These Summer days are very busy for me and my family. So I am going to keep to an abbreviated or bullet version this summer. A little later, I’ll let you in on a fun little secret about why I am so busy.
The biggest policy new has to do with the need to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court created by the resignation of Justice Kennedy. The most contentious issue thus far has been abortion, Thus, all conceivable candidates are being scrutinized for their views the subject. Justice Kennedy had been a more liberal justice, and Trump has promised to install an anti abortion justice who would then contribute to the making of law for the rest of their tenure. At present, under Roe V. Wade, abortion is legal. Prior to that it was not, yet many many women and caregivers defied the law, often at great peril. My late father in law, an Obstetrician Gynecologist minted in the early 1960s remembered the days before legal abortion, and while no friend of abortion, told us cautionary tales about the complications that illegal abortions could produce.
The ACA (Affordable Care Act) has more users now than it did last year. As of this last February, 3% more people paid for ACA plans than the prior year. This is especially noteworthy since the Fed decreased funding for outreach about the plan by 90% and halved the enrollment period.
Starting in 2019 the Joint Commission ( a chief governing body for hospitals) will require accredited hospitals to have a newborn identification protocol. Details to follow, though we know it will require “ two factor authentication”.
The Senate has approved 50 million dollars in funding to reduce maternal mortality. Most of this will go to the Federal Maternal and child Health Bureau to expand life saving evidence based programs. Some will also go to the CDC and some will go to Healthy Start programs for mothers and babies.
The Senate also has approved three new bills pertaining to maternal and child well being. In particular the money will be used to reopen closed programs which aim to prevent preterm birth.
One major piece of the maternal mortality puzzle is the lack of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It is tough job with tough call and its pay lags behind that of similar surgical specialists. It is estimated that there will be a shortage of nearly 8800 Ob/Gyn in just TWO YEARs, in 2020. The shortage is very likely to keep growing.
Non-European women with ovary cancer seek genetic testing less than their peers. Genetic testing after ovary cancer may help identify risk factors for other members of the family dn may define the patient’s tumor type in such a way as to tailer its treatment and make it more effective.
Flight attendants have been found to have a higher incidence of many various types of cancers. The findings were published in the Journal Environmental Health. It is unclear why this is the case. Theories include increased exposure to ionizing radiation, circadian rhythm disruption , or to other carcinogens. More study is needed.
Many older women or their caregivers begin to lessen the frequency of their bone density screenings after about 65 years of age. I have never liked this approach as it smacks of marginalizing older women. Many older women begin their final decline with a hip fracture that could’ve been prevented. Now, new recommendations from the USPTF, US Preventive Services Task Force has produced evidence saying it could be worthwhile. This is true because there are many meaningful potential treatments, which when instituted, could help prevent bone fractures and the debility that those entail.
Probiotics. They are for gut health, right ? Turns out a new study has shown that probiotics given to women protect against the loss of bone density. See the Journal of Internal Medicine.
There are nine vaccine which pregnant women may receive. ACOg has recently released a single page list of these and his encouraging all pregnant women to speak with their physician about these.
Smoking. It’s bad. How bad ? Well its bad enough to increase your risk of miscarriage…. even if it is just your partner who smokes ! Yes, second hand smoke from a partner is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.
In separate research, smoking also appears to double your child’s chances of having hearing loss.
In clinic, most people report being active. And yet, the CDC report s that fewer than 23 % of US adults are meeting federal standards for time spent exercising.
In rather disturbing news, over 1 in 4 girls have harmed herself in the past year, often by cutting or burning, compared to 1 in 10 boys.
There is more good news about vitamin D. It turns about high levels of vitamin D may help prevent breast cancer. Vitamin D levels in our lab should sit between 30 and 80 to be considered normal. However, there is more and more evidence that sitting on the higher end of that spectrum may have benefits. New research has indicated that having a level near 60 confers 80% lower risk of breast cancer compared to a level near 20. Associated risk factors were depression, suicidal thoughts, buying and substance abuse were risk factors. See the recent edition os American Journal of Public Health.
Oh… my fun little secret ? I am starting a traditional French Bakery and Bistro. No, I will not be baking. Yes, I will continue full time Obstetrics and Gynecology. It has always been a dream, and, along with a great team of people, I am getting to realize it. Stay tuned. We will open in late August. Visit me at
to learn more. And...stay tuned for more news from the fascinating world of Obstetrics and Gynecology, here, next week on Medical Monday.