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Women Face Chronic Pain

Millions of American women are living with disorders that cause chronic pain but are being neglected by many researchers and practitioners, according to a report from the Campaign to End Chronic Pain in Women, which includes the Endometriosis Association and the National Vulvodynia Association. Failure to adequately diagnose and treat just six conditions affecting women - chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis, temporomandibular disorders, and vulvodynia - adds as much as $80 billion in direct and indirect costs to the health care system each year, according to the report. The group recommended that the National Institutes of Health fund at least four women's chronic pain centers of excellence at leading academic health centers. The report also called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a program studying and comparing the six chronic conditions cited.

Heart Disease Also at Issue

Health care providers and policymakers are also neglecting cardiovascular diseases in women, according to a report from the Society for Women's Health Research and WomenHeart. The "call to action" document listed the top 10 unanswered questions in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of women with heart disease, including how to explain cardiovascular disease disparities between men and women, what role a woman's reproductive history plays in heart disease, and how psychosocial factors affect cardiovascular disease in women. The report also called on Congress to pass the HEART for Women Act (S. 438), which would step up government efforts to address the topic.

AMA Adopts BPA Policy

At its recent annual meeting, the American Medical Association recognized bisphenol A (BPA) as an endocrine-disrupting agent, supported existing bans on (BPA) in baby bottles and infant-feeding cups, and called on manufacturers to clearly label products that contain the substance. The AMA policy resolution noted that the chemical can be found in the lining of canned food containers, cigarette filters, certain medical devices, cash register receipts, and dental sealants. "Both the FDA and Canadian officials have recently expressed concern about potential harmful effects of BPA and taken interim actions to protect sensitive populations such as infants and toddlers by banning the sale of baby bottles, food containers, and cups containing BPA," Dr. Edward Langston, an AMA board member, said in a statement.

New York Abortion Fight Goes On

A federal judge has temporarily blocked enforcement of a new New York City ordinance regulating pregnancy centers that counsel women against abortion. The ordinance would have required the centers, also known as crisis-pregnancy centers, to post signs and make clear on their websites whether they provide prenatal care by a licensed medical provider, emergency contraception, or abortion. Abortion-rights supporters say the centers advertise in a deceptive way that leads women to believe they offer comprehensive reproductive health services. Judge William H. Pauley III granted a temporary injunction to stop the ordinance from taking effect. He wrote that the law infringes on free speech rights. City officials said they plan to appeal the ruling.

Progress vs. Cancer Is Uneven

Nearly 900,000 cancer deaths have been avoided in the past 17 years thanks to bet ter cancer prevention, detection, and treatment, but those advances have disproportionately eluded the least-educated people in the United States, the American Cancer Society said. Cancer death rates for individuals with the least education are 2.6 times those for the most-educated segment of the population, a society report said. The disparity is highest for lung cancer: The death rate for the least-educated segment was five times that of the most-educated population. The report pointed out that 31% of men with 12 or fewer years of education are smokers, compared with 12% of college graduates and 5% of men with graduate degrees. Closing the cancer gap between demographic groups could have prevented 60,370 deaths in 2007, or more than one-third of the premature cancer deaths that occurred in people aged 25-64 years, the report said.

'Bad Ad' Reports Triple

Reports to the FDA of potentially misleading or untruthful drug ads tripled after the FDA launched a "Bad Ad" outreach program to urge health care professionals to report offenders. During its first year, ending in May, the program received 328 reports of problem ads, 188 of which were submitted by health care professionals. Prior to the outreach program's launch, the FDA received only about 104 reports per year. Of the reports submitted by professionals, the agency identified 87 for a comprehensive review, "demonstrating a relatively strong level of knowledge in the medical community about what constitutes misleading promotion," an FDA announcement said. The agency said it will continue to promote the program to the medical community
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Title Annotation:PRACTICE TRENDS
Author:Schneider, Mary Ellen
Publication:OB GYN News
Date:Aug 1, 2011
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