Category Archives: Women’s Health


You May Be Putting Mercury On Your Face

It is very important to check the ingredient lists on your facial products, as you may by applying an incredibly toxic chemical to your face and hands.

Many anti-aging and anti-wrinkle cremes have been found to contain traces of mercury, and even occasionally soaps and lotions. As it is illegal for skin products to contain mercury in the US, these products still manage to find their way to US store shelves from other countries. Buyers should be wary when they see un-branded and unfamiliar brand products, as they may have been imported, and when buying skin products in another country. But even at home, the internet market is a hotspot for these items to be easily sold, so special caution should be taken when purchasing skin products online.

Mercury exposure is very dangerous and must be taken seriously. Mercury can effect the brain, heart, kidneys, and lungs of people of all ages. It is especially harmful to pregnant women and unborn babies, as it can harm their developing nervous systems, affecting ability to think and learn. Mercury can be passed to other people in a household by contact with the person who applied a mercury-containing product to their skin, or even with washcloths on which the product was applied. These products are even dangerous without direct contact to the skin, as they can release mercury in the form of vapor.

The ingredients on a skin product may not list “mercury” out-right, but if you have any product that lists the ingredients “mercurous chloride”, “mercuric”, “mercurio”, or “calomel”, use should be discontinued immediately. Before purchasing anti-aging or any type of face creme in the store, check the ingredient list for these key words. Products that do not list ingredients should be avoided. If throwing out any products at home, be sure to dispose of any mercury-containing product in a sealed plastic bag or container.


Church linked to longer life

A recent study conducted on 74,000 women over 20 years shows that women who attended church more than once a week had 33% lower all-cause mortality.

It will be interesting to see how the scientific community reacts to this report. The model accounts for major lifestyle risk factors, which will certainly be under scrutiny. Nevertheless, the model boasts impressive correlations with statistical P-Values of less than 0.001.


Midwives Return to Birmingham

After 20 years, women in Birmingham will again have the choice to select a nurse midwife for the delivery of their baby. Sheila Lopez was recently approved by Princeton Baptist to begin delivering babies.

Although lay midwives are illegal in the state of Alabama, nurse midwives are not. The main difference is that nurse midwives are trained and certified in medical practice, whereas lay midwives (not medically trained) may only have some practical experience and certification is not as clear nor as regulated.

The value in having a midwife who is also a medical professional is obviously clear. In the case of an unexpected complication, a medical professional is well acquainted with what needs to be done and can begin taking the best medically recommended steps.

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Alabama House passes bill further restricting where abortion clinics can operate

( The Alabama House of Representatives passed legislation that would keep abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of a public school.

Rep. Ed Henry’s bill was drafted by an anti-abortion group with the intent to shut down the Huntsville abortion clinic, which is located across the street from a middle school. The legislation applies the same restrictions to abortion providers that are placed on convicted sex offenders.

Neither fact was brought up during the two-hour debate on the House floor Tuesday afternoon.

Henry, R-Hartselle, said his bill is about keeping school children away from the protests on both sides of the issue that display graphic signs and take photos outside the clinics.

“It is a volatile atmosphere that our children shouldn’t be exposed to,” he said.

The legislation would allow the Alabama Department of Public Health to not issue or refuse to renew a health center license to an abortion clinic located within 2,000 feet of the property or campus of a public school.

In a previous interview with, James Henderson, the former leader of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, said his anti-abortion group drafted the legislation with the purpose of shutting down the Huntsville clinic.

Anti-abortion activists in Huntsville filed an unsuccessful lawsuit last year in an attempt to shut down Alabama Women’s Center at 4831 Sparkman Drive in Huntsville – North Alabama’s only abortion clinic — which is located almost directly across from the former Ed White Middle School. The building is being renovated to house the magnet school Academy for Academics and Arts

Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates released a statement against the passage of the bill.

“Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates stands firmly against HB 527 and the targeted attack on women’s healthcare in Alabama,” the group released. “This bill was brought about out of the frustrations of the anti-abortion protesters in North Alabama who have been attempting to block access by manipulating existing laws unsuccessfully. These protesters are now seeking to use the Alabama State Legislature as a pawn at the expense of the taxpayers to carry out a personal vendetta.

“By likening a health care facility to a sex offender in the wording of20---March-2011A the bill it is clear that the intent is not to make women safer, but to deny access in Huntsville,” the statement continues.

The House accepted an amendment from Rep. Laura Hall, D-Huntsville, that took out language that would have had the 2,000-foot rule apply to any reproductive health clinic over concerns the bill would apply to any obstetrician/gynecologist office or fertility clinics.

Another amendment from Rep. Phil Williams, R-Huntsville, defining a public school as a city or county school that is currently operating and not an abandoned building was also accepted.

Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, was the first lawmaker to take the podium to speak out against the bill. She criticized Republicans for not doing more to prevent women from getting pregnant and to the adoption process easier.

“Your whole focus is this nine-month period, and then boom, you don’t care,” she said.

Rep. Chris England, D-Tuscaloosa, and Rep. Napoleon Bracy, D-Prichard, both spoke against the bill expressing concerns that with the large number of schools in their jurisdictions the new restrictions could cause abortion clinics to close.

England asked Henry if the 2,000 feet restriction was an arbitrary figure, or if it was based on a study or used in another state.

Henry said he didn’t know where the distance came from. He said 2,000 feet is a couple of city blocks, and within 2,000 feet from a school you would have a higher concentration of school children.

The legislation can now be considered by the Senate.

By: Erin Edgemon

Image by: Eric Schultz –


Extended breastfeeding linked to higher IQ and income in study

(CNN)”Breast is best” — you could call it a mantra of sorts that sums up much of today’s research on breastfeeding.

Not only does breastfeeding have clear short-term benefits, such as protection from infectious diseases and a reduction in mortality, it’s also been shown to be associated with an increase in intelligence.

Prior studies have shown an increase of up to 7.5 IQ points in elementary age children who were breastfed, as well as an increase in verbal, performance and comprehensive IQ in adults.

the study interviewed 5,914 new mothers and then followed up 30 years later

The latest addition to this perspective is a long-term study of infants born in Pelotas, Brazil, in 1982. Published in Lancet, the study interviewed 5,914 new mothers about their plans for breastfeeding and then followed up to see how they did.

“Information on breastfeeding duration was collected very close to the time when weaning happened, so we had a very precise information on the duration of breastfeeding,” said study author, Dr. Bernardo Lessa Horta, in a podcast on Lancet.


What makes this study unique is that it followed the subjects all the way to age 30.

“We were able to follow about 68% of the participants, which is a very good follow-up rate,” said Lessa Horta. “We observed that breastfeeding was positively associated with performance and intelligence at 30 years old, as well as with education, school achievement and higher monthly incomes.”

subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points)

In fact, Lessa Horta said the subjects who had been breastfed for 12 months or longer had a higher IQ (about 3.7 points), more years of education and earned roughly 20% more than the average income level.

“It’s suggesting that the positive effect of breastfeeding on IQ leads to a higher income,” he said. “This is our main finding at this moment.”

One possible reason for the advantage of breast milk, Lessa Horta added, is that it is “rich in long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids which are important to brain growth and development.” Called LCPUFA for short, these essential fatty acids are found in salmon and shellfish and have been added to infant formulas since the 1990s. However, the benefit to mental or psychomotor development from adding LCPUFA to infant formula is unclear.

For Lessa Horta, the implications of his study are clear: “The finding supports the promotion of breastfeeding.

Because the study did not measure home life, intellectual stimulation or bonding between mother and child, it was not able to tease out whether these factors may have also contributed to the increase in IQ. That leaves it open to critics, such as Texas A&M Professor Joan Wolf, author of “Is Breast Best?

“This study does not address the very real possibility that mothers who choose to breastfeed, regardless of income or education, distinguish themselves from those who bottle-feed in all kinds of ways that are likely to promote intelligence,” Wolf wrote CNN.

For Lessa Horta, the implications of his study are clear: “The finding supports the promotion of breastfeeding. It’s more evidence that besides the clear short term benefits, breastfeeding also has long term consequences in terms of human potential.”

By: Sandee LaMotte, Source


Aspirin Did Not Reduce Heart Disease Deaths

aspirin_2945793kDaily low dose aspirin did not reduce heart disease deaths but did reduce nonfatal heart attacks

Instead of the old adage about an apple a day, many doctors advise their patients to take an aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks. Which may be good advice. But new research suggests that aspirin may not keep patients from dying of a heart attack.

Aspirin is thought to decrease the risk of death from a heart attack because it keeps blood clots from forming. This new study from Japan found no difference in the death rate between patients who took a daily dose of aspirin and those who did not. 

Patients in the aspirin group had a 2.77 percent death rate. Those in the non-aspirin group had a 2.96 percent death rate – not a significant increase.

A research team led by Yasuo Ikeda, MD, of Waseda University in Tokyo, studied 14,464 patients from 1,007 clinics in Japan. The patients had high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol and triglyceride levels all risk factors for heart disease. The study included men and women aged 60 to 85.

Dr. Ikeda and team split the patients into two groups. One group received a daily dose of 100 milligrams of aspirin. The other group did not receive aspirin. The patients continued to take their regular medications.

The study authors followed the patients for five years. At the end of the five-year period, a review committee stopped the study because there was no evidence that aspirin was effective in reducing the death rate from heart attack or stroke.

The researchers found that an equal number of patients 56 died in each of the two groups.

Dr. Ikeda and team found that the aspirin group did, however, see a decreased risk of a nonfatal heart attack. Aspirin also reduced the risk of transient ischemic attacks, or TIAs. TIAs occur when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily reduced.

In the aspirin group, 114 patients had a stroke that did not cause death. In the non-aspirin group, that figure was 108. In the aspirin group, 20 patients had nonfatal heart attacks compared to 38 patients in the non-aspirin group.

Patients on aspirin were more likely to have bleeding that required hospitalization or blood transfusions. Patients who took a daily dose of aspirin were more likely to report stomach problems like stomach pain, heart burn or nausea.

The study was published Nov. 17 in JAMA and presented at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2014 in Chicago.

J. Michael Gaziano, MD, of Brigham and Womens Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston and an associate editor for JAMA, and Philip Greenland, MD, of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and a senior editor for JAMA, commented on the study in the Nov. 17 issue of JAMA.

Drs. Gaziano and Greenland said that, although the study did not provide evidence that aspirin reduced the death rate from heart disease, there are still times it should be used.

Patients who have a high short-term risk of a heart attack or stroke should receive aspirin, they said. Those who undergo certain medical procedures with a risk of heart attack or stroke should also receive aspirin.

Low-risk patients, however, should not take aspirin because of the risk of bleeding, the editorial authors wrote.

Drs. Gaziano and Greenland said that this study “adds to the body of evidence that helps refine the answer to the question of when aspirin should be used to prevent vascular events. Decision making involves an assessment of individual risk-to-benefit that should be discussed between clinician and patient.

Patients should not take daily aspirin (brand names Bayer, Ecotrin and Fasprin) unless advised by their doctors to do so.

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare and the Waksman Foundation of Japan funded the study. Bayer Yakuhin provided the aspirin used in the study free of charge. Dr. Ikeda and several other study authors received funds from medication manufacturers such as Bayer, which manufactures aspirin.




Coffee May Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

coffeeType 2 diabetes risk decreased in patients who drank caffeinated coffee and those who drank decaf

Coffee drinkers may have one more reason to brew another pot. Coffee might prevent type 2 diabetes, according to a research roundup published for World Diabetes Day.


The report found that patients who drank coffee had a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appeared to have similar effects, the researchers found.

The new report from the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee (ISIC) included data from several past studies. According to the report, people who drank 3 to 4 cups of coffee a day were 25 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people who drank 2 cups or fewer.

Past research found that people who drank coffee were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Those who drank up to 7 cups of coffee a day were 50 percent less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank 2 cups or fewer, the new study found.

For each additional cup of coffee patients drank, they saw a 7 to 8 percent decrease in their risk of type 2 diabetes. Whether the coffee that patients drank had caffeine didn’t appear to affect the results.

The ISIC report also noted that diabetes risk increased by 17 percent in people who decreased their coffee intake by 1 cup per day. People who increased their coffee intake by 1 cup per day, however, had an 11 percent lower risk of diabetes within the next four years.

Even the time of day patients drank coffee may have an effect on diabetes risk. In one study included in the report, French women who drank coffee at lunch were less likely to develop diabetes than those who drank coffee at other times.

Past research on whether caffeine played a part in coffee’s potential effect on diabetes risk has produced conflicting results, however. The report authors called for further study on this topic.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body cannot properly process the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar. Diabetes can cause heart disease, blindness and kidney failure. Coffee may reduce blood sugar levels, according to the ISIC report, but more research is needed to confirm this effect. Coffee may also affect hormones that regulate insulin, the report authors noted.

Coffee may also improve liver function, which is necessary to keep blood sugar stable. The researchers were not sure exactly what components of coffee might decrease the risk of diabetes.

Too much caffeine can cause patients to have trouble sleeping or make them feel anxious or nervous. Patients should talk to their doctors before making large changes in their caffeine intake.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 29.1 million people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 8.1 million have diabetes but have not been formally diagnosed, the CDC estimates. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the US.

In time to mark World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14, ISIC released this annual report on research related to coffee and type 2 diabetes Nov. 13.

ISIC is a nonprofit group. Members include seven of the major European coffee companies: illycaff, Mondelz International, Lavazza, Nestl, Paulig, DE Master Blenders 1753 and Tchibo. ISIC supports independent research on coffee and shares research results.




Are we trading Gluten for something more dangerous?

LUPIN-jpgWe all know about gluten allergies, but did you know manufacturers of gluten free products could be substituting one allergen for another? There’s something in your food that could be even more dangerous, even deadly for certain people. The U.S. government is so concerned about lupin, they are putting out a warning.

15-year-old Orion has had a peanut and tree nut allergy nearly all his life. His mom, Kelley Lindberg said, “When he was about 18 months old I gave him his first peanut butter and jelly sandwich and he immediately began to break out in kind of a hive around his face.” But just as they were about to head to Europe, his mother was alerted to another potentially serious allergen called lupin. Orion was allergic to that, too. “I was not expecting to be going to Italy where he would be allergic to an ingredient in pasta and pizza,” Lindberg said.

While lupin has been used in european products for years, now it’s making its way to the United States as a flour alternative in gluten free foods. The problem is, many people don’t know it is a legume from the same plant family as the peanut. Dr. David Stukus is with the Allergist, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and told us, “I’m a board certified allergist and immunologist and I wasn’t aware of the allergenicity of lupin until recently. So, I think that most Americans and most people with other type of food allergy may not be aware of this.” Stukus says the risk is very serious for some people. “There are case reports of people having severe life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to lupin. Both people who have a history of pre-existing peanut allergy and others who are eating peanut just fine.”

Other symptoms of a lupin allergy include hives, swelling of the lips or face, GI distress, respiratory issues, even cardiovascular collapse. The food and drug administration recently put out a statement on its website and is currently monitoring complaints. “With the growth of the gluten free market , we’re going to see more products with lupin in them coming into this country,” according to Stefano Luccioli, Senior Medical Advisor with the FDA.

While in Europe, lupin is required to be listed on food products as a potential allergen, right now the us only requires that it be listed as an ingredient. Many are asking is it time for a change here? “It’s a little early to think that lupin is a significant cause of allergen in the United States to actually put an allergy warning on there,” according to Stukus. “However, people who have pre-existing food allergy, especially peanut allergy, should be aware to read labels.” Orion’s mom reads labels, but she is still concerned. “What worries me is that we will do it like Europe does and start blending it into regular flours, not just keeping it for a gluten free market but blending it into regular flours,” Lindberg said.

We contacted the Grocery Manufacturers Association to get its take on whether brands should voluntarily call out lupin as a potential allergen on products. The association declined to comment, saying its views are in line with those of the FDA. The FDA wants to stress that for the majority of people, lupin is considered a safe and nutritious food. It’s only a problem for those who are allergic. To read the full statement from the FDA regarding lupin, click here.