Why am I depressed?

By
May 28th, 2012

There are many well-known depression triggers: Trauma, grief, financial troubles, and unemployment are just a few. But if you are depressed and none of these apply to you, it can be hard to pinpoint a specific cause.

In truth, there may not be a concrete reason for your depression. But here are some little-known causes to consider.

It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can lead to irritability, but it could also increase the risk of depression.

A 2007 study found that when healthy participants were deprived of sleep, they had greater brain activity after viewing upsetting images than their well-rested counterparts, which is similar to the reaction that depressed patients have, noted one of the study authors.

“If you don’t sleep, you don’t have time to replenish [brain cells], the brain stops functioning well, and one of the many factors that could lead to is depression,” says Matthew Edlund, MD, director of the Center for Circadian Medicine, in Sarasota, Fla., and author of The Power of Rest.

(more…)

Study: IUDs, implants vastly more effective than the pill

By
May 24th, 2012

The small fraction of women who choose intrauterine devices (IUDs) or under-skin implants as their preferred method of birth control may be on to something: According to a new study, these long-acting forms of contraception are 20 times better at preventing unintended pregnancies than the Pill and other short-term methods.

The study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared the effectiveness of various types of birth control in a group of about 7,500 sexually active women in the St. Louis area. Over a period of three years, 9.4% of women using birth control pills, patches, or vaginal rings became pregnant accidentally, compared to just 0.9% of women who opted for IUDs or implants.

(more…)

Is Mom’s Lack of Vitamin D in Pregnancy Linked with Child’s Weight? By Alexandra Sifferlin | @acsifferlin | May 23, 2012

By
May 24th, 2012

Maintaining good health during pregnancy is one of the surest ways mothers can protect their developing babies’ well-being. A new study suggests that adequate levels of vitamin D could be one such protective factor.

Some data have linked low vitamin D levels to weight gain and obesity in women and children, but in the new study researchers at the University of Southampton in the U.K. found that association may begin the womb: children born to mothers with low levels of the vitamin during pregnancy had more body fat at age 6 than those whose mothers weren’t vitamin deficient.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, looked at the vitamin D levels of 977 pregnant women and the body composition of their kids. All the women were part of the Southampton Women’s Survey — one of the largest women’s surveys in the U.K.

(more…)

Prostate-Cancer Screening: Men Should Forgo PSA Testing, Panel Advises

By
May 23rd, 2012

Men should not get routinely screened for prostate cancer using the PSA test, a government panel recommends. The panel finds there is little evidence that testing for PSA, or prostate-specific antigen, saves men’s lives, and that it causes too much unnecessary harm from the treatment of tumors that would never have killed them.

The advice, published [PDF] by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in the Annals of Internal Medicine, extends the recommendation against routine prostate-cancer screening to men of all ages. The group had previously advised men ages 75 and older to avoid PSA testing.

The USPSTF, which in 2009 recommended that women delay routine mammograms until age 50, based its prostate-cancer-screening guidelines on a review of previous research, including two large studies in the U.S. and Europe. The studies compared cancer rates and survival between men who were routinely screened and those who were not, and found little to no mortality benefit from PSA screening over 10 years of follow-up.

(more…)

Oh No, Where Did It Go? When Things Get “Lost” In the Vagina

By
May 22nd, 2012

While the vagina is actually a structure with side and back walls, women can get panic stricken when an item seems to get lost or is not retrievable. We get requests on our Community Board for help in getting things back out of the vagina. Similarly, as a clinician I would sometimes find “lost” objects during a speculum exaam.

Lost Condoms

According to some studies, 28-33% of condom users have reported breakage, slippage, or both. According to one study of 834 condom-protected sex acts, 7% involved slippage with sex and 8% had slippage during withdrawal. Either breakage or slippage could result in all or part of a condom being left inside the vagina.

(more…)