Women With PCOS Should Be Screened for Mental Health Issues

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aled Rees, MD, PhD
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute
Cardiff University School of Medicine, Health Park
Cardiff United Kingdom

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: PCOS is a common condition, affecting 5-10% of women globally, in which elevated male hormone levels can cause a range of distressing and life-limiting symptoms, including reduced fertility, irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair, and acne. Previous studies have suggested a link between PCOS and poor mental health in women but the studies were small and did not adequately take other factors that can affect mental health into consideration. In addition, high levels of testosterone during pregnancy have been reported to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism, in children.

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Perimenopause: Oral Micronized Progesterone May Reduce Hot Flashes, Night Sweats and Sleep Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jerilynn C. Prior, MD Professor in the Department of Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Dr. Prior

Jerilynn C. Prior, MD
Professor in the Department of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
University of British Columbia in Vancouver

Dr. Prior has written the second edition of the award-winning book, Estrogen’s Storm Season—Stories of Perimenopause this year as an ebook on Google Play.


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is an urgent need for an effective therapy for perimenopausal hot flushes/flashes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms, VMS). Although often considered “estrogen deficiency symptoms” VMS are common and very problematic for women in the menopause transition and who have not yet been one year without flow. About 23% of North American women are now in the perimenopausal age range. Surprisingly VMS are more common in perimenopause than in menopause; 9% of perimenopausal women have severe VMS as classified by the FDA, meaning more than 50 VMS per week of moderate to intense severity.

The commonly used therapies for VMS in midlife women have not been proven more effective than placebo! That includes combined hormonal contraceptives (CHC) and menopausal-type hormone therapy (MHT) as well as the SSRI/SNRI anti-depressants and gabapentin.  Continue reading

Women Who Walk Briskly At Least Twice Per Week Have Lower Risk of Heart Failure

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Somwail Rasla, MD

Primary Care Center
Brown University, Pawtucket, RI

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Heart failure (HF) is a major global epidemic. The risk of heart failure rises with age, It triples for women above age 60.
Studies have found an inverse relationship between the risk of heart failure hospitalization and midlife fitness.Walking is the most common form of physical activity reported in women
and older adults. T
his study aims at exploring the association of walking pace (speed), walking frequency and duration with the risk of incident acute hospitalized HF (HHF).

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Menopausal Hormone Therapy Linked To Favorable Cardiac Profile

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mihir Sanghvi Academic Junior Doctor Barts Health NHS Trust

Dr. Sanghvi

Mihir Sanghvi
Academic Junior Doctor
Barts Health NHS Trust

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The effect of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), previously known as hormone replacement therapy, on cardiovascular health in post-menopausal women remains controversial and unclear. Extensive observational data had suggested MHT to be cardioprotective, leading to MHT being routinely prescribed for both primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, subsequent data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) studies cast doubt on the beneficial cardiovascular effects of MHT; this was reflected in learned societies’ clinical guidance concerning MHT’s role in CHD prevention. The most recent randomised trial data on the subject arose from the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study, which indicated that women taking menopausal hormone therapy had a reduced risk of the composite endpoint of mortality, heart failure and myocardial infarction but the study has been subject to criticism [10]. In more recent work, again from the WHI, there was no difference in cardiovascular mortality in MHT users compared to placebo, although the authors themselves state that cause-specific mortality data should be interpreted “cautiously”.

The UK Biobank is an ongoing, large-scale, population-based study designed to examine determinants of health in middle and old age. Besides extensive collection of health questionnaire data, biological samples and physical measurements, it has incorporated cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging – the gold standard for analysis of cardiac structure and function – to provide detailed imaging phenotypes. At present, there is a paucity of data on the effects of  menopausal hormone therapy on left ventricular (LV) and left atrial (LA) volumes and function, alterations in which are markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease and have prognostic implications.

We found that in a large, population-based cohort of post-menopausal women free of cardiovascular disease, use of menopausal hormone therapy is not associated with adverse, subclinical changes in cardiac structure and function.

Indeed, we demonstrate significantly smaller LV and LA chamber volumes which have been linked to favorable cardiovascular outcomes in other settings.

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Teenage Daughters More Likely To Have Abortion If Their Mother Had One

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Don't forget the teens” by Jon Seidman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ning Liu PhD Student

Senior Research Analyst at ICES
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous studies suggested intergenerational tendencies between a mother and her daughter in fertility patterns, such as when they give birth to a child for the first time, or the total number of children they have during their lifetime.

We explored whether there is also an intergenerational tendency for induced abortion practices between a mother and her teen daughter.

To do so, we used anonymized records of 431,623 daughters and their mothers, and found that a teenage daughter was twice as likely to have an induced abortion if her mother had had an induced abortion.  Continue reading

Even With Preserved Ovaries Hysterectomy Linked To Increased Cardiac and Metabolic Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso MD Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology Consultant, Division of Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Mayo Clinic, Rochester New York

Dr. Laughlin-Tommaso

Dr. Shannon Laughlin-Tommaso MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Consultant, Division of Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Mayo Clinic, Rochester New York 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are increasing data from a number of studies about the long term risks of hysterectomy both with and without removing the ovaries. We studied women who underwent hysterectomy with conservation of both ovaries to determine the long-term risk of cardiovascular disease using the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP). The advantage of using the REP is that we were able to follow women for an average of 22 years, where previous studies had only been able to follow for 7-10 years and we were able to determine which women already had cardiovascular disease risk factors at the time of hysterectomy.

We found that women who undergo hysterectomy have a 33% increased risk of new onset coronary artery disease, a 13% increased risk of hypertension, a 14% increased risk in lipid abnormalities, and an 18% increased risk of obesity. For women who had a hysterectomy before age 35 years, these risks were even higher: 2.5-fold risk of coronary artery disease and 4.6-fold risk of congestive heart failure.

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Maternal Ingestion of Placenta Has No Proven Therapeutic Benefit

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Placenta – Wikipedia Image

Daniel C Benyshek, PhD
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Adjunct Professor, UNLV School of Medicine
Co-Director, Metabolism, Anthropometry and Nutrition Lab
UNLV
Sharon M. Young, PhD (first author)

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Over the last several decades, human maternal placentophagy (postpartum ingestion of the placenta by the mother) has emerged as a rare but increasingly popular practice among women in industrialized countries seeking its many purported health benefits. Human placentophagy advocates, including many midwives, placenta encapsulation specialists, lactation consultants, and mothers who have experienced positive results previously from the practice, regularly claim improved lactation, energy levels, and postpartum mood, among other benefits, as a result of placentophagy. These advocates regularly speculate that these self-reported effects are likely due to (beneficial) changes to postpartum maternal hormone profiles as a result of the practice. While maternal placentophagy is ubiquitous among land mammals, including our closest primate relatives, recent research has shown that human maternal placentophagy is unknown as a traditional cultural practice. The conspicuous cross-cultural absence of maternal placentophagy among humans (as a long-standing traditional practice) thus remains a mystery. Our study is an important first step in the scientific (evolutionary and clinical) investigation of this rare but increasingly popular maternal practice.

Our study was a double-blind, and placebo controlled trial, meaning that there was a placenta group and a placebo group, and the participants and researchers didn’t know which supplement a participant had until the end of the study. We included 27 healthy women, recruited during pregnancy, who met with the researchers 4 times across pregnancy and early postpartum. At each meeting, they answered questionnaires on topics of interest (e.g., mood, energy, bonding, social support etc.), and we collected blood and saliva samples. At the first two meetings, they were not yet taking a placenta or placebo supplement, so we could collect baseline measures for their hormones and questionnaire data. After the second meeting, they were instructed to take either placenta or placebo supplements. Once the study had ended, we compared data between the two groups to identify any differences.

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Post-Menopausal Hormones Mitigates Effects of Stress on Cortisol and Working Memory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Department of Psychology University of Southern California Los Angeles, Ca 90089

Dr. Herrera

Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Scholar
Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Department of Psychology
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, Ca 90089 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​Previous research has shown that estradiol treatment after menopause can reduce the stress response when exposed to a stressor, including the cortisol response to stress. Other work has shown that stress can impair certain types of memory​. We wanted to test whether post-menopause estradiol treatment would not only attenuate the cortisol response to stress, but if it could also reduce the negative effects of stress on memory. In particular, we tested the effects on a type of memory called working memory. Working memory allows us to maintain and update information we need to readily access in short-term memory. For example, imagine you stop at the grocery store after work and only have a mental list of the items you need to make dinner. Working memory is the memory type engaged in helping you maintain and update your mental list of items as you grab items off the shelves and check them off your list.

We recruited women through the Early versus Late Intervention Trial with Estradiol, a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Women who participated in our study had received nearly 5 years of either estradiol or placebo.

We found that women receiving estradiol showed significantly smaller cortisol responses to stress and less of an effect of stress on working memory than women that had been receiving placebo.

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Abortion Rate Among Adolescents Falls 46%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jenna Jerman Senior Research Associate Guttmacher Institute New York, NY   10038

Jenna Jerman

Jenna Jerman
Senior Research Associate
Guttmacher Institute
New York, NY   10038


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:   Abortion is a critical component of public health. The objectives of this study were to assess the prevalence of abortion among population groups and changes in rates between 2008 and 2014, as well as to provide an updated estimate of the lifetime incidence of abortion.

To estimate abortion rates, we used data from the Abortion Patient Survey, the American Community Survey, and the National Survey of Family Growth; the estimate of the lifetime incidence of abortion used data from the Abortion Patient Survey. Between 2008 and 2014, the abortion rate declined 25%, from 19.4 to 14.6 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44.  Abortion rates declined among all groups of women, though declines steeper for some populations than others. The abortion rate for adolescents aged 15 to 19 years declined 46%, the largest of any group. Abortion rates declined for all racial and ethnic groups but were larger for non-white women than for non-Hispanic white women. Although the abortion rate decreased 26% for women with incomes less than 100% of the federal poverty level, this population had the highest abortion rate of all the groups examined: 36.6. If the 2014 age-specific abortion rates prevail, 24% of women in that year will have an abortion by age 45.

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Many US Women Face Distance Barriers To Abortion Access

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jonathan Marc Bearak, PhD

Senior Research Scientist
Guttmacher Institute
New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although U.S. women who live farther from abortion clinics are less likely to obtain one, no national study has examined inequality in women’s access to abortion and whether inequality in abortion access has increased as the number of abortion clinics have declined.

We found that half of women live within 11 miles of an abortion provider. However, 1 in 5 women would need to travel at least 43 miles. We found substantially greater variation within than across states, because even in relatively rural states, women and clinics were concentrated in urban areas. These disparities have persisted since at least 2000.

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Half of Menopausal Women Report Getting Insufficient Quality Sleep

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Anjel Vahratian PhD MPH Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist Branch Chief at the National Center For Health Statistics   Centers for Disease Control and PreventionDr. Anjel Vahratian PhD MPH

Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist
Branch Chief at the National Center For Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: Why did you conduct this study?

Response: Our research focuses on the health of women as they age and transition from the childbearing period. During this time, women may be at increased risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

As insufficient sleep is a modifiable behavior that is associated with these chronic health conditions, we wanted to examine how sleep duration and quality varies by menopausal status.

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Women Tend To Manage Their Cardiac Risk Factors Less Well Than Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Min Zhao PhD student

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Clinical Epidemiology
University Medical Center Utrech

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Heart disease is still one of leading causes of deaths and disability worldwide. Management of modifiable risk factors, including both medical treatment target and healthy lifestyle, reduce the chance of new heart attack among those who survived a previous heart attack (so-called secondary prevention). Previous studies have demonstrated that the secondary prevention of heart disease is poorer among women than men. However, most studies were performed in Western populations.

We aimed to assess whether sex differences exist on risk factor management and to investigate geographic variations of any such sex differences. Our study is a large-scale international clinical audit performed during routine clinic visit. We recruited over 10,000 patients who had survived a previous heart attack from 11 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

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Gender Gap in Myocardial Infarction Mortality Decreases Over Past 20 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dragana Radovanovic, MD 

Head of AMIS Plus Data Center
Hirschengraben Zürich

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: What we know so far? When a woman suffers a heart attack she is older, has consequently more cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, has more comorbidities, is less likely to receive the same therapies and more likely to die in hospital. Furthermore, we know from many hospital statistics and administrative data bases that in-hospital mortality of acute myocardial infarction patients has been on the decrease from 1970 to the early 2000’s. We then wanted to know what the situation looks like in Switzerland and therefore analyzed in-hospital mortality over the last 20 years with regard to gender, age and therapies. For this study we used the data of the nationwide AMIS Plus registry (Acute Myocardial Infarction in Switzerland) which exists since 1997 and continuously prospectively collects clinical data of patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction. We have found that during the last 20 years (from 1997 to the end of 2016) in-hospital mortality of patients with acute myocardial infarction in Switzerland has halved. Although in-hospital mortality was consistently higher in women, overall age-adjusted mortality has decreased more prominently in women compared to men. Especially in patients aged below 60 years a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality was observed in women but not in men.

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Gene Helps Explain Why More Women Than Men Have Alzheimer’s

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Arthur W. Toga PhD Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences, Radiology and Engineering Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA  90032

Dr. Toga

Arthur W. Toga PhD
Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences,
Radiology and Engineering
Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience
Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute
USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA  90032 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the main genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  This study reexamines and corrects the sex-dependent risks that white men and women with one copy of the ε4 allele face for developing Alzheimer’s disease using a very large data set of 57,979 North Americans and Europeans from the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN).

The study results show that these men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 have the same odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with the exception that women face significantly higher risks than men between the ages of 65 and 75.  Further, these women showed increased risk over men between the ages of 55 and 70 for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a transitional phase to dementia.

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Cervical Cancer Is Not Just a Young Woman’s Disease: Older Women Should Have PAP Smears Too

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mary C. White, ScD Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC Atlanta GA 30341

Dr. Mary White

Mary C. White, ScD
Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, CDC
Atlanta GA 30341

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: For women between the ages of 21 to 65, Pap testing every three years, or Pap testing with HPV co-testing every five years, can prevent cervical cancers and deaths.

Current recommendations state that women 65 and older and not otherwise at special risk can skip Pap tests, but only if they have had three consecutive negative Pap screening tests or two consecutive negative co-tests over the past 10 years, with the most recent done within the past five years.

We used data from two federal cancer registry programs to examine how cervical cancer risk changes with age, after excluding women who have had a hysterectomy. We also examined data from a federal national health survey to examine the proportion of women who either had never been tested or had not been tested in the last 5 years.

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AbbVie Developing Elagolix For Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Associated With Fibroids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. James A. Simon, MD CCD, NCMP, FACOG</strong> Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology George Washington University, and Medical director, Women's Health & Research Consultants® Washington, D.C

Dr. Simon

Dr. James A. Simon, MD CCD, NCMP, FACOG
Clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology
George Washington University, and
Medical director, Women’s Health & Research Consultants®
Washington, D.C

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The Phase 2b uterine fibroids study was a 24-week, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group clinical trial that evaluated the efficacy and safety of elagolix alone or in combination with add-back therapy (estradiol/norethindrone acetate) in women with heavy uterine bleeding associated with uterine fibroids. Elagolix is currently being investigated in diseases that are mediated by sex hormones, such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis.

The study was conducted in 567 premenopausal women, age 18 to 51, at 100 sites in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Chile and the United Kingdom. The two cohort design study evaluated the safety and efficacy of two elagolix treatment regimens (300mg BID and 600mg QD) alone and in combination with two different strengths of add-back therapy (estradiol/norethindrone acetate). The data presented were results from the 300mg cohort. Results from the 600mg cohort were similar and will be reported in a future publication.

Current non-surgical treatments indicated for uterine fibroids are limited, and women suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding associated with uterine fibroids need more options.

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Older Women Face Greater Risk of Diabetes From Statins

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Mark Jones, Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Public Health
The University of Queensland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Multiple clinical trials have shown statins reduce LDL cholesterol, cardiovascular events, and all-cause mortality. However statins are also associated with adverse events, including type 2 diabetes. There have been very few older women included in statin trials hence effects of the drug in this population are somewhat uncertain. Also, more generally, results from clinical trials may not translate well into clinical practice.

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Weak Thigh Muscles Contribute to Knee Arthritis in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adam Culvenor, PT, PhD

Dr. Adam Culvenor

Adam Culvenor, PT, PhD
Research Fellow,Institute of Anatomy
Paracelsus Medizinische Privatuniversität
Strubergasse Salzburg, Austria

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Thigh muscle weakness, particularly of the knee extensors (quadriceps), is a common feature of people with knee osteoarthritis. Thigh muscle weakness could be a consequence of knee osteoarthritis, or precede knee osteoarthritis development. There is conflicting evidence regarding the role of thigh muscle weakness as a risk factor for incident knee osteoarthritis in both men and women. Thigh muscle specific strength is a measure of muscle quality incorporating both the capacity of the muscle to produce force as well as muscle structure (ie. size, cross-sectional area), and preliminary data suggests this may be a more relevant measure of strength in relation to knee osteoarthritis development.

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Multifaceted Interventions Improve Cancer Screening Among Marginalized Groups

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sheila F. Dunn, MD, MSc Scientist, Women's College Research Institute Director, Family Practice Health Centre Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine Women's College Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine University of Toronto

Dr. Sheila Dunn

Sheila F. Dunn, MD, MSc
Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
Director, Family Practice Health Centre
Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Women’s College Hospital
Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Despite organized cervical and breast cancer screening programs, inequities in screening remain. In Ontario, women who are newcomers, especially those of South Asian and East Asian origin, have much lower screening rates than Canadian-born women.

In order to address these inequities the CARES program used a multi-faceted community-based intervention to increase knowledge and promote cervical and breast cancer screening among newcomer and otherwise marginalized women in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We reached out to women in the target groups through a network of community agencies. Women attended group educational sessions co-led by peers who spoke their language. Access to screening was facilitated through group screening visits, a visit health bus and on-site Pap smears. Administrative data were used to compare screening after the education date for CARES participants with a control group matched for age, screening status and area of residence.

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Women From Disadvantaged Backgrounds More Likely To Have Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sanne Peters, PhD

Research Fellow in Epidemiology
The George Institute for Global Health
University of Oxford
Oxford United Kingdom

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: People from disadvantaged backgrounds are, on average, at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases than people with more affluent backgrounds. Some studies have suggested that these socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease are more consistent and stronger in women than in men. However, the literature is inconsistent.

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Increased Risk of Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women With History of Weight Cycling

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Somwail Rasla, MD Internal Medicine Resident Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Brown University

Dr. Somwail Rasla

Somwail Rasla, MD
Internal Medicine Resident
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Brown University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Weight cycling has been studied as a possible risk factors for all-cause mortality and was found to be insignificant in some studies and significant in other studies when adjusted to age and timing of when the weight cycling occurred. It was proposed that weight cycling may increase risk of chronic inflammation by which weight cycling was considered to be a risk factor for increased morbidity and all cause mortalities. Other studies have reported that frequent weight cycling was associated with shorter telomere length, which is a risk factor for several comorbidities including CHD. Earlier studies showed that weight cycling has an association with increase in size of adipocytes as well as fluctuation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and glucagon which may contribute to the increased incidence of diabetes. Alternatively, in the nurses’ health study , weight cycling was not predictive of cardiovascular or total mortality.

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Coronary Artery Calcium Found in 1/3 Women Designated “Low-Risk’

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Maryam-Kavousi

Dr. Maryam Kavousi

Maryam Kavousi MD, PhD, FESC
Assistant Professor
Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus University Medical Center
Rotterdam The Netherlands 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The most recent American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention guidelines recommend statins for a larger proportion of populations.

Notably, a large group of women are categorized as low CVD risk by the guidelines and would therefore not typically qualify for intensive management of their standard risk factors. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) scanning allows for the detection of subclinical coronary atherosclerosis and is viewed as the vessel’s memory of lifetime exposure to risk factors. We therefore aimed to address the utility of CAC as a potential tool for refining CVD risk assessment in asymptomatic women at low CVD risk based on the new guidelines.

This study involved data on 6,739 low-risk women from 5 population-based cohort studies across the United States and Europe. We found that CAC was present in 36% of low-risk women and was associated with increased risk of CVD. Continue reading

Stem Cells May Be Stimulated in Women With Chest Pain But Normal Coronary Arteries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arshed A. Quyyumi MD; FRCP

Dr. Arshed Auyyumi

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Arshed A. Quyyumi MD; FRCP
Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
Emory University School of Medicine
Co-Director, Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute
Atlanta GA 30322

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Circulating progenitor or stem cells were discovered in adults 15 years ago. We now know that they may be stimulated by injury or ischemia, and they go down in number and function with aging, particularly when aging is associated with risk factors.

Women with chest pain despite normal coronary arteries are thought to have ischemia because of microvascular dysfunction. We found that these women, with the worst microvascular function (measured as coronary flow reserve), had higher levels of circulating stem or progenitor cells. This implies that the mild ischemia they are having during their normal daily life, leads to stimulation of their stem cells. Also, the vascular abnormality may be a stimulus for repair.

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All-Cause Mortality Increased in Women With History of Child Abuse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Edith Chen, Ph.D. Professor Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research Northwestern University Department of Psychology Evanston, IL 60208-2710

Dr. Edith Chen

Edith Chen, Ph.D. Professor
Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research
Northwestern University
Department of Psychology
Evanston, IL 60208-2710

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Previous research has documented psychiatric consequences of childhood abuse, but less is known about possible physical health consequences.

The main finding is that women who self-reported childhood abuse (in adulthood) were at greater risk for all-cause mortality compared to those who did not report abuse.

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Inflammatory Biomarkers Predictive of Coronary Artery Calcium in Women at Midlife

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Norman C. Wang, M.D., M.S., Assistant professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
Assistant professor of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We studied 252 middle-aged women with no known cardiovascular disease from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation [SWAN] Heart Study to determine if 5 blood biomarkers associated with abnormal inflammation/hemostasis were associated with increasing amounts of calcium detected in coronary arteries on computed tomography scans, or coronary artery calcium progression. Only higher blood levels of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 was associated with coronary artery calcium progression.

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Inflammatory Biomarker CRP Linked To Heart Disease Risk in African American Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Norman C. Wang, M.D., M.S., Assistant professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
Assistant professor of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We examined medical records, blood samples and heart CT scans for 372 black and white women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women averaged just over 51 years old, were not on hormone replacement therapy and had no known heart disease when enrolled. We then looked at blood levels of five biomarkers linked to inflammation. All of the biomarkers were associated with coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

Taking into account the participants’ body mass index (BMI), a measure of overall body fat, we found that obesity was a key factor linking most of the elevated inflammation biomarkers and coronary artery calcification. Regardless of BMI, black women with higher levels of one particular biomarker, C-reactive protein, were more likely to have coronary artery calcification than whites. In fact, black women with coronary artery calcification had an average level of C-reactive protein in their blood that was almost double that of their white counterparts.

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Women May Overestimate Breast Cancer Risk, Underestimate Obesity, Heart Disease Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie M. Kapp, MPH, PhD Associate Professor 2014 Baldrige Executive Fellow University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics Columbia, MO 65212

Dr. Kapp

Julie M. Kapp, MPH, PhD
Associate Professor
2014 Baldrige Executive Fellow
University of Missouri School of Medicine
Department of Health Management and Informatics
Columbia, MO 65212

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Kapp: For the past several decades the U.S. has had the highest obesity rate compared to high-income peer countries, and for many years people in the U.S. have had a shorter life expectancy. For female life expectancy at birth, the U.S. ranked second to last. At the same time, the U.S. has the third highest rate of mammography screening among peer countries, and the pink ribbon is one of the most widely recognized symbols in the U.S. While the death rate in females for coronary heart disease is significantly higher than that for breast cancer, at 1 in 7.2 deaths compared to 1 in 30, respectively, women have higher levels of worry for getting breast cancer.

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Four Reasons Why Women Receive Fewer Statins Than Men For Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander Turchin, MD, MS Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine Endocrinology Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Alexander Turchin

Alexander Turchin, MD, MS
Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department of Medicine
Endocrinology
Boston, MA 02115 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Turchin: It is known that fewer women than men at high risk for cardiovascular disease are treated with statins.

However, the reasons for this sex disparity are not fully understood.

Our study identified 4 factors that accounted for over 90% of the difference in statin therapy between women and men with coronary artery disease:

  • Age (women were older than men),
  • Amoking (men were more likely to smoke),
  • Evaluation by a cardiologist (men were more likely to have been seen by a cardiologist) and
  • History of adverse reactions to statins (women were more likely to have experienced an adverse reaction).

    This is the first time that a near-complete explanation for the sex disparities in statin therapy was found.

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Group Urges Focus on Non-Communicable Diseases in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Robyn Norton Principal Director of The George Institute for Global Health Board Member, The George Institute for Global Health Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney Professor of Global Health at the University of OxfordProfessor Robyn Norton
Principal Director of The George Institute for Global Health
Board Member, The George Institute for Global Health
Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney
Professor of Global Health at the University of Oxford

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Norton: The impetus to focus on women’s health, stems from the knowledge that, while noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death and disability for women worldwide, this is not sufficiently recognized nor sufficiently resourced. Equally, while there is increasing evidence that we can learn so much more about how to address the burden of disease for women, by collecting and analyzing data on women, separately to that for men, this is not happening.

We are calling for a refocus of the women’s health agenda on NCDs – given that globally and in many countries the focus of women’s health almost exclusively is still on women’s sexual and reproductive health. The fact is that in all but the poorest countries, the greatest health burden, for women, is  noncommunicable diseases and so that if we are to make significant gains in improving women’s health then we must focus on addressing NCDs. The current global burden of disease for women reflects both the significant gains that have been made as a result of addressing maternal mortality and changes that have affected both women and men equally – namely, that populations are living longer, as a consequence of reductions in both infant mortality and communicable diseases, as well as the fact that populations are becoming wealthier and, as a result, are engaging in behaviors that increase the risk of noncommunicable diseases.

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Women Adhere Poorly to Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs, Regardless of Type

Sherry L. Grace, PhD Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI) Affiliate Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI)

Dr. Sherry Grace

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sherry L. Grace, PhD
Professor, York University
Senior Scientist, University Health Network
University of Toronto

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Grace: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women world-wide. Cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is an outpatient secondary prevention program composed of structured exercise and comprehensive education and counseling.Cardiac rehabilitation participation results in lower morbidity and mortality, among other benefits. Unfortunately, women are significantly less likely to adhere to these programs than men.

While the traditional model of Cardiac rehabilitation care is a hospital-based mixed-sex program, women are the minority in such programs, and state that these programs do not meet their care preferences. Two other models of CR care have been developed: hospital-based women-only (sex-specific) and monitored home-based programs. Women’s adherence to these program models is not well known.

Cardiac Rehabilitation for her Heart Event Recovery (CR4HER) was a 3 parallel arm pragmatic randomized controlled trial‎ (RCT) designed to compare women’s program adherence to traditional hospital-based CR with males and females attending (mixed-sex), home-based CR (bi-weekly phone calls), and women-only hospital-based CR. The primary outcome was program adherence operationalized as  Cardiac rehabilitation site-reported percentage of prescribed sessions completed by phone or on-site, as reported by a staff member who was blind to study objectives. The secondary outcomes included functional capacity. It was hoped that by identifying the CR program model which resulted in the greatest adherence for women, their participation and potentially their cardiac outcomes could be optimized.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Grace: Similar to previous research, we found that women did not adhere very highly to the  Cardiac rehabilitation programs. Half of the women dropped out of CR, and this occurred regardless of the type of program they went to. Some women did not even start Cardiac rehabilitation at all, even though we had referred them.

On average, the women went to just over half the sessions (at the CR centre or on the phone; they were prescribed a median of 24 sessions). If we consider only the women who actually started CR, they attended almost 2/3rds of prescribed CR sessions.

Women experienced gains in their exercise capacity over the course of CR participation. Attending the traditional co-ed program was associated with the greatest exercise capacity. This could be due to the fact that the staff push them to exercise at their target levels when they are in a supervised program.

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