Yet another Federal Judge has put a stop to the defunding of a regional Teen Pregnancy Prevention program. This time .a district court judge in Washington, DC has ruled that that HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) must process the grant for $3 million dollars which provides for 20 health educator jobs and provides for teen pregnancy prevention education.
Many voices have come out in opposition to proposed changes to Title X funding. Title X funding is meant to ensure access to reproductive health care. However, funds are due to be cut from any provider who mentions abortion even as an option. Proponents of the measure say parenting and adoption will also be promoted. Opponents say this is being sought to placate anti-abortion elements of the electorate as well as to close programs and clinics, thus decreasing federal health care spending for those on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.
Thirteen governors have signed a “ sharply worded letter” sent to HHS secretary Alex Azar opposing the proposed Title X changes. The letter cites “reckless policy” which “upends decades of bipartisan cooperation”.
Texas which has struggled mightily with appalling maternal morbidity and mortality, has voiced particular concern that changes to Title X could undermine efforts to combat impact rampant maternal complications in the State.
Newer gene testing is allowing doctors to better target therapies to individual patients. In particular, we are now gaining insight, through genetic analysis, about which tumors in which patients are likely to respond to chemotherapy, and conversely, which are not. Gene testing is allowing some patients to skip chemotherapy and the complications that that entails.
Also in breast cancer news, immunotherapy is being brought to bear in the fight against breast cancer. In one case study a 49 year old woman who had failed all other therapies received immunotherapy with a large clone of her own best cancer killing immune cells. These were produced by identifying and removing theses cells, and then amplifying them to 100 billion then using them as a treatment. This patient, who had no further treatment options, is now three years with NED- No evidence of disease !!!
In similarly encouraging news a pairing of new ovarian cancer drugs have shown themselves to be effective against heretofore drug resistant ovarian cancer.
Zika virus is again upon us in the South and authorities in Florida are taking precautions. Thus far there have been cases noted, but none have been of local origin. Zika Virus is transmitted by certain mosquitoes and is prevalent in tropical and subtropical climates such as in Florida, Central and South America. Zika virus contracted in pregnancy can make serious birth defects in the central nervous system of the unborn.
Many women are identified as having pregnancy associated diabetes. They may require medication or dietary modification in pregnancy. New research now indicates that such patients may benefit from a postnatal lifestyle intervention program. Such women with a history of gestational diabetes are at increased risk for diabetes later in life.
In concerning news, a new meta-analysis has indicated that hypertensive disorders of pregnancy such as chronic hypertension and preeclampsia may be associated with a higher risk of autism spectrum disorders and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Women with untreated chronic hypertension, over weight women, and others have a higher risk of having hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Maintaining normal weight and fitness before pregnancy can decrease the incidence of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy.
A new and encouraging study has shown that resistance training helps stave off depression. Most of the exercise literature now supports the combination of light resistance training women for women, especially older women as it preserves muscle and burns fat. The combination of cardio and light resistance is often called HIIT or high intensity interval training. Low hanging fruit !
Stay tuned for more news from the fascinating world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here, next week on Medical Monday.