Medical Monday: Medical News Section
Pregnancy related death continues to rise in at a fairly steady rate in the US. As of 2013, we sit at 17.3 women per 100,000 live births with a rage of about 12 per 100,000 for whites and 40 per 100,000 for blacks. Cardiovascular diseases of various kinds accounts for about 40% if these deaths. About 9% are due to pulmonary embolism, and 7% are related to high blood pressure and preeclampsia. The rest pertain to infection, hemorrhage and rare disorders like amniotic fluid embolism.
Teen births are statistically high risk. It turns out that high teen birth rates cluster in certain cities. Analysis of the data shows these clusterings are not random and are not related to poverty to education. Most generally, the clusters are in the southern states, but they also exist in Denver, Fresno, and Yakima. San Antonio has the distinction of being the number one urban center with a teen pregnancy cluster. These findings my begin to help shed light on what is no doubt at least partly a cultural phenomenon.
Breastfeeding has been touted has having numerous benefits, including health benefits to the mother. It turns out that prevention of uterus (endometrial) cancer is one of those benefits. Breastfeeding EVER confers an 11% reduction of risk. The longer the breastfeeding the more the risk was reduced, until risk reduction peaked at somewhere around 6-9 months of breastfeeding.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (See PCO section HERE) is a complex of problems which include problems with ovulation (producing an egg), as well as obesity, excess male hormone, and difficulty metabolizing carbohydrate. A given patient may have one, all, or just a selection of the features of this varied disease. Generally, doctors have assumed that obesity and carbohydrate intolerance goes together. However new research has shown that even normal weight patients with PCO have have significant insulin resistance. This points for the need to counsel normal weight patients to eat a very high quality diet rich in protein, vegetables and fruit, and healthy fats.
The overall incidence of depression in teens in higher than once previously believed, coming in at about 14% for those between 12-17. Of note, by 17, girls had a three fold higher incidence than boys.
In the vice department, the news is sobering. New research from the Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence has shown that children born to women who smoke as few as 10 cigarettes per day have problems later in life. In particular, they have increased problems “learning and thinking”.
The British Medical Journal has published research showing that even small amounts of alcohol produces changes in brain function which play out as poorer performance on language related tests. This data comes from research on 550 men and women over a 30 year period of time.
Hard data is in from last year’s mosquito season in America (including Puerto Rico). Zika virus, which is transmitted by mosquito, produced birth defects in about 5% of babies who’s mothers became infected in pregnancy. This number was higher for those infected early, and lower for those infected late. We should learn even more this year, and hopefully get one season closer to a vaccine for this dreaded disease.
For those in Zika- vulnerable states: Remember, DEET is safe in pregnancy. Zika is not.
Stay tuned next week for more breaking news from the world of Obstetrics and Gynecology.