Research Findings

Study finds link between early menopause and environmental chemicals

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A study by researchers in the West Virginia University Department of Community Medicine has found that women with high levels of an environmental chemical are at increased odds of having experienced menopause earlier in life than those with lower levels.

The study, “Implications of Early Menopause in Women Exposed to Perfluorocarbons,” will appear in the June issue of the “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,” a peer-reviewed journal for endocrine clinical research and clinical practice reviews. The abstract can be viewed on the Journal’s website.

Women's Health & Urban Life - Special Issue on Women's Health & Public Policy

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Read this special issue of the journal Women's Health & Urban Life on Women's Health & Public Policy (Vol. 10, Issue 1, 2011)


Special Issue Editor's Introduction - TOBA BRYANT University of Toronto at Scarborough

Revisiting the 'Dual Welfare State': Sickness, Injury & Unemployment Programs in Two 'Liberal' Regimes
MAUREEN BAKER University of Auckland

Unsafe and Unacceptable Housing: Health & Policy Implications for Women Leaving Violent Relationships
NATASHA JATEGAONKAR BC Non-Profit Housing Association, PAMELA PONIC University of British Columbia

Applying Intersectionality & Complexity Theory to Address the Social Determinants of Women's Health
ELIZABETH McGIBBON St. Francis Xavier University, CHARMAINE McPHERSON St. Francis Xavier University

Social Determinants of Urban Indian Women's Health Status
JYOTSANA SHUKLA Amity University, India,

Structural Violence in Long-term Residential Care
PAT ARMSTRONG York University, HUGH ARMSTRONG Carleton University, ALBERT BANERJEE York University, TAMARA DALY , York University, MARTA SZEBEHELY Stockholm University

Is Prozac a feminist drug?

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While Prozac proponent Peter Kramer has lauded the anti-depressant for  helping women by being potentially “liberating” – giving women assertiveness, resilience, and confidence –  the authors of this paper scrutinize Kramer’s claim from myriad angles, concluding that there are some ways in which Prozac is feminist, and some ways in which it is “decidedly antifeminist”.

Read this article, available for free online in the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Vol. 4, No. 1, Special Issue: Feminist Perspectives on Ethics in Psychiatry (Spring 2011)

Is Prozac a feminist drug?

By Ginger A. Hoffman and Jennifer L. Hansen

From: International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, Vol. 4, No. 1, Special Issue: Feminist Perspectives on Ethics in Psychiatry (Spring 2011)

(To access other articles in this issue you will require a subscription.)

From The Cochrane Library - Fertility Treatment: Safer Drug for Women Leads to Same Live Birth Rate

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This was published this week in The Cochrane Library, 2011, Issue 5:

“Fertility Treatment: Safer Drug for Women Leads to Same Live Birth Rate

Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Antagonists As Effective As Agonists with Fewer Serious Harmful Effects

With new information available, authors of a Cochrane Systematic Review have revised their conclusions about the relative effectiveness of two different treatments used to help women become pregnant. They now conclude that giving women gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists leads to similar live-birth rates compared with GnRH agonists. Previously they had concluded that women who used antagonists tended to have lower birth-rates than those using agonists.

This is important because the systematic review also showed that GnRH antagonists can halve the risk of over-stimulating the ovaries compared with GnRH agonists, as well as halving the number of women who have to pull out of a cycle of therapy. “

Read the summary and full article here:

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone antagonists for assisted reproductive technology

Al-Inany HG, Youssef MAFM, Aboulghar M, Broekmans F, Sterrenburg M, Smit J, Abou-Setta AM. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD001750. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001750.pub3

Two new reports from Stats Can: Why Aboriginal people die younger

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Two new reports in the March issue of Stats Can Health Reports discuss the lower life expectacy of Status Indians, finding great disparities between Aboriginal and non-Aborginal life expectancy in Canada. Each of the reports contains data for Aboriginal women separate from men.

Potential years of life lost at ages 25 to 74 among Status Indians, 1991
to 2001

Presents estimates of potential years of life lost at ages 25 to 74
for Status Indians living on or off reserve, identifies the causes of
death for which disparities between Status Indians and non-Aboriginal
Canadians were greatest, and examines the effects of socio-economic
factors on those differences.

Potential years of life lost at ages 25 to 74 among Métis and non-Status
Indians, 1991 to 2001

Examines potential years of life lost at ages 25 to 74 by cause of
death among Métis and non-Status Indians, compared with non-Aboriginal
adults, and assesses the influence of socio-economic factors on
disparities in premature mortality. 


Breast cancer incidence higher among wealthier women

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The April 2011 online edition of the Stats Can journal Health Reports contains an article reporting how, unlike several other diseases, female breast cancer in developed countries is higher among women in higher income groups. They conclude that this association with income “may be partly related to differences in parity and screening mammography, but other factors remain to be identified.” 

For more details about this study, by Marilyn J. Borugian, John J. Spinelli, Zenaida Abanto, Chen Lydia Xu and Russell Wilkins, see:
Summary of key findings
Full text of article in HTML
News release in The Daily

The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding

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This new report, by the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health Issues and Research Gaps and Opportunities; the Board on the Health of Select Populations; and the Institute of Medicine, sets an agenda for “essential” research needed to form a fuller understanding of LGBT health issues, including:

   * Demographic data across the life course and subpopulations;
   * Information on the role social structures — such as families, schools and workplaces — play in the lives and health of LGBT people;
   * Data on the health care inequities LGBT people face; and
   * Transgender-specific research, including the health implications of hormone use.

Because LGBT people are a minority of the population, it is often difficult for researchers to recruit sufficient numbers for their studies to yield meaningful data. It’s also difficult for researchers to synthesize data when existing studies and surveys use a variety of definitions as to who is included in specific category groups.

The summary is available (at no charge) on this site.


Risks of calcium supplements could outweigh benefits for some women

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A recent article in the British Medical Journal by New Zealand researchers raises concerns about calcium supplements, showing that calcium tablets (not the calcium found in food) can raise the risk of heart disease. Many women take calcium supplements with vitamin D to prevent osteoporosis after they reach menopause.

Read about it in the Globe and Mail: Calcium tablets’ risk could outweigh benefits

Read the original aritcle in BMJ: Calcium supplements with or without vitamin D and risk of cardiovascular events: reanalysis of the Women’s Health Initiative limited access dataset and meta-analysis

Population Health Intervention Research Casebook

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The Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI) of the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), in partnership with the Institute of Population and Public Health (IPPH) of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), produced a casebook that showcases population health intervention research (PHIR) in Canada.

The over-arching theme that guides the research cases presented in the casebook is health equity. The content is organized and presented within three broad categories: exploring implementation processes that support PHIR; evaluating setting-specific programs; and researching multi-component, community-wide interventions. Within these categories, the research cases explore the theoretical and methodological approaches used in the field of PHIR; demonstrate impact and lessons learned; illustrate uptake by program planners and policy decision-makers; and identify implications for research, policy and practice.

To download your copy of the report, visit CIHI or CIHR.


Antidepressants linked to cancer risk in women, research bias is suggested

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Antidepressants may be linked to a slight increased risk of breast and ovarian cancers, even at low doses, according to the results of a new systematic review. The increased risk is particularly stronger for women taking newer, selective-serotonin re-uptake inhibitor drugs (SSRIs) compared to older antidepressants.

The Harvard University researcher, Lisa Cosgrove, also found a possible bias in the research studies that she reviewed. In her review of 61 studies, she found that all independent studies saw a connection between antidepressants and breast cancer, while most of the company-sponsored studies did not mention any link.

Read the article in PloS ONE: Antidepressants and Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk: A Review of the Literature and Researchers' Financial Associations with Industry

CTV reports on the bias suggested by the research: Study suggests bias in antidepressant, cancer research

See the story on the reseach in Bloomberg: Breast-Cancer Link to Paxil Drug Category Found in Antidepressant Research

Read the commentary on Pharmalot:  Antidepressants, Breast Cancer & Industry Studies

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