Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Effects of sexual abuse last for decades, study finds

(Joan Raymond, msnbc.com) Young girls who are the victims of sexual abuse experience physical, biological and behavioral problems that can persist for decades after, a new study shows.

Researchers, who tracked a group of girls ranging in age from 6 to 16 at the start of the study in 1987 for the next 23 years, found that they had higher rates of depression and obesity, as well as problems with regulation of brain chemicals, among other issues, compared to a control group of girls who were not abused.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Disclaimer: GirlPower! does NOT in any way support the views of this article. GPI Nigeria counts as a major success the passing of the anti-FGM bill, and was one of the NGO's involved in lobbying for it. Comments are very welcome below.

by Nowa Omoigui, MD, MPH, FACC, Columbia, SC, USA. (Edo Nation Online)

I want to state unequivocally that I do not support the proposed HB22 Bill sponsored by Janet Adeyemi and aimed at outlawing "FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION PRACTICE IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA."

There is a huge difference between Circumcision and Mutilation. To group all forms of age old religious circumcision into one large category under the guise of medical enlightenment and "civilization" is very unfortunate.

The term "female genital mutilation" is mischievous and hypocritical. Why are we not campaigning to ban "Male Genital Mutilation"? After all, there is a movement of sophisticated gentile physicians led by Dr. George C. Denniston in the US who want male circumcision banned too [Doctors Opposing Circumcision (D.O.C.)]. Let us see who will sponsor that bill in Nigeria-to ban male circumcision-the main indication for which is cultural preference.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Social Life of Health: A Pew research

(Pew Internet) "I don’t know, but I can try to find out" is the default setting for people with health questions.
The internet has changed people’s relationships with information. Our data consistently show that doctors, nurses, and other health professionals continue to be the first choice for most people with health concerns, but online resources, including advice from peers, are a significant source of health information in the U.S.

These findings are based on a national telephone survey conducted by Pew Research Center in August and September 2010 among 3,001 adults in the U.S. The complete methodology and results can be found at Pew Internet.

The survey finds that, of the 74% of adults who use the internet:

80% of internet users have looked online for information about any of 15 health topics such as a specific disease or treatment. This translates to 59% of all adults.
34% of internet users, or 25% of adults, have read someone else’s commentary or experience about health or medical issues on an online news group, website, or blog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

If Paid Equally, American Women Could Afford 1.7 Years of Food, Rent for 13 Months

(National Partnership) New research shows that the nation’s gender-based wage gap is punishing American families. On average, full-time working women in the United States are paid $10,622 less than their male counterparts, and the gap costs families billions of dollars annually. If the gap were eliminated, Alaskan women could buy 1.7 years’ worth of food. Connecticut’s working women could afford 15 more months of rent. Women in Michigan could make 10 more months of mortgage and utility payments. Californian women could buy 2,100 more gallons of gas.

The research was conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, in conjunction with the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The reports span all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The full set is available at www.nationalpartnership.org/epd

"This new data illustrate the very real harm unequal wages are doing to America’s working families,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “It is long past time to close the gender-based wage gap. With women playing an increasingly important role as family breadwinners, there is no time to waste."

Saturday, April 9, 2011

More about Post-Menopausal Hormone Treatment from Women's Health Initiative

Q. Can you summarize the results of the estrogen-plus-progestin and estrogen-alone studies?
A. Summaries of the findings are given below. However, be aware that the findings for the two studies should not be compared directly because of differences in the women's characteristics at the time of their enrollment in the studies. For example, those in the estrogen-alone study had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those in the estrogen-plus-progestin study. Women in the estrogen-alone study were more likely to have such heart disease risk factors as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.

Compared with the placebo, estrogen plus progestin resulted in:
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Increased risk of breast cancer
  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer
  • Fewer fractures
  • No protection against mild cognitive impairment and increased risk of dementia (study included only women 65 and older)
Compared with the placebo, estrogen alone resulted in:
  • No difference in risk for heart attack
  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Increased risk of blood clots
  • Uncertain effect for breast cancer
  • No difference in risk for colorectal cancer
  • Reduced risk of fracture
  • (Findings about memory and cognitive function are not yet available.)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

UN Secretary-General outlines new recommendations to reach 2015 goals for AIDS response

Launch of the Report of the Secretary-General. Nairobi, Kenya, 31 March 2011
In lead-up to June High Level Meeting, progress report presents overview of efforts needed to help countries achieve universal access to HIV services and zero new HIV infections, discrimination and AIDS-related deaths.

(UN Department of Public Information and UNAIDS) Thirty years into the AIDS epidemic, investments in the AIDS response are yielding results, according to a new report released today by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Titled Uniting for universal access: towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths, the report highlights that the global rate of new HIV infections is declining, treatment access is expanding and the world has made significant strides in reducing HIV transmission from mother to child.  

Between 2001 and 2009, the rate of new HIV infections in 33 countries—including 22 in subSaharan Africa—fell by at least 25%. By the end of 2010, more than 6 million people were on antiretroviral treatment in low- and middle-income countries. And for the first time, in 2009, global coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV exceeded 50%.

But despite the recent achievements, the report underscores that the gains are fragile. For every person who starts antiretroviral treatment, two people become newly infected with HIV. Every day 7 000 people are newly infected, including 1 000 children. Weak national infrastructures,
financing shortfalls and discrimination against vulnerable populations are among the factors that continue to impede access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.

The Secretary-General’s report, based on data submitted by 182 countries, provides five key recommendations that will be reviewed by global leaders at a UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS, 8–10 June 2011.

After 30 years, war on AIDS at 'moment of truth'

(AFP) With the war on AIDS nearing its 30th anniversary, the UN on Thursday declared "a moment of truth" had come for new strategies to address the campaign's failures and brake costs that were now unsustainable.

"We have a unique opportunity to take stock of the progress and to critically and honestly assess the barriers that keep us shackled to a reality in which the epidemic continues to outpace the response," UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a report issued in Nairobi.

The 30th anniversary of AIDS is generally recognised as June 5.

It marks the date in 1981 when US epidemiologists reported on mysterious cases of fatal pneumonia among young gays. In 1983, French scientists pinned the cause on a new pathogen, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which destroyed the immune system in heterosexuals and homosexuals alike.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Closing the gender gap in agriculture: FAO report says invest in female farmers

(Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations) If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million, FAO said in its 2010-11 edition of The State of Food and Agriculture.

Yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men, the report said. But this is not because women are worse farmers than men. They simply do not have the same access to inputs. If they did, their yields would go up, they would produce more and overall agricultural production would increase, the report said.

"The report makes a powerful business case for promoting gender equality in agriculture," said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

"Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security. We must promote gender equality and empower women in agriculture to win, sustainably, the fight against hunger and extreme poverty," he added.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

World Health Organisation releases list of medicines vital for saving mothers and children

Improving maternal and child health is a global priority. An estimated 8.1 million children under the age of five die every year and an estimated 1,000  women – most of them in developing countries – die every day due to complications during pregnancy or childbirth. 

Many of these deaths are due to conditions that could be prevented or treated with access to simple, affordable medicines. However, the availability of medicines at public-health facilities is often poor. 

This  list  of  Priority  Medicines  for  Mothers and Children was developed by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to help countries and partners select and make available those medicines that will have the biggest impact on reducing maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pregnancy myths not backed by science

By Kendall Powell

(LA Times) Once a woman becomes visibly pregnant, it isn't long before she's being asked extremely personal questions by complete strangers:

"Are you going to have an epidural or go natural?

"You're not drinking alcohol, are you?"

"Have you tried ginger for your morning sickness?"

Often, such questions are followed up with unsolicited advice based on folk wisdom or anecdotes.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Use of prescription painkillers during pregnancy may cause birth defects

(HealthDay News) -- Moms-to-be who take prescription opioid painkillers such as codeine, hydrocodone or oxycodone (Oxycontin) may increase the risk of birth defects in their newborns, according to a new U.S. government report. (Click here to view report)

Taking these types of analgesics just prior to pregnancy or in the early stages of pregnancy was linked to a modest risk of congenital heart defects in an ongoing population study, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Half of men may have HPV infections: study

(Reuters) - Half of men in the general population may be infected with human papillomavirus or HPV, the human wart virus that causes cervical and other cancers, strengthening the case for vaccinating boys against HPV, U.S. researchers said on Monday.

U.S. vaccine advisers have been weighing whether boys and young men should be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, as they already recommend for girls and young women, but some worry the vaccine is too costly to justify its use.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FDA Approves First 3-D Mammography Device

(http://www.nationalpartnership.org/) February 14, 2011 — FDA on Friday announced its approval of the Selenia Dimensions System, the first three-dimensional X-ray mammography device for breast cancer screening, which regulators say may reduce the number of women who need second-round testing for issues that often are non-cancerous, the Los Angeles Times reports (Zajac, Los Angeles Times, 2/11).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stress does not affect the success of fertility treatments

(OzarksFIRST.com)  --  Emotional distress doesn't reduce a woman's chance of getting pregnant via in vitro fertilization or other reproduction treatments.

That's the conclusion from British researchers who analyzed data from more than 3500+ women undergoing in vitro or other fertility treatment programs.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mitchelle Obama advocates breastfeeding to fight obesity

(examiner.com) At the recent Congressional Black Caucus on September 16th, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama explained childhood obesity had become a national epidemic and was particularly bad in black communities.

One thing that Mrs. Obama promoted was early obesity prevention through breastfeeding, especially in the black community where 40 percent of babies never get breast-fed at all, even in the first weeks of life, and babies that are breast-fed are less likely to be obese as children.

The fact is, black moms still have the lowest breastfeeding rates of all ethnicities. And when it comes to the gold standard of infant nutrition -- six months of exclusive breastfeeding -- the rate among African-Americans is only 20% compared to 40% among whites

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Intravaginal Practices Are Associated With Acquiring HIV Infection

ScienceDaily (Feb. 15, 2011) — Although there is no evidence to suggest a direct causal pathway, some intravaginal practices used by women in sub-Saharan Africa (such as washing the vagina with soap) may increase the acquisition of HIV infection and so should be avoided. Encouraging women to use less harmful intravaginal practices (for example, washing with water alone) should therefore be included in female-initiated HIV prevention research strategies in sub-Saharan Africa.
These are the key findings from a study by Nicola Low, from the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues and published in this week's PLoS Medicine.
The authors pooled individual participant data from 13 prospective cohort studies in sub-Saharan Africa involving nearly 15,000 women, 791 of whom acquired HIV, and found that HIV infection within two years of enrolment in the studies was associated with self-reported intravaginal practices. After controlling for age, marital status, and the number of recent sex partners, women who used cloth or paper to clean their vagina were nearly one and half times more likely to have acquired HIV infection as women who did not use this practice.
Furthermore, the insertion of products to dry or tighten the vagina and intravaginal cleaning with soap also increased women's chances of acquiring HIV. Intravaginal cleaning with soap was associated with the development of bacterial vaginosis, and disrupted vaginal flora -- two conditions associated with an increased risk of HIV acquisition.

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Marching towards Freedom"

For half of her life Jaanki, a 70-year-old widow in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state, has eked out a living cleaning latrines and carrying human excreta on her head, sometimes for as long as an hour, to the nearest drain.

Manual scavenging is the only way of life for her and the other female "Bhangis," a sub-caste of Dalits, who occupy the lowest tier in this nation's caste hierarchy.

India is home to about 300,000 manual scavengers, 85 percent of whom are women, according to estimates by the Safai Karamchari Andolan, a New Delhi-based group that monitors the outlawed practice. Any person who breaks the law by employing a manual scavenger faces punishment of up to year in prison, but the film shows the large extent to which the law is ignored.

For this nauseating work--banned by law in 1993--the workers get paid by each client household 30 rupees (less than $1 U.S.) per month...


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Despite Myth, Anorexics Do Become Pregnant | Womens eNews

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

     When women suffering anorexia stop having their menstrual periods many think they no longer have to worry about birth control. But the recent discovery of a higher rate of unplanned pregnancies among women with the disorder turns that thinking on its head.

(WOMENSENEWS)--As a child with anorexia, I was too young to worry about losing my period.
     But many of the older girls and women in my treatment center believed the loss of a regular period was a perk to the potentially deadly illness. With the loss of the menstrual period, called amenorrhea, there was less hassle to deal with each month and less worry about getting pregnant. Many of the women, in fact, believed they could not have children even if they tried, thinking the anorexia had made them infertile.

     A study late last year from a leading eating disorders researcher shows the repercussions of such misperceptions for women with anorexia.

     Published in the November 2010 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the study indicated that women with anorexia are more likely to have unplanned pregnancies and induced abortions compared to women who don't have the disorder.