February 14, 2007

Studies Examine Cranial Hemorrhaging Among Infants, Breast Cancer Treatment Outcomes

The following highlights recently released journal articles on women's health issues.

Pregnancy & Childbirth

  • "Intracranial Hemorrhage in Asymptomatic Neonates: Prevalence on MR Images and Relationship to Obstetric and Neonatal Risk Factors," Radiology: Honor Wolfe of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's School of Medicine and colleagues used magnetic resonance imaging to examine 44 male and 44 female infants between ages one week and five weeks (Wolfe et al., Radiology, February 2007). Sixty-five of the infants were delivered vaginally and 23 were delivered through cesarean section. The researchers found that among the vaginal deliveries, 17 infants, or 27%, experienced intracranial hemorrhaging. None of the infants delivered through c-sections experienced intracranial hemorrhaging, according to the study. Most of the hemorrhages were small and occurred between the brain and the membrane that covers it inside the skull, the study found (Dunham, Reuters, 1/30). The researchers said that most bleeding heals quickly and does not produce long-term complications. Researchers plan to follow up with the infants at ages one and two to check for possible long-term effects from the hemorrhaging. According to the researchers, the study's findings should not be used to support c-section deliveries. "At this point, neither parents nor providers should change their plans for delivery," Wolfe said (Maugh, Los Angeles Times, 1/30).

Public Health

  • "Cervical Cancer Incidence in a Prevaccine Era in the United States, 1998-2002," Obstetrics & Gynecology: Rates of invasive cervical cancer declined in the U.S. from 1998 to 2002, though the disease continues to affect minority women disproportionately, according to a report published in the most recent issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reuters Health reports. For the report, Mona Saraiya of CDC and colleagues examined data covering 87% of U.S. women and identified 59,848 cases of cervical cancer during the five-year study period. The annual number of cases declined from 10.2 per 100,000 women in 1998 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2002. Hispanic women had the highest incidence at 14.8 cases per 100,000 women, followed by black women at 13.5 cases and Asian or Pacific Islander women and white women at 8.9 cases per 100,000 women. Among Hispanic women ages 40 or older, rates were 26.5 or more cases per 100,000 women; among black women ages 50 or order, rates were 23.5 or more. Researchers said the findings indicate that more screening in older women is needed, and they recommended guidelines to increase minority women's access to screenings (Reuters Health, 1/31).

"Potentiation of Mammary Cancer Inhibition by Combination of Antagonists of Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone With Docetaxel," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Andrew Schally, professor of pathology and oncology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and colleagues tested the effectiveness of the compound JMR-132 and the chemotherapy drug docetaxel among mice that were bred to develop human breast tumors, HealthDay/Yahoo! News reports. The researchers tested the drugs separately and as a combination therapy. The study found that after three weeks of treatment with JMR-132 -- which binds to specific receptors and prevents hormones from encouraging tumor cells growth -- tumor volume reduced by an average of 63%. The mice that were treated with docetaxel monotherapy saw a 74% reduction in tumor volume, and the combination therapy reduced the volume by more than 97%, the study found. In some cases, the tumor was completely eradicated, HealthDay/Yahoo! News reports. "It's an interesting study, but there's no guarantee that this would work in humans," Jay Brooks, chair of hermatology and oncology at Ochsner Health System, said, adding, "Docetaxel would work in humans because it's the most active drug in breast cancer, but we don't know if [JMR-132] would work. I think this should be followed in a human clinical research trial" (Gardner, HealthDay/Yahoo! News, 1/30).

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