Archive by category | Women’s world

NEWS FEATURE: The vagina catalogues

NEWS FEATURE: The vagina catalogues

When Heather went on vacation last year at the same time that she was participating in an unusual research project, she knew the relatives she was sharing a room with might be curious about what she was sticking inside the hotel freezer. Rather than explaining, “I would say ‘just don’t touch this cup’,” recalls the 34-year-old health counselor from Baltimore. Thankfully, no one did.  Read more

Breast isn’t always best

Breast isn’t always best

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that while items like acne creams and denture adhesive are eligible for tax breaks under the new US health care law, breast pumps are not. Breast-feeding boosters like La Leche League are, naturally, up in arms, but the US Internal Revenue Service says that the pumps do not fall under the umbrella of preventative medicine, since breast milk is primarily nutrition.  Read more

I like… my breast cancer activism with substance

I like… my breast cancer activism with substance

This time of year, the leaves are turning red and yellow and orange, but just about everything else is blushing pink. That’s right: it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has raised more than $1.5 billion for breast cancer research since it started in 1982, and $55 million a year comes from corporate marketing partnerships (including the special edition KFC bucket). We’ve covered these questionable ‘pinkwashing’ practices before. And this October, there’s a new wrinkle to breast cancer activism: half-hearted online awareness campaigns.  Read more

Post-abortion syndrome: a diagnosis that fails to deliver

Post-abortion syndrome: a diagnosis that fails to deliver

Since its inception in the mid-1980s, ‘post-abortion syndrome’ has become an invaluable arrow in the pro-life quiver, allowing arguments against abortion to be presented from the standpoint of protecting women’s health. Post-abortion syndrome lacks a specific definition, but does not lack for pseudoscientific arguments.  Read more

Contraceptives with benefits

Contraceptives with benefits

In America, contraceptive marketing is the peppier cousin of antidepressant advertising (in this case, limber actresses doing yoga are substituted for the actresses strolling contemplatively through wheat fields). Birth control isn’t just about pregnancy prevention anymore; it’s become hormone therapy to treat everything from acne to mood swings. The prevention of birth defects has been added to that list, and cancer-clearing properties might soon follow.  Read more

Protecting women or stifling science?

Protecting women or stifling science?

Hoping to prevent something along the lines of the birth of octoplets from happening in Georgia, state legislators proposed a bill that would cap the number of embryos created for any given round of in-vitro fertilization. The new rules would limit this to two embryos per cycle for a woman 39 years old or younger and three embryos for a woman above that age. In a press release, the president of Georgia Right to Life said the bill’s purpose is to “help reduce the attendant harm that could come to the mother and her children through the creation and implantation of more embryos than is medically recommended.”  … Read more

Now you see it… now you don’t

Now you see it… now you don’t

New research suggests that mammography, the low dose x-ray procedure that helps doctors diagnose small tumors in the breast, might frequently pick up tumors that will go away on their own. Scientists in Norway tracked two populations of over 100,000 women between the ages of 50 and 64. One group received mammograms every two years while those in the other group had a single mammogram at the end of the six-year study. The incidence of invasive breast cancer (the type of cancer that has spread beyond the milk ducts and into the surrounding tissue) was 22% higher in the frequent screening group. This finding led researchers to speculate that mammograms had detected cancers that would have regressed if the women had received no treatment. Otherwise they would expect the two groups, which had parallel risk factors, to have similar breast cancer incidence.  Read more

The broader problem with HPV

The broader problem with HPV

A study presented at this month’s conference of the European Research Organization on Genital Infection and Neoplasia provided evidence that a widely-marketed cervical cancer vaccine might also stave off genital warts in young men. Gardasil, which immunizes women against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV), is also 90% effective in shielding young men from developing genital lesions caused by the four HPV strains it targets, scientists reported. The study was funded by the vaccine’s maker, Merck.  Read more