Research Findings

Supporting pregnant and parenting women who use substances: What communities are doing to help

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This new report the Canada FASD Research Network’s Action Team on Prevention from A Women’s Health Determinants Perspective profiles the development of single-access programs that support pregnant and parenting women who use substances in four different communities in Canada and talks about why this type of program works.

Communities across Canada are becoming increasingly aware of issues related to pregnancy, alcohol and substance use, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and child health and development. In many communities, the needs of pregnant women with substance use issues are of particular concern as they often intersect with issues such as poverty, unsafe or inadequate housing, violence and abuse, food insecurity, and other health and social issues.

The report is available to download on the site of the British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health: Supporting pregnant and parenting women who use substances: What Communities are Doing to Help

 

 

 

 

The Food Insecurity-Obesity Paradox as a Vicious Cycle for Women

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A Qualitative Study

New from the Atlantic Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health:

“For participants the food insecurity-obesity paradox was experienced as a vicious cycle that included overlapping experiences of poverty, food insecurity, weight gain leading to obesity, stress, and chronic disease.  By gathering the stories of women who have experienced weight gain in the context of food insecurity, this paper offers insights into the nuances of the food insecurity-obesity paradox and how, for these women, it affected their daily lives, what challenges they faced as well as what coping strategies they used.”

Download: The Food Insecurity-Obesity Paradox as a Vicious Cycle for Women:  A Qualitative Study

Progress on the Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health?

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How much progress has there been in the United Nations' Global Stategy for Women’s and Children’s Health? Find out in latest report on this strategy was released this September. It reviews progress on commitments made by some 220 stakeholders to the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health. The Report finds the Strategy has been a catalyst for more focused and coordinated efforts for women’s and children’s health, and concludes that implementation is underway but faces some constraints. 

Read more about the report on WHO’s website.

Reports of serious adverse drug events continue to grow

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From MedWatch Reports from the US this week, comes this alarming report:

"The last four years have seen a 90% increase in the number of serious adverse drug event reports received by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This sustained and substantial growth in domestic case reports was unabated in the first quarter of 2012. ... Investigating the reasons for the four-year trend, we concluded that they could be divided into three groups. Reports for new drugs not widely used in 2008 accounted for 23% of the growth; increasing reports for drugs seen in all four years accounted for 40%. The substantial remainder (37%) was due to special circumstances involving a few suspect drugs that resulted in greatly increased numbers of reports. All the increase was attributable to reports from drug manufacturers rather than cases submitted directly to the FDA. We examine the reasons for the increase in detail in the full report."

Read the whole MedWatch Report here.

New study identifies four types of breast cancer

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A new breast cancer study is making waves and may eventually change the way breast cancer is treated. It classifies breast cancers into four distinct types.

The study is the first comprehensive genetic analysis of breast cancer.

A major result of this research indicates that basal-like breast cancers—the type that resembles ovarian cancer and a type of lung cancer—may be treatable with a new type of drug, PARP inhibitors, that appears to help with ovarian cancers.

These basal-like breast cancers are most prevalent in younger women, in African-Americans and in women with breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Read Study Divides Breast Cancer Into Four Distinct Types. (New York Times)

While this study does sound promising, it will be years before new treatments are actually in use. Those with breast cancer can often be disappointed and even misled by such reports of new advances in research. It can be difficult to understand what medical studies actually mean for real life. It can also take a long time – decades even – for research to be turned into practice. Read about what this study may actually mean in Breast cancer research sometimes misunderstood (CBC).

What SHOULD be on your home cleaner label?

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Read the results of the David Suzuki Foundation’s survey this year on ingredients in our home cleaners.

Cleaners Survey Executive Summary is a summary of the key findings from the survey and recommendations to protect our health and the health of our environment from unnecessary exposure to toxic chemicals in household cleaners.

Long-term hormone therapy – the latest review from Cochrane

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The latest Cochrane review on the evidence on hormonal therapy (HT) in peri- and postmenopausal women finds:

“HT significantly increases the risk of a coronary event, venous thrombo-embolism, stroke, breast cancer, gallbladder disease and death from lung cancer. Oestrogen-only HT has many of the same risks apart from risk of breast cancer. The only significant benefit found was a decrease in risk of fractures after long-term use for women with osteoporosis. It is generally recommended that HT only be used as management for osteoporosis in women at significant risk.”

Read the whole review.

Girls exposed to household chemical menstruate earlier

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released results of a study finding that girls with higher exposures to a common household chemical tend to start their periods an average of seven months earlier than girls with lower exposures to this chemical.

The chemical they studied is dichlorobenzene, a solvent used in some mothballs and solid blocks of toilet bowl deodorizers and air fresheners.

Read more about it in Environmental Health News

Last POWER Study chapter: Achieving Health Equity in Ontario

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POWER (Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report) has just released its concluding chapter, 'Achieving Health Equity in Ontario: Opportunities for Intervention and Improvement.'  

The POWER Study’s proposed Leading Set of Health Equity Indicators are presented and key opportunities for improving data capacity in the province are outlined. They also provide the POWER Health Equity Road Map, a ten-step plan to support efforts to achieve health equity in the province.

To read more about it, and to download the chapter, visit their website.

BPA found in most people in the US

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Mother Jones magazine reports in June about a study that examined the urine of Old Order Mennonite women for the presence of Bisplenol A and compared it to the general population in the US. The article states, “Researchers hypothesized that because Old Order Mennonites—who, similar to the Amish, eschew modern technology—eat more fresh, home-grown foods, don't use pesticides, and keep personal-care-product and automobile use to a minimum, their levels of industrial chemical exposure would be lower. They were right: Results showed that the median BPA level in the women's urine was nearly four times lower than the national number.”

The article also states, “Four years ago, researchers discovered that BPA, which is used in plastic manufacturing, was present in nearly 93 percent of the US population's urine.”

The National Network on Environments and Women’s Health (NNEWH) has been closely studying the effects of plastics, including BPA, on the health of women who work with plastics. According to NNEWH, “Human BPA studies identify adverse effects in women with a high BPA body burden such as recurrent miscarriages, ovarian cysts, obesity, and endometriosis. Concern over BPA’s endocrine disrupting qualities led the Canadian government to restrict its use in the manufacture of baby bottles. However, it continues to be allowed in many other products.”

Read What Can We Learn From Mennonites' Pee Samples? (Mother Jones)

Read Chemical exposure and plastics production: Issues for women's health | A Review of literature (NNEWH)

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