Our Bodies, Our Blog

New Study Examines Depression in Women, Including Effects of Abortion and Partner Violence

By Rachel Walden |

A new study in BMJ Public Health examines depression in women and the relationship of past abortions to the condition. This new report is particularly interesting because it attempts to control for the effects of sociodemographic factors and considers the women’s experiences of intimate partner violence, recognizing that multiple factors may impact a woman’s mental health.

Although the study focuses on Australian women, it may be of interest to readers in other countries as well due to recent attempts by anti-choice groups to promote … Read

Mini-Double Dose: Art, Pain and Illness; Genes and Race Disparity; Through Sickness, Health and Sex Change

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

There are a number of interesting stories in The New York Times, so let’s do a mini-double dose …

Pain as an Art Form: Well’s Tara Parker-Pope does a nice job describing how art is used to communicate physical pain, from some of Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits (now on exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art) to a new online gallery called the Pain Exhibit.

The gallery is the brainchild of Mark Collen, 47, a former insurance salesman who struggled to … Read

On Increasing Rates of Diabetes in Pregnancy

By Rachel Walden |

An article set to appear in the May issue of the journal Diabetes Care is garnering widespread media attention today, as it declares that the prevalence of pre-existing diabetes in women who become pregnant has doubled over the past several years. Diabetes can cause serious complications for both women and fetuses during pregnancy.

The authors looked at data for women in Southern California who gave birth to a single baby >20 weeks gestation in one hospital system. They looked at how many women had pre-existing or … Read

Double Dose: Illinois Court Rules on Sterilization; Choosy Mothers Choose … Well, Not This C-Section Story; Fundamentalism Comes Under Public Health Scrutiny; Botox, Body Image and Aging; Coming of Age on Antidepressants; and Read

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Court Denies Bid to Sterilize Mentally Disabled Woman: “Disability rights advocates and medical ethicists praised a precedent-setting ruling Friday by the Illinois Appellate Court denying a bid to sterilize a mentally disabled woman against her will,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

The woman’s guardian had sought a tubal ligation, but a three-judge panel ruled unanimously that the guardian did not prove sterilization was in the woman’s best interest. There are “less intrusive and less psychologically harmful [birth-control] alternatives,” read the opinion.

“It’s extraordinarily significant” because it … Read

One Word: Plastic

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Not since “The Graduate” gave career advice that became a pop-culture shortcut for artificiality has so much attention been paid to plastic.

Last week, the National Toxicology Program released a draft report on bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used in hard, clear plastic, such as Nalgene and baby bottles, as well as in the lining of baby formula containers and canned foods.

Studies in animals have linked it to hormonal changes, and the report acknowledged “some concern” that BPA may affect neural and behavioral … Read

Obstacles to Female Condom Distribution Outlined in New Report

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

A new report commissioned by the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) blames “bureaucratic obstacles, funding restrictions, and a lack of high level commitment to female condoms” for delaying the expansion of U.S.-funded female condom distribution efforts.

But the biggest deterrent — for both male and female condoms — lies within U.S. global policy concerning HIV prevention.

The report, “Saving Lives Now: Female Condoms and the Role of U.S. Foreign Aid,” takes to task the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator, which prioritizes … Read

Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth Featured on NBC10

By Rachel Walden |

My’s own Judy Norsigian was featured yesterday on Philadelphia’s 10! show (a production of the local NBC affiliate) in an excellent segment on the new book, Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth.

You can view the six minute video here. In the segment, Judy discusses the origins of the book and topics including prenatal testing, fetal monitoring, and pain relief in labor. A transcript is also provided. Kudos to Judy and thanks to NBC 10 for bringing the book to … Read

Mortality Inequality: Life Expectancy Declines for Some U.S. Women

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The Washington Post has a front-page story today that’s a shocker: Lfe expectancy for some U.S. women is on the decline, and the data points to a growing inequality between the best-off and worst-off counties. Here’s the rundown:

In nearly 1,000 counties that together are home to about 12 percent of the nation’s women, life expectancy is now shorter than it was in the early 1980s, according to a study published today.

The downward trend is evident in places in the Deep South, Appalachia, the … Read

Belly Hair, Check; Sex Drive, Not So Much

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

This just in: “Women who spray testosterone on their stomach to raise their sex drive may not see much benefit — unless they also want to grow hair on their belly,” reports The New York Times in today’s Science section.

The short report is based on a new study, “Safety and Efficacy of a Testosterone Metered-Dose Transdermal Spray for Treating Decreased Sexual Satisfaction in Premenopausal Women,” published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

The randomized study included 261 women age 35 to 46 years … Read

What’s the Truth About Teen Pregnancy?

By Rachel Walden |

You may have seen recent headlines such as “US teen pregnancy rate near historic low” and been somewhat confused (I certainly was). After all, didn’t the CDC just announce that teen pregnancy rates were going up? A Dec 7, 2007 CDC press release entitled “Teen Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 14 Years” stated that “The teen birth rate in the United States rose in 2006 for the first time since 1991, and unmarried childbearing also rose significantly, according to preliminary birth … Read