Double Dose: Meet Dr. Drug Rep; The A-Word and Hollywood (Again); The Business of Being Born; World AIDS Day

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Dr. Drug Rep: In a confessional essay published in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Dr. Daniel Carlat writes about his awakening after making $30,000 in one year (on top of the $140,000 he took home from his private practice) by recommending Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR to other doctors. It’s a great read.

Today Carlat is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine and publishes The Carlat Psychiatry Report, a peer-reviewed medical-education newsletter for psychiatrists that is not financed by the pharmaceutical industry. He also has a blog; read here how he plans to part with his “dirty thirty.”

“The Business of Being Born”: A couple of weeks ago I mentioned this new documentary on childbirth practices directed by Abby Epstein and produced by Ricki Lake (and what a hit it’s become in Australia!). Rachel has seen it and wrote a terrific review over at Women’s Health News in which she comments on the film’s two biggest strengths:

The first is that important information about the cascade of interventions in managed birth, U.S. practices vs. other countries and the resulting outcomes, drugs, c-section rates, and medical evidence is presented in a way that is accessible and informative even to those who are taking their first look at birth issues. […]

The second major strength is that the film clearly locates birth issues inside feminism and choice, noting the power disparities of the traditional hospital birth system, the often misguided focus on outcomes and potential litigation that ignores women’s needs and experiences, and the empowerment that many women feel when able to give birth on their own terms.

Check out the full review. A list of upcoming screenings is available here.

Abortion Splits Hollywood: Ready for another look at “the A-word” — or lack thereof — in films? Of course you are.

Imaging Exams/Radiation Exposure Increasing: Pregnant women are receiving read high-tech imaging exams than a decade ago, according to a study presented Nov. 27 at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

“Through medical imaging examinations, we are exposing pregnant women to twice the amount of radiation as we did 10 years ago,” said Elizabeth Lazarus, M.D., assistant professor of diagnostic imaging at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University in Providence, R.I. “Overall, the levels of radiation to which we are exposing pregnant women are low, but they do carry a slight risk of harm to the developing fetus.”

Dora’s Scary Makeover: Why is it that doll versions of spunky role models end up passive and super-feminine? To wit: Dora the Explorer’s new “tool” is a comb. Great post over at Hoyden About Town, and Ampersand delivers on the visual.

Girls You Should Know: These two teenagers, finalists in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology, are researching why some breast cancer patients develop resistance to the cancer drug Herceptin. This story made me feel a little better about the world.

Jane Addams Day: The first annual Jane Addams Day will be celebrated Dec. 10, 2007. The first woman first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Addams co-founded the social settlement Hull-House in Chicago in 1889. She went on to campaign for suffrage and supported the founding of the NAACP and the ACLU. Check out the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum for read information.

The Outsiders: John Tierney tries to restart a debate about criticism of female genital mutilation being an issue of cultural imperialism. Fortunately, many of Tierney’s commenters aren’t buying it.

Missing, however, is a look at what local health advocates and community-based organizations such as Tostan are doing to raise awareness and to stop this brutality. The New York Times reported on community-based efforts in Egypt earlier this year.

Hysterectomies by the Numbers: “Hysterectomy, the second most frequent major operation performed on women in the United States, has long been criticized as being over performed, especially for benign conditions,” writes Linda Steinberg at the Women’s Media Center. “In the late sixties, the women’s health movement tried to bring national focus to this issue, but still today, some experts say, most of the 600,000 hysterectomies performed annually in this country may be unnecessary.”

World AIDS Day: For World AIDS Day (Dec. 2, 2007 marks the 20th World AIDS Day, if you’re keeping count), Kaiser Family Foundation has updated several resources with new data from UNAIDS on the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. From KFF:

The updates reflect major revisions based on refinements in methodology, increased data availability, and growing knowledge about the natural history of HIV disease. An updated fact sheet provides data on the global impact of HIV/AIDS by region, on women and young people, and data on the global response. Several indicators on globalhealthfacts.org have been updated, including the total number of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, and the total number of AIDS deaths worldwide. Both the HIV/AIDS Overview and Facts at a Glance sections on GlobalHealthReporting.org have also been revised.

In addition, there are many new developments in Kaiser’s public education campaigns designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS in the U.S. and around the World. The campaigns include the Global Media AIDS Initiative, the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS, the African Broadcast Media Partnership Against HIV/AIDS, Rap-It-Up with BET, It’s Your (Sex) Life with MTV and ¡Entérate! with Univision.

Plus: Worldview, an excellent public radio program, on Friday broadcast an interview recorded earlier this year with Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa from 2001 to 2006. He now co-directs AIDS-Free World and is chair of a foundation that funds grassroots projects addressing HIV/AIDS in Africa.

3 Comments

  1. Penny says:

    Nitpick — Jane Addams was the second woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Austrian baroness Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914) won it in 1905, long before Addams shared the 1931 award.

    Bertha von Suttner wrote an anti-war novel, _Lay Down Your Arms!_ (1889), edited a pacifist journal of the same name, founded a pacifist organization in Austria, etc.

  2. Christine C. says:

    Thanks so much for the correction. Addams is the first American woman, but indeed she is not the first woman. Read information on “Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner, née Countess Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau” is available here.

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