Our Bodies, Our Blog

Gail Collins on The Colbert Report

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

New York Times columnist Gail Collins appeared on The Colbert Report earlier this week to discuss her new book, “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present.”

in 1960, women were prohibited from serving on juries and it was perfectly legal to not hire women because of their sex. The book opens with the story of a woman who was kicked out of traffic court for daring to wear pants (and she was there … Read

Empowered Patients = ePatients

By Rachel Walden |

A new, freely available, open-access journal that launched this month reflects a position Myhags has long held: Healthcare is better, and people are healthier and read empowered, when individuals are informed and can actively participate in their own care.

The Journal of Participatory Medicine, launched at last week’s Connected Health Symposium in Boston, will publish online peer-reviewed articles that “explore the extent to which shared decision-making in health care, and deep patient engagement, affect outcomes.” The inaugural issue includes articles from all stakeholders, including … Read

The Definitive Breakdown of U.S. Health Care Myths and Facts

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Those of you who are engaged in conversations with opponents to a public health insurance option might want to try pulling them away from Fox News for a moment and ask them to read Ellen Shaffer’s new piece, “U.S Health Care: Myths and Facts.”

Schaffer is co-director of the Center for Policy Analysis, which runs the EQUAL Health listserv (Equitable, Quality, Universal, Affordable Health). List members contributed to this comprehensive document, which answers such questions as:

  • Who’s Read Efficient, Government or the … Read

Revisiting Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines

By Rachel Walden |

A commentary in the current issue of the journal JAMA addresses breast and prostate cancer screening and the complexities and limitations of current screening approaches. The authors explain that while screening for the two diseases has increased, “the absolute numbers of read advanced disease have not decreased nearly as much as hoped for either cancer,” and that mortality has not decreased as much as expected.

It’s a complicated topic, even without getting into issues of access to screening and racial disparities in screening and … Read

A “Real” Sex Ed Story: A Teenager Recalls Lessons From “Our Whole Lives”

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

by Meg Young, Myhags intern

The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SEICUS) would like you to get REAL about sex education.

SEICUS has declared October “Sex Ed Month of Action,” and the organization is encouraging young people to raise awareness for the need for comprehensive sex ed — and specifically the Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act ].

Introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the legislation (S.611, HR.1551) calls for a dedicated … Read

The Futile Yet Persistent Search to Define and Determine Gender

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

Under the unfortunate headline, “Which Side Are You On?,” the Washington Post has published an interesting article about the struggle to define gender and how that struggle has played out in legal cases around the country.

The article discusses the now well-known story of 18-year-old South African runner Caster Semenya, “who has been put through ‘gender verification’ amid suspicion about her muscular physique and low voice.” Testing was ordered after Semenya’s won the 800 meters at the World Athletics Championships back in August … Read

A Doctor’s Disclosure: Crossing a Line to Offer Compassionate Care

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

The matter of how much personal information to share with patients comes up frequently for practitioners, and there are times when it can be most helpful. But it is a difficult decision.

In an essay online at WBUR public radio, Myhags board member Anne Brewster, an internist who works at Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses her decision to disclose something about herself to a 30-year-old patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. When Brewster calls to give … Read

Considering the Risks of Egg Donation

By Rachel Walden |

Earlier this month, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into a law a bill, AB 1317, which requires advertisements seeking egg donors for fertility treatment to include a notice about the possible adverse health effects of egg donation.

Such advertisements must contain standard warning language that there may be risks associated with human egg donation, and advise potential donors that they are required to receive specifics on the known risks before signing a legally binding contract. The required language also recommends consulting with one’s physician … Read

A Petition to Honor Pioneering Sex Researcher Virginia Johnson

By Christine Cupaiuolo |

On the heels of Rachel’s post yesterday on the medicalization of sex and sexual healing (vibrator/egg beater? oh my), I wanted to mention a petition we just learned about to honor psychologist Virginia Johnson for her pioneering work on sexuality.

Johnson teamed with William Masters in the 1950s to study the nature of sexual response and sexual disorders. Together they wrote “Human Sexual Response” (1966) and “Human Sexual Inadequacy” (1970). Though they began their work at Washington University Medical School, the university … Read

Probably Not the Kind of “Healing” Marvin Gaye was Referring To

By Rachel Walden |

An article in the current issue of The Nation, Sexual Healing, comments on the history of the medicalization of sex, from vibrating devices used by physicians in the 1800s to “treat” (ahem) women for what ailed them to read modern incarnations of medical sexual fixes in the form of drug prescriptions and genital surgery.

The first paragraph succinctly describes the progression:

In the beginning there was sex. And sex begat skill, and skill (or its absence) begat judgment, and judgment begat insecurity, and insecurity … Read