Medical Monday: Breaking News from the World of Obstetrics and Gynecology 

A startling report by the Pan American Health Organization has reported that Zika can be carried by the Mosquito Aedes Albopictus, also known as the Asian Tiger mosquito. This is important since before this, we only thought it could be carried by Aedes Aegyptae, which has a much more restricted range. The potential northern reach of Zika pay be much farther than previously believed. (See map.) 

Testing for a Zika virus vaccine is slated to begin in September of this year.  

In other good news, there may be another strategy toward curbing the spread of Zika by mosquitos. Apparently, infecting a mosquito with a bacteria called Wolbachia makes it less likely to get Zika. It is hoped that Wolbachia colonized mosquitos will infect the entire population of mosquitos, displacing Zika.  

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy such as preeclampsia, also known as toxemia, appear to have some modifiable risk factors. These would include diabetes, obesity, cholesterol levels, pre-pregnancy blood pressure levels, and the incidence of binge drinking. These factors should be targeted and improved before pregnancy to minimize the chance of preeclampsia. 

A retrospective study published in the journal Pediatrics has revealed that women who get flu vaccine in pregnancy protect their babies as well. Those babies whose mother received flu vaccine turned out to be 70% less likely to get the flu. Among those babies whose mothers had received the flu vaccine who did get the flu, they were 80% less likely to require hospitalization. 

An English study from the Journal of Adolescent Health has revealed that 3/4 of girls from ages 11-18 have listed breast related concerns as reasons for dropping out of sports. Other data has showed that 72 % of women have experienced exercise related breast pain. And yet only 10% of girls in the survey were wearing a sports bra prevent this. The study also queried girls about their knowledge about breast heath and development. 90% said they wanted to know more.The survey showed that the favored solution was a females only health class with a female teacher sometime around age 11. 

New research presented at the annual meeting go the Pediatric Academic Societies shows that HPV is associated with a twofold increased risk of self destructive escape behaviors such as cigarette smoking, marijuana, and use of alcohol. I wonder if this means we should begin pap and HPV screening on young women with these behaviors sooner than the recommended 21 years of age ? 

Normal weight people who ate 25 % less than they wanted were studied for two years. Research published in Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine has shown that after two years, they were happier, less stressed, slept better, and had better sex drives that their counterparts who ate all they wanted. My guess is that this habit generated a sense of mastery, which transferred over to other areas of the test subject's lives. The study also showed that test subjects lost weight, from what had to be the high range of normal to about 22.6, the lower side of normal in Body Mass Index (BMI) 

Ever hear the term “ reproductive coercion “? Neither had I. However, I have heard of a phenomenon where men pressure women to get pregnant against their wishes. It can involve the sabotage of birth control and is highly associated with physical abuse. A recent study among sexually active high school girls in New York has shown that gives as young as 14 report reproductive coercion.  This problem is just coming to light. 

In related news, women serving in the military have been noted to have trouble obtaining their prescribed birth control. Perhaps related to this is the higher rate of unplanned pregnancy in the military compared to the general population. Is this reproductive coercion? Not exactly. 

In the “ I had no idea “ department, it appears that 1 in 6 hospital beds in the US are in Catholic affiliated hospitals. This percentage has increased in recent years. In these hospitals, there are, of course, no abortions performed. However, health care staff are also advised not to promote contraception, and not to perform sterilizations. Is this reproductive coercion ? 


Stay tuned for more breaking news from the world of Ob/Gyn, here, next week, on Medical Monday.