Women with preterm labor who were given intravenous magnesium sulfate were found to have newborns with a lower rate of cerebral palsy. Fortunately, magnesium sulfate is a commonly used medication in the U.S. to stop preterm labor in hospitalized patients, and this is a promising finding.

Doyle LW, et al “Magnesium sulfate for women at risk of preterm birth for neuroprotection of the fetus”. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009.

Question: What is the deal with HPV? Am I doomed to get cancer someday since I was  told I have it on my Pap? I don’t smoke or anything and am married but am so stressed and not sure what to do?

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a virus spread through direct skin to skin contact. The good news is that most people who are sexually active are exposed to HPV and are absolutely fine in the long run if they are followed closely, so first I want you to know that although it feels scary, it should be alright.

Short of being a nun it is almost impossible to avoid exposure to HPV if sexually active even with using a condom [click to continue…]

Diet Tips for the New Year

by Mona Saint MD

This is always a good time of year to think about ways to make our lives healthier and I know fitness and nutrition is at the top of my list especially after the holidays! When thinking about change, it can help to specifically define your goals and rationale and write them down in a positive format. For example: the goal may be to lose 10 pounds over the next 2 months, and the reason is to fit back into old jeans and feel good about yourself. The positive affirmation one can write and repeat is, “I easily lose weight and feel energetic and healthy”. In addition, keeping a food diary and having someone to check in with has been shown in studies to help maximize weight loss and help keep it off. Remember that small changes over time can lead to success. I know drastic change sounds enticing, but if we cannot maintain the strict new routine, [click to continue…]

A small study showed that pregnant women who had a Vitamin D deficiency at delivery had a higher chance of delivering via cesarean section than those who were not deficient. There are many factors that can lead to a cesarean section and currently Vitamin D levels are not checked during pregnancy. However, I am a big proponent in people getting enough vitamins amidst our busy lifestyle and Vitamin D is a very important one. Prenatal vitamins typically contain between 200-400 IU of Vitamin D. So during pregnancy be sure to take a prenatal vitamin with Vitamin D, have 15 minutes of sunlight per day without sunscreen if climate permits, and increase dietary intake of Vitamin D fortified foods.

Merewood et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 2008; NY Times Health 2008.

This study found that adolescents who take abstinence pledges are not less sexually active than other adolescents but they are less likely to use condoms and birth control.  Take home message: Teaching abstinence is commendable but adolescents should also be aware of pregnancy chances and sexual transmission of infections with sexual activity.

Rosenbaum. Pediatrics 2008; CBSNEWS.COM

Breast feeding has been established to have numerous health benefits including protection from neonatal infections and this study found that children who were breast fed for 4 months or longer had better lung function at age 10 than those who were not.  Hmmm…maybe Michael Phelps nursed until he was 5?

Ogbuanu et al. Thorax 2008.

This study looked at patients who averaged 6 hours of sleep per night and for every extra hour of sleep it reduced their chances of developing calcification of the coronary arteries by 33% over a 5 year period.  Take home message: less sleep could increase the chances of coronary artery calcification, which in the long run could increase the chances of developing a heart attack.    

King et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2008;   CBS news.com

I am in my 30’s and my PMS symptoms seem to have gotten worse over the past few years — is this common?  What’s the deal and what can I do?

It is hard to tell what exact symptoms you’re having from the email, but I’ll assume that you have premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  And it often does seem to get worse with age and especially with our hectic lives.   PMS specifically occurs anytime up to about a week or two before your period starts and the symptoms are usually gone by the fourth day of your period.  Many women have experienced crying at the drop of a hat, and partners usually are wise enough to steer clear, especially if we bait them with a question like, “do I look fat?”  The kids probably also sense that mommy’s on edge and why is she crying over American Idol?  [click to continue…]

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Researchers have found acupuncture to be more effective than medications in chronic headaches including migraine and tension headaches in a systematic review of 31 studies done over the past 40 years. Back in 1998 the National Institutes of Health listed acupuncture as a useful treatment for headaches. In Ob/Gyn we often refer patients to acupuncture for a variety of women’s health conditions including endometriosis, infertility and pelvic pain and I have seen significant improvement in numerous patients with a well known acupuncturist that we refer to. [click to continue…]

Two interesting studies about diet and breast cancer came out this week.  In the first study laboratory researchers found that extra virgin olive oil could suppress genes that can cause breast cancer.  Approximately 20-30% of breast cancers come from people who carry this gene which might explain why some studies show Mediterranean diets can lower the breast cancer risk while other diets have not shown any effect.  Extra virgin olive oil is made using no heat so it has the benefit of retaining chemicals that are lost in the more processed olive oils.  Researchers believe that these chemicals could be responsible for the suppression of the breast cancer gene. In another study, a low-fat diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fiber has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of recurrence of breast cancer. [click to continue…]