat, high-calorie diet," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, chief of women's cardiac care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. "It's a combination of things that lowers cardiovascular risk. It's no one diet, no one exercise, no one pill." Goldberg is also author of The Women's Healthy Heart Program.

    "It would be easy to misinterpret the results of this study," Dr. Robert H. Eckel, president of the heart association, added in a prepared statement. "Reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease is about following an integrated lifestyle program, rather than concentrating solely on dietary composition."

    There were other cautionary notes. It's not clear if starting a low-fat diet earlier in life might have conferred a greater reduction in risk. All of the women in the study were postmenopausal when they changed their eating habits."
    Hormone Therapy May Be Less Risky for Younger women (summary) - full-text available for free online

    In other news, the new food labels provide information on the amount of trans fat in a product, and a clearer listing of certain allergens. As of right now, trans fat is still bad for you. :)

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Diet; Diet, Fat-Restricted; Hormone Replacement Therapy; Risk; Risk Factors; Vitamins OR Dietary Supplements

    Saturday, February 18, 2006

    Consumer Correspondent, With Apologies to the Nashville Scene

    2/18/06

    Dear Otherwise Reputable Dermatology Clinic Who Sent Me a Lilac-Colored Advertisement Featuring B&W Close-Up Photos of Parts of Women's Faces (never a whole woman) and Offering 10% off My First Cosmetic Treatment:
    I appreciate your generous offer of 10% off my first botox or collagen injection. I'm writing to inquire whether said 10% discount can be used for skin cancer removal or other health-related dermatologic concerns. It's just a question.
    Sincerely,
    Fine With Myself How I Am, Thanks

    Attachments:
    Other classics of women's insecurity (I mean, health) advertising:
    Lysol douche ad - "For Married Folks Only - Why does she spend evenings alone?"
    Zonite douche ad - "So humilitated when she realized the cause of her husband's frigidity"

    CC:
    Nashville blogging community
    World Wide Web


    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Advertising; Body Image; Cosmetic Techniques; Dermatology

    Thursday, February 16, 2006

    I'll Take Mine To-Go

    Some women's health stories are confusing, bizarre, and just plain disgusting - this is one of those. From the Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report: "The Oregonian on Sunday examined the Cascadia Placenta Registry, which, unbeknownst to many patients, collected placentas from as many as 700 women from hospitals in Oregon, California and Washington between 1996 and 2003." The Oregonian has the extraordinary details on the story. Among other details, the piece profiles Angela Desbiens, a mother who experienced pregnancy complications and whose daughter was born via emergency C-section. Unbeknownst to Desbiens,
    ...the hospital sent her placenta to a Portland institute created and financed by the insurance industry, in part to help health care providers defend against birth-injury lawsuits.

    The pathologist at the institute, Cascadia Placenta Registry, analyzed the tissue and drafted a report contending that McKenna's cerebral palsy was caused by blood flow problems, not improper care.

    It wasn't until Desbiens sued Providence, four years after the birth, that she first read the report and learned what had become of her placenta, the organ that transports blood, oxygen and nutrients to a fetus.
    The Oregonian story reports that Cascadia is now called "Northwest Physicians Insurance Co.," but it seems to have been acquired by The Doctors Company. Among the gems on the DC website: "The combined use of new technologies and traditional guidelines is helping to replace the myth that "bad labor or delivery makes a bad baby" with the concept that a "bad baby makes a bad labor or delivery." The site includes guidelines for obstetric risk reduction, which essentially urge clinicians to perform childbirth as a process of defeating possibility liabilities.

    The Kaiser summary mentions that laws may not have been broken, but let's call this what it is: hospitals taking one of the products of childbirth, without the mother's consent, in the interest of avoiding any possible responsibility for a bad outcome. How many women want their children's births viewed from this perspective?

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Defensive Medicine; Obstetrics/ethics OR /legislation and jurisprudence; Placenta;

    MA Wal-Mart Required to Stock Emergency Contraception

    Earlier this month, I posted on a lawsuit filed by 3 Massachusetts women against Wal-Mart for the retail giant's refusal to stock the Plan B emergency contraceptive. The state's Board of Registration in Pharmacy voted yesterday to require Wal-Mart to stock the drug. I was not able to find a statement on the Board's website, but the Boston Globe covers the story here. It mentions that Wal-Mart plans to review its policy of refusal to carry Plan B nationwide. The Kaiser Network provides a summary of the ruling and its implications.

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Contraception, Postcoital; Levonorgestrel

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    V-Day Reminders

    See the previous post for info on some local V-Day events, which typically include a performance of The Vagina Monologues and the raising of money for agencies that benefit women and victims of violence.

    In related news, our Aunt B will be in a production of the show at the Belcourt on February 25th.

    Also next week, Vanderbilt's IMAGE student group dedicated to healthy body image will host IMAGE week, a series of events for students on body image, eating disorders, and images of women's bodies in media.

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Domestic Violence; Sex Offenses; Spouse Abuse

    Sunday, February 12, 2006

    Women's Health News Link Dump

    Assorted women's health-related news. These are read-and-make-up-your-own-mind entries, designed to get interesting stories to you, when your little blogger is suffering from information overload. :)

    via National Women's Health Information Center:
  • Overweight Women Risk Problem Pregnancies
  • Full Breastfeeding Duration and Associated Decrease in Respiratory Tract Infection
  • Researchers Report Big Gains Against Cervical Cancer
  • Variety of Breast Cancer Patients Turn to Web for Support
  • Fatalism, Ignorance Keep Many from Needed Cancer Checks

    via Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report:
  • Black Women Living in Low-Income Neighborhoods Less Likely to Regularly Schedule Cervical Cancer Screenings
  • Male U.S. Representatives With Daughters More Likely To Vote in Favor of Abortion Rights, Women's Issues
    Kansas Attorney General Testifies in Support of Opinion Requiring Reporting of Sexual Activity Among Minors and Kansas Opinion Requiring Reporting of Sexual Activity Among Minors Misunderstood, Lawyer Says
  • More Women Are Choosing C-Sections Over Natural Birth, Citing Personal Choice, Research
  • Drug Used to Prevent Preterm Labor Might Cause It, Study Finds
  • 35% Catholic Hospitals in States With EC Access Regulations Do Not Dispense Drug, Study Says

    via Feministing:
  • South Dakota House Passes Abortion Ban
  • The Austin Chronicle addresses women's rights and health care in Texas (Feministing post is here)
  • 40 Kentucky Lawmakers Sign Bill to Ban Abortion
  • Two-Thirds of College Students Affected by Sexual Harrassment

    via Women's Bioethics Project:
  • iPledge . . . not to have sex (or, if I do, to use 2 forms of birth control) (commentary on article regarding Accutane and birth defects)
  • Exploitation of Women in Ova Donation for Research

    via CNN:
  • Employer Key for Breast Cancer Survivors
  • Not Your Mother's Breast Milk

    via Kevin, MD:
  • You'll Have to Sue to Find Out: Woman Becomes a Quadruple Amputee after Giving Birth

    via Medical Informatics Insider:
  • New Food Labels More Helpful

    via Notes from Dr. RW:
  • Debunking the Popular Media
  • Patient Blogs and How They Help Physicians

    via the New York Times:
  • System Said to Fail to Steer Women Away from Acne Drug
  • Children, Media and Sex: A Big Book of Blank Pages

    via MedlinePlus:
  • Noninvasive Tests May Miss Breast Cancer
  • Surgeries to Remove Precancerous Cervical Lesions Raise Obstetric Risks
  • Male Circumcision Protects Women from AIDS
  • Focused Ultrasound Effective Against Fibroids

    no tags on this one - too many topics!
  • My Yahoo! Answers, Part 2

    As in the past, some of these questions have been reworded, and I'm listing resources instead of providing my original full answers so as not to copy directly from the YA site.

  • What is the right way to wash your vagina? and What is the best feminine product to get rid of a vaginal smell? - one person wanted to know if internal scrubbing was necessary, and some respondants recommended douching.
    Resources:: No douching! Douching - Frequently Asked Questions (Nat'l Womens Health Info Center)

  • What is hypermetropia?
    Resources: It's farsightednews. Nat'l Library of Medicine - Medical Subject Headings - Hyperopia (provides the definition and alternate terms, including Hypermetropia); Hyperopia (American Optometric Association); Farsightedness (MayoClinic.com)

  • Where can I find information on disciplinary actions for psychologists in California? - for no apparent reason, Yahoo! removed this question.
    Resources: Board Actions - California Board of Psychology (provides list of disciplinary actions against CA psychologists); other official state websites should have similar information on licensing/disciplinary actions.

  • What is systemic lupus?
    Resources: What is Lupus? (Lupus Foundation of America); Handout on Health: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (Nat'l Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases); JAMA Patient Page: Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (American Medical Association); Lupus (MayoClinic.com)

  • I'm 5'2" and weigh 88 pounds. My friends say I'm underweight, but I think I could lose some more. I have people tell me I'm too skinny all the time! Especially since they know I only eat 1 small meal a day, dinner. I hate it because I see myself as something diffrent and How can I stop eating?
    Resources: Eating Disorders - Self-Evaluation Quiz (Nat'l Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders); KidsHealth - Eating Disorders (Nemours Foundation); Anorexia Nervosa (Nat'l Eating Disorders Association); FamilyDoctor.org - Anorexia Nervosa (American Academy of Family Physicians); Eating Disorders Information and Referral Program (National Eating Disorders Association); Anorexia (Nat'l Women's Health Information Center)

  • I need information on the calories and vitamins in vegetables.
    Resources: USDA National Nutrient Database; Fruit and Vegetable Nutrition Facts Chart (Dole); 5 a Day: Fruit and Vegetable of the Month (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);

  • What are the symptoms of a seizure coming on?
    Resources: Seizure Disorders (Merck Manual Home Edition)

  • Is vitiligo treatable?
    Resources: Questions and Answers About Vitiligo - Treatment Options (Nat'l Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

  • What's the best cure for a persistent cough?
    Resources: Chronic Cough: Causes and Cures (American Academy of Family Physicians)

  • What are the symptoms of having HIV/AIDS?
    Resources: How can I tell if I'm infected with HIV? What are the Symptoms? (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

  • How do I manage type 2 diabetes?
    Resources: Diabetes Learning Center (American Diabetes Association); National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

    My Yahoo! Answers, Part 1
    Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
    (no MeSH tags for this one - too many topics!)
  • Wednesday, February 08, 2006

    The Kids Never Really Leave Home, Leave Their Junk Everywhere

    NPR aired a story this morning on research finding that babies' cells linger inside the mother's body for decades. Decades, people, even if the pregnancy was miscarried or terminated. This is somtimes referred to as "fetal cell microchimerism;" chimerism is "the occurrence in an individual of two or more cell populations of different chromosomal constitutions, derived from different individuals." You may be more familiar with the Chimera from Greek mythology.

    The NPR story can be downloaded from the website, and does a good job of explaining the two main hypotheses regarding these cells; the first suggests that these cells may contribute to autoimmune diseases, while the second proposes that the cells help the mother stay healthy throughout her life by rushing to sites of disease or injury and providing some benefit. Alternately, the cells may do nothing good or bad - they may just float around inside women's bodies.

    Here's a list of citations on the topic; in most cases you can read the article abstracts, and some will be free online. Personally, I'm hoping the "Good Hypothesis" is proven correct, because it would have a nice evolutionary purpose of helping to keep the mother healthy, and otherwise this is just a little gross. I mean, shouldn't we be getting dragon tails out this? :)

    Technorati Tags: ; ;
    MeSH Tags: (use the link above for a search on the topic, or these terms for individual concepts) Chimerism OR Chimera; Fetus/cytology; Maternal-Fetal Exchange/Genetics; Pregnancy

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    Pregnancy and Depression

    This is "old" news now, but a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [1 Feb 2006; 295(5): 499-507] found that pregnancy did not protect women from depression. Apparently, it was was once "common belief that the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy provide a protective effect against depression." The authors note, "Pregnancy has historically been described as a time of emotional well-being, providing 'protection' against psychiatric disorder. However, systematic data to support this impression are sparse." The intention of the study was to test whether women receiving maintenance antidepressive treatment could successfully discontinue those medications during pregnancy without relapse or not, indicating whether pregnancy really does have a protective effect against depression.

    201 pregnant women were enrolled in the study who had a previous history of major depression, were less than 16 weeks along, had normal thyroid function, and were currently receiving antidepressant treatment. Women who were actively suicidal, had certain mental disorders (schizophrenia, for example), had positive drug tests, or had medical conditions associated with depressive symptoms were excluded. The women were split into two groups who either continued or discontinued their medications. The women were not randomized, but were informed about the nature of the study and allowed to choose which path to take.

    Of those who stopped taking their medicines, 68% relapsed into major despression during the study. Curiously, 26% of women who continued taking their meds also experienced depression. 61% of those who discontinued or decreased their antidepressant medications reintroduced the drug therapy during pregnancy. The authors note a few limitations of their work (such as the non-randomized design), but conclude that pregnancy does not have a protective effect against depression.

    A summary of the study from the AMA is available online, as is the article abstract.

    Pregnancy-Related Depression Resources:
  • Depression in Pregnancy - MayoClinic.com
  • Pregnancy Pointers for Women with Psychiatric History - National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Depression During and After Pregnancy - National Women's Health Information Center
  • Depression During Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression - March of Dimes
  • Mental Health Services Locator - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Postpartum Disorders - National Mental Health Association
  • Postpartum Depression and the "Baby Blues" - American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Depression After the Birth of a Child or Pregnancy Loss - The Cleveland Clinic

    Technorati Tags: ;
    MeSH Tags: Depression, Postpartum; Pregnancy Complications AND Depression
  • V-Day Happenings

    I mentioned V-Day in a previous post on domestic violence resources. The organization's website provides an explanation of V-Day, which falls on Valentine's Day and is intended to raise awareness and resources for the prevention of violence against women and girls.

    Locally, Vanderbilt will be staging a production of The Vagina Monologues on Feb 14 & 15 at 7PM at Ingram Hall to benefit the Domestic Violence Hardship Fund (tickets are $12). Volunteer State Community College is also performing the show on Feb 14 at 12:30 pm and 7:30 pm in Wemyss Auditorium to benefit HomeSafe of Gallatin. MTSU is supposedly hosting an event as well, but I couldn't find the details on their website. You can find events in other locations by viewing the "V-Campaigns" page. And yes, the script sometimes says "vagina" when what is meant is "vulva," but it's for a good cause, people.

    While looking for details on these events, I found out about these additional local resources:
  • Rape & Sexual Abuse Center - located in Nashville and Clarksville, the Center's stated mission is to "Help people heal from the effects of rape and sexual abuse and reducing risk through community education"
  • Project Safe - housed in the Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center, this is Vanderbilt's campus effort to educate about, prevent, and respond to sexual assault, abuse and stalking.
  • Ujima House - "focuses on the needs of women and their children, who are victims of domestic violence"
  • YWCA of Nashville Domestic Violence program - the YW operates a shelter and crisis line, and provides other domestic violence-related support
  • Survivors Against Violent Environments - transitional housing and support for women of faith

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Domestic Violence; Sex Offenses; Spouse Abuse
  • Whew, That Was Close!

    Today seems like a good day for safe driving tips, given that I almost rear-ended a Kia Sorento on my way to work this morning. I couldn't see what was going on ahead, b/c the Sorento was blocking the view from my modest-sized sedan. The driver slammed on the brakes, causing me to do the same, thinking, "I'm going to hit that car," while a concrete mixer truck rapidly approached me from behind. Luckily, my car stopped less than 6 inches from the back of the SUV - thanks, Honda! However, I had swerved slightly to the right, causing the veering concrete mixer to veer even more, and honk at me. Did I mention that an unmarked cop car was around to witness the whole thing? It looks as though I'm not the only one who could use a lesson on automobile safety, either.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released its 2004 traffic accident statistics, which report that 13,310 women were killed in traffic accidents in 2004, and an additional 1,469,00 were injured (more than twice as many men were killed). The NHTSA's website has a ton of traffic safety information, including online brochures on agressive, drowsy, and other hazardous driving.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has information on airbags, child passenger safety, impaired driving, young and old drivers, safety belts, and other topics. I learned from the CDC's site that "Motor vehicle-related incidents are consistently the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States." Women seem to get off easier in work-related traffic fatalities as well; in 2004, 2,460 fatal transportation incidents occurred, and only 187 of those were women.

    Additional safe driving info:
  • Older Drivers - National Institute on Aging
  • Aggressive Driving - American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Fact Sheets - National Safety Council (scroll down to "On the Road")
  • Pregnancy: Should I Use a Seatbelt? - American Academy of Family Physicians
  • Pregnancy brochure - NHTSA

    Technorati Tags: ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Accidents, Traffic
  • Sunday, February 05, 2006

    What I Learned from the Super Bowl

    Dove has launched the Dove Self Esteem Fund, which I learned from this Super Bowl commercial. Dove has been noticed recently for its "Campaign for Real Beauty" ads which feature women larger than your average stick-thin model, in their underwear. The campaign has come under fire from various sources, such as Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper, who called the ads "unsettling," and described the normal-sized models as "plump women baring too much skin." Some feminists also criticized the ad, complaining that Dove wasn't doing enough to promote realistic body images, because it was using the ads to promote a skin firming cream. I say, it's nice to see images of non-diet-obsessed women in the media, no matter what they're selling. See the previous post for eating disorders-related resources.

    The Dove Self Esteem Fund has been set up to encourage girls to have a more positive body image. The site includes self-esteem workbooks for mothers and daughters to use together, quizzes, and information about the "uniquely ME!" program, an an activity of the Girls Scouts of the USA funded by the Dove Fund. A donation to the program can be made here.

    Also related to the Super Bowl, Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger is not likely to need any of these resources on exercise for seniors anytime soon. If you saw the half-time performance, you know that from the chest down, old Mick is smokin' hot, and can still work a stage. I was particularly pleased to see the performance of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which your little blogger went around singing, to her grandparents' horror, at the ripe old age of 3.

    Finally, you may have heard that domestic violence soars during the Super Bowl; this seems to be myth. However, here are a few domestic violence resources:
  • Family Violence Prevention Fund
  • Are You Being Abused? - American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Checklist for Leaving an Abuser - National Women's Health Information Center
  • How an Abuser can Discover Your Internet Activities and Domestic Violence Safety Tips - American Bar Association
  • Supporting the Survivor - National Mental Health Information Center
  • Tennessee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Domestic Violence Hotlines and Resources - Feminist Majority Foundation
  • Women Against Domestic Violence
  • V-Day

    Technorati Tags: ; ; ; ; ;
    MeSH Tags: Aged AND Exercise; Body Image; Domestic Violence; Self Concept; Spouse Abuse
  • February is National [blank] Month

    Now that Blogger is working again(!), a rundown of health observances set for February 2006:

    National Heart Month:
  • Are you at an increased risk of having a heart attack? - Quiz from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute
  • If you have money to burn, the Nashville Heart Gala is happening this Saturday, February 11, and is a black-tie event to raise money for the American Heart Association.
    I posted several other heart health resources for women here.
    I have yet to see any listings of local heart health screening events, but will post them as I find them.

    National Condom Week (2/13-18):
  • How to Use a Condom - American Social Health Association
  • Talking to Your Partner About Condoms - Nemours Foundation
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases - National Women's Health Information Center
  • Preventing STIs: Safer Sex - EngenderHealth
  • Condoms: Fact Sheet - Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Condoms - MayoClinic.com
  • Birth Control Methods: How Well Do They Work? - Nemours Foundation
  • Condoms and Sexually Transmitted Diseases - US Food & Drug Administration

    National Donor Day (2/14):
  • Donate Life - organ and tissue donation
  • About Donation - The Organ and Tissue Transplantation Network
  • Organ Donation - National Library of Medicine
  • Glossary - United Network for Organ Sharing
  • 25 Facts About Organ Donation and Transplantation - National Kidney Foundation
  • Myths About Organ Donation
  • Organ Donation: Don't Let Myths Stand in Your Way - MayoClinic.com
  • Tissue Donation: Statements from Various Religions - American Red Cross

    National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (2/26-3/4):
  • Eating Disorders Information - National Eating Disorders Association
  • Eating Disorders - Nemours Foundation
  • Facts About Eating Disorders and the Search for Solutions - National Institute of Mental Health
  • I Think My Friend Has an Eating Disorder, What Should I Do? - Nemours Foundation (for teens)
  • 10 Things Parents Can do to Prevent Eating Disorders and Eating Disorders Survival Guide - National Eating Disorders Association

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    MeSH Tags: Condoms; Condoms, Female; Eating Disorders; Heart Diseases; Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention and control; Tissue Donors; Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Friday, February 03, 2006

    Women's Heart Health

    In honor of Wear Red Day, here are some informational resources on heart health for women.

  • The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
  • Talking to your doctor about your risk for heart disease and stroke - self-assessment and questions to ask your clinician
  • The National Women's Health Information Center - Heart Health - fact sheets on numerous heart-related topics
  • The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women - free PDF guide to your heart health
    HeartHealthyWomen
  • Women's Heart Foundation
  • American Heart Association - not specific to women
  • MedlinePlus - Heart Disease in Women (links to lots more info!)

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    MeSH Tags: Heart Diseases
  • Planned Parenthood Marks Up Emergency Contraception?

    According to a story in today's Boston Globe, Planned Parenthood receives its kits of the Plan B emergency contraception from Barr Laboratories for $4.25 each, and typically sells them to patients for $30. That would be a markup of over 600%, a potentially substantial profit as the organization distributed 774,482 of the Plan B kits in 2003. What is not clear from the article is how frequently Planned Parenthood reduces that cost on a sliding scale, or whether that charge includes costs for any examination/staff time.

    Because PP has been active in promoting over the counter access to Plan B, a representative for anti-abortion group Concerned Women for America stated, "The profit motive behind Planned Parenthood's involvement in making the morning-after pill [available over the counter] is something that needs to be seriously looked at and questioned," according to the story. However, a PP representative responded, and I think rightly, that "The changes could actually diminish the revenue Plan B generates for the organization because women could buy it in more places." If women can pick up Plan B at any drugstore, fewer women will need to visit PP in order to receive the drug.

    However, I would be interested in finding out more about the frequency of the $30 charge for the drug at PP clinics, versus reduced sliding scale pricing. I understand that revenue is needed in order to operate and provide women with valuable services, so a more in depth understanding of the organization's finances would be necessary to fully understand this issue. See the Globe article linked above for a few more details. If PP issues a response, I'll update this post later.
    (found via Medpundit)

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    MeSH Tags: Contraception, Postcoital; Levonorgestrel

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Hidden Heart Disease in Women

    A recently published study found that, "In as many as 3 million U.S. women with coronary heart disease, cholesterol plaque may not build up into major blockages, but instead spreads evenly throughout the artery wall. As a result, diagnostic coronary angiography reveals that these women have “clear” arteries—no blockages—incorrectly indicating low risk. Despite this, many of these women have a high risk for heart attack," according to a National Institutes of Health press release. More on this from the New York Times and All Things Considered. These two stories do a good job of explaining how heart attack symptoms may differ in women and men, and how the expected angiogram view is good at diagnosing this kind of heart disease in men, but not in women. Note: I have not been able to read and evaluate the full study yet, because it was issued very recently as a supplement, and the supplier of my online access has not yet caught up. Ahem.

    On a related note, national heart health organizations encourage you to wear red this Friday in support of women's heart disease awareness. Of course, you're also encouraged to donate money to organizations funding women's health/heart disease research and education.

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    MeSH Tags: Heart Diseases

    Emergency Contraception Updates

    Three Massachusetts women have filed suit against Wal-Mart for its refusal to carry the emergency contraceptive drug, Plan B. The radio show Marketplace covered this tonight, and you can listen to the story from the website. Wal-Mart has refused to carry Plan B in any of its pharmacies (AlterNet covered this in June 2005), although it now stocks the drug in Indiana stores, where it is required to by law that pharmacies stocking birth control also dispense emergency contraception. The current lawsuit alleges that by refusing to stock & dispense Plan B, Wal-Mart is violating the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. If you'd like to send a comment to Wal-Mart on their policy regarding EC, you can contact them using this form.
    Note: if the Globe site asks you to register, you can find a login at BugMeNot

    From the Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Reports:
    The American Center for Law and Justice filed suit against Walgreens on behalf of 4 Indiana pharmacists fired for refusing to fill Plan B prescriptions.

    A Target pharmacist filed an EEOC complaint, claiming she was fired for saying she would not fill emergency contraception prescriptions

    Three bills have been introduced into the Illinois legislature that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill EC prescriptions. Text of the bills is available here (HB4230), here(HB4246), and here (HB4346).

    No news has come out of the FDA on the issue of over the counter access to Plan B. On August 26, 2005, FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford announced that public comments on several issues related to OTC status would be accepted, and that "I am committed to expediting this rule-making process, and in order to do so, I have ordered a 60-day comment period instead of the usual 90 to 120 day comment period. FDA will process and post the comments as they come in to us and finalization of this regulatory and policymaking process will be a personal priority of mine." Since then, nothing.

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    MeSH Tags: Contraception, Postcoital; Levonorgestrel