Research Findings

Blood clot risk from use of oral contraceptives

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The British Medical Journal has published a study confirming that some oral contraceptives are more likely to cause serious blood clots than others.

The study found that women on birth control pills containing the hormone drospirenone have at least double the risk of venous thromboembolism compared with women taking older pills made with the hormone levonorgestrel.

Read more about this in a report on CBC. There was also an article on Medscape.

Read the original article in BMJ.

Power Study launches Older Women’s Health Report

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The POWER Study in Ontario launched their Older Women’s Health Report this week. The report notes that “Aging is an important women’s health issue. Canada’s aging population is presenting unique challenges to the health system on multiple fronts. Women comprise the majority of the older population and have different patterns of illness and health needs than men.”

The report also notes that “Older women are more likely to have a greater burden of illness including multiple chronic conditions, more functional limitations, and a higher prevalence of disability then older men. Therefore, the mismatch between the way health and supportive care services are organized and the needs of older adults disproportionately impacts women.”

 To download the report and summary, visit their website.

Note: For more information about the current evidence on women, health and aging, CWHN has created a new primer that links to an array of high quality Canadian and international resources.  We have included resources that address not only specific illnesses of the elderly, but also the social and economic implications of aging. See CWHN’s primer Aging, Women and Health.

Atomic radiation is more harmful to women than to men

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The Nuclear Information & Resource Service in the U.S. has released a new paper that shows that exposure to radiation causes 50% greater incidence of cancer and 50% greater rate of death from cancer among women, compared to the same radiation dose level to men.

We've long known that children are much more susceptible to the effects of radiation than adults; now we know that women are more susceptible than men. Yet the world's radiation standards are determined using a "reference man" as the guide for assessing radiation risk.

The paper was written by NIRS' Mary Olson. She, along with NIRS Radioactive Waste Project Director Diane D'Arrigo, internationally known radiation expert Dr. Rosalie Bertell, and Eric Epstein, chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, will hold a telebriefing for activists on this new paper on Thursday, October 27 at 10 am eastern time. Please contact maryo@nirs.org for more information and the call-in number if you'd like to participate.

The paper is based on underreported information contained in the National Academy of Sciences 2006 BEIR-VII report, which also concluded that there is no "safe" level of radiation exposure.

You can download the eight-page paper here. A press release about the paper is here.

The paper will soon be available in Japanese and Ukrainian as well, and will be released in both countries.

Ontario’s Rural and Northern Health Care Framework: How can it better reflect women’s needs?

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The Ontario government has released its Rural and Northern Health Care Framework/Plan Stage 1 report (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 2010).

Read Echo: Improving Women’s Health in Ontario’s comments on the rural and northern plan. In these comments, they highlight ways that the Framework can better address the needs of rural and northern women.

UN Women report: rights on paper are not a reality for many women

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The Progress of the World’s Women, a new report from UN women, highlights a tragic paradox for the majority of women: while the past century has seen a transformation in women’s legal rights, with countries in every region expanding the scope of women’s legal entitlements, the laws that exist on paper do not translate to equality and justice for most of the world’s women.

Read about the report and download it here.

New report - Clinical Preventive Services for Women: Closing the Gaps

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Biomedical and Health Research, Select Populations and Health Disparities, Women's Health
Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice
IOM - July 2011

The IOM recommends that women's preventive services include: improved screening for cervical cancer, counseling for sexually transmitted infections, and counseling and screening for HIV; a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes; services for pregnant women including screening for gestational diabetes and lactation counseling and equipment to help women who choose to breastfeed do so successfully; at least one well-woman preventive care visit annually for women to receive comprehensive services; and screening and counseling for all women and adolescent girls for interpersonal and domestic violence in a culturally sensitive and supportive manner.

Find the complete report here.

New study finds menstrual caps are satisfactory alternative and much better for environment

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A new study published in Canadian Family Physician comparing the menstrual cup to ordinary tampons and pads has found "Menstrual cups are a satisfactory alternative to tampons and have the potential to be a sustainable solution to menstrual management, with moderate cost savings and much-reduced environmental effects compared with tampons."

This is an unusual study in a couple of respects. The research notably identifies 'independent' (as opposed to industry funded) studies, which is unusual in medical literature. It also examines the environmental impacts of cups versus tampons and pads, when most medical research ignores environmental impacts. It found, for example, that in Canada, women dispose of over 771 million pads and tampons annually, so use of the menstrual cap could greatly reduce that waste.

Find the study here.

Stats Can report: Violent Victimization of Aboriginal Women

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According to the 2009 General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization, nearly 67,000, or 13% of Aboriginal women aged 15 or older who lived in the provinces, self-reported they had been the victim of one or more violent crimes in the 12 months prior to the survey. Violent crimes measured by the GSS include sexual assault, robbery and physical assault.

Find the study on Stats Can.

Women's Health Care Chartbook - Key Findings from the USA

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Read this new resource, published this month by the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Women's Health Care Chartbook - Key Findings from the USA

By Asha Ranji, M.S.Alina Salganico, Ph.D.

Integrating Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity into Canadian Public Health Practice

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Environmental Scan 2010

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) has published this environmental scan to inform its future direction, priorities and activities through an analysis of the key challenges, needs, gaps, and opportunities in the determinants of health for public health.

This environmental scan used four information gathering approaches: a focussed scan of the literature; 31 key informant interviews with practice and research experts; four focus group teleconferences to validate early emerging themes; and, an online survey with over 600 respondents. There was considerable convergence of the findings across the four information gathering approaches.

Find the scan on their website.

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