Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Breast Firming Exercises.

Gravity may get the best of you but a few simple exercises done every other day can keep your
pectoral muscles firm and toned and your breasts above your belly button. While exercise do not
increase the size of your breasts, the use of weights can strengthen the underlying muscles.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meal replacements don't help obese teens slim down

NEW YORK - REPLACING regular meals with shakes and prepackaged entrees boosts obese teens' weight loss in the early stages of dieting, new research shows.

But these 'meal replacements' were no better than a standard low-calorie diet for helping young people continue losing weight over the course of a year, Dr Robert L. Berkowitz of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and his colleagues found.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Breast cancer rates in pregnant women on the rise

Breast cancer rates among pregnant women are on the increase because would-be parents are waiting longer to have children, an expert has warned.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunscreen prevents melanoma: study

ADULTS who regularly use sunscreen are far less likely to develop melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, researchers reported on Monday.

They found people who were encouraged to slather on sunscreen in the 1990s were 50 per cent less likely to develop melanoma 15 years later, a finding that suggests sunscreen even benefits adults and that the benefits last for years.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Facts On Breast Implant

CBS : Breast Implant, Suicide Link Explored. Women who get breast implants are more likely than other women to commit suicide, new research suggests.

Fox: An Australian track star had her breast implants removed in an attempt to boost her chances of winning a medal at the 2012 Olympics.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breast Firming Gel... Have you tried it?


I know a lot of men will read this, but here go. I do not have considerable breasts, but would like them to stay firm throughout my go. Would breast firming gel help?

US rejects weight-loss drug


ARENA Pharmaceuticals Inc on Saturday said the Food and Drug Administration has rejected the company's application for lorcaserin, one of three drugs seeking to become the first new FDA-approved prescription weight loss drug in more than a decade.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Botox to treat chronic migraines

Botox injections would be given to adult sufferers of chronic migraines around the head and neck every 12 weeks in an attempt to dull future headaches, said the FDA. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK - THE US Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved Allergan Inc's anti-wrinkle injection Botox to treat chronic migraines.

Botox injections would be given to adult sufferers of chronic migraines around the head and neck every 12 weeks in an attempt to dull future headaches, said the FDA in a statement.

Chronic migraine sufferers have a headache on most days of the month. Botox has not been shown to work for people who suffer headaches 14 days or less per month, the FDA said.

The United Kingdom was the first country to approve the use of Botox for migraine treatment in July. The approval comes just over a month after Allergan agreed to pay US$600 million (S$777.5 million) to settle a federal probe into its marketing practices for Botox. -- REUTERS

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mesothelioma Disease


When a patient learns of a mesothelioma diagnosis, confusion is often one of the first emotions experienced. What exactly is mesothelioma? Is it a disease? A virus? Mesothelioma is actually a rare type of cancer. When people refer to mesothelioma disease, they are actually referring to mesothelioma cancer. Mesothelioma develops in the mesothelium, the membrane that surrounds several body cavities. The mesothelium is comprised of mesothelial cells, which become abnormal and divide uncontrollably if mesothelioma is present.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Flibanserin: Pill designed to boost sxx drive in women


Development of a pill designed to boost sxx drive in women has been halted, the German manufacturer said.

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH said this followed a sceptical response from US regulators.

The company said it made the decision because of the "complexity and extent of further questions that would need to be addressed to potentially obtain registration".

In a review in June, the Food and Drug Administration said two Boehringer studies failed to show a significant increase in sxxual desire in women who took the drug as recorded by them in a daily journal.

The company said that despite its decision it "continues to believe in the value" that its drug, called flibanserin, could have.

Boehringer Ingelheim said it would reallocate resources to areas such as stroke prevention, diabetes and cancer.

~ The Press Association.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Basics of Sxx Therapy

Some of the most common things that couples argue about are money, sxx, children, and in-laws. People are more and more likely to talk to a therapist about their families and money. However, many people still are too embarrassed to seek treatment for sxxual problems.

There are many kinds of sxxual problems. It is common for women to have trouble reaching orgasm or sxxual climax. It is common for men to have difficulty in delaying orgasm. Couples often have problems when one person wants to try something sxxual that the other person does not want to try. Sxx therapy can help with these and other problems.

As with any therapist, it is important to check the qualifications of the person you are going to see. Ask about degrees, training, memberships in associations, and so forth. Therapists should abide by guidelines set by the American Psychological Association and/or the American Medical Association. These guidelines forbid sexual contact between patients and therapists. Ask the State Board of Mental Health in your state about specialists who treat sxxual problems.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Beetroot juice boosts stamina

LONDON - SOME experts say adding beetroot juice to your diet - like other foods such as cherry juice or milk - could provide a performance boost even beyond the blood, sweat and tears of more training.

In two studies conducted at Exeter University on 15 men, Stephen Bailey and colleagues found cyclists who drank a half-litre (about a half-quart) of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20 per cent longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice.

Give saturated fat 2nd chance

WASHINGTON - RESEARCHERS backed by the US dairy industry say saturated fat is unfairly blamed for causing heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.

Instead of blaming whole milk and cheeses for clogging arteries, they argue, people should reduce carbohydrates and eat more fish - alongside a glass of milk. That's the message from the Global Dairy Platform, promoting a series of research articles published in the October issue of Lipids.

'Although diets inordinately high in fat and saturated fat are associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk in some individuals, assuming that saturated fat at any intake level is harmful is an over-simplification and not supported by scientific evidence,' said Bruce German, a food science professor at the University of California.

The dairy industry says saturated fat intake has a limited impact on cardiovascular disease risk. For years they have argued that dietary advice wrongly blames saturated fat as the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure.

Still, the American Heart Association advises that no more than seven percent of daily calories come from saturated fat, which occur naturally in many foods, including fatty beef, pork, cream, butter and other dairy products.

The AHA says, for example, that people who need 2,000 calories per day should get no more than 140 of them from saturated fats, which translates to about 16g of saturated fats per day. Total fat intake should not exceed 35 per cent of daily calories, the AHA advises. Remaining fat should come from nuts, fish and vegetable oils, which are sources of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. -- AFP

Monday, September 20, 2010

New clues to womens' cancer

PARIS - GENE detectives said on Sunday they had netted a clutch of tipoffs to help identify women with a higher inherited risk of ovarian and breast cancer, dubbed 'silent killers' for the stealthy way they claim lives.

The work gathered experts from the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia, who trawled through the genetic code of tens of thousands of women, looking for single-letter changes found among women with cancer but absent among women who were otherwise healthy. Their work was published online in the journal Nature Genetics.

One study found telltale DNA on chromosomes 2, 3, 8, 17 and 19 that strongly indicated risk from serious ovarian cancer, the term for the commonest and most aggressive form of this disease.

Another paper found that a variation of DNA on Chromosome 19 amplified the risk of breast cancer associated with a well-known culprit, a faulty copy of the BRCA1 gene, which is located on Chromosome 17.

What role these variants perform in the biology of cancer is unclear, and finding out will probably take many more years of investigation. Even so, the researchers believe that the clues add powerfully to the basket of genetic telltales for cancer, which thus opens the way to diagnostic tools for women at risk.

'These latest findings raise the possibility that in the future, women in the general population who are at the greatest risk of developing ovarian cancer because they carry these newly discovered DNA variants can be identified and given closer surveillance,' said Andrew Berchuck, a professor at Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina, who headed one of the investigations. -- AFP

New treatment for asthma

LOS ANGELES - RESEARCHERS say they've found a possible new treatment for adults with hard-to-control asthma. Their discovery, however, came at a price.

Scientists of a US government-funded asthma study had to spend nearly US$1 million (S$1.33 million) of taxpayers' money after British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC declined to donate its asthma drug and look-alike dummy medicine for the study, which compared two other treatments.

Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine, which published the study, chastised Glaxo, saying its actions made the research harder and more expensive to do. Drug companies aren't required to supply their medicines for study, but they often do.

'In the end, the study results provided the truth' - the drug, Spiriva, was as good as Glaxo's Serevent, they wrote. The study was published online on Sunday to coincide with a presentation at a medical meeting in Barcelona, Spain.

About 300 million people worldwide suffer from asthma. In the US, 22 million Americans have asthma, which kills about 4,000 a year. For people who can't control their asthma with inhaled steroid medicine, current guidelines call for doubling the dose or adding a different drug that relaxes the muscles to help patients breathe.

Researchers tested three inhaled treatments: doubling the steroid dose, adding Glaxo's Serevent or adding Boehringer Ingelheim's Spiriva, which is approved for emphysema and other chronic lung conditions, but not asthma. -- AP

Vagina gel fails to block HIV

PARIS - A VAGINAL gel failed to protect women against the Aids virus, doctors said on Monday, reporting on a major clinical trial that enrolled more than 9,000 women.

The formula, known as PRO 2000, was tested in a Phase III trial, the widest and most exhaustive stage of the process to assess a new drug for safety and effectiveness.

Aids campaigners have staked huge faith in the search for a vaginally-used gel to thwart the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It would revolutionise the fight on Aids by empowering women, especially in African countries where coercive sex is a problem.

The first breakthrough in this quest was announced in July at the 18th International Aids Conference in Vienna. Scientists reported that a cream tested in a Phase IIb trial in South Africa called Caprisa 004 cut the risk of HIV infection by 39 per cent overall, and by 54 per cent among those women who used it most consistently.

This level of protection may not be enough to make the Caprisa gel get approval, however. The cream incorporates tenofovir, a drug commonly used in tablet form to quell HIV by disrupting its reproduction in immune cells.

The PRO 2000 formula is different, being a so-called large charged polymer, which is intended to disrupt HIV's interaction with targeted cells. It was tested at two levels of concentration, of two per cent and 0.5 per cent, in 13 clinics in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in a trial that was closely monitored for ethical standards. -- AFP

Friday, August 13, 2010

How to Firm up your Butt

So maybe you will never have a J-Lo booty but it never hurts to work on what you do have. With just a bit of effort you can tighten up that behind in no time.

Instructions (3 Steps)

Step 1 - Wanting that perfect butt in a hurry might require you to do a bit of cheating. Butt glue, which is used in pageants and so forth instantly lifts the butt and firms it. Keep in mind this is a temporary fix.

Step 2 - Exercising and watching what you eat is the best route to take in tightening your butt permanently. Squats, walking, and using the exercise ball can work wonders.

Step 3 - Think about implants or buttock augmentation. This is becoming very popular for those wanting a quick fix. This is great for drooping buttocks and those who want to enlarge, lift and shape their butt.

Tips & Warnings

•A great exercise for your butt is a free squat with our without weights..
•Butt lift machines are popular machines at most gyms..
•Before beginning any exercise regimen check with your doctor first..
•Always warm up before you jump right into an exercise routine..

Friday, July 30, 2010

Calcium-heart attacks link

PARIS - ORDINARY calcium supplements taken by the elderly to strengthen bones may boost the risk of heart attacks, according to a study released on Friday.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the role of calcium in the treatment of osteoporosis should be reconsidered, the researchers said. Calcium tablets are commonly prescribed to boost skeletal health, but a recent clinical trial suggested they might increase the number of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in healthy older women.

To investigate further, an international team of researchers led by Ian Reid of the University of Auckland in New Zealand reviewed 11 separate clinical trials involving 12,000 patients. They found that calcium supplements were associated with about a 30 per cent jump in heart attack risk.

The chances of stroke and mortality also increased to a lesser extent. The link was consistent across trials and was independent of age, sex, and type of supplement. While the added risk is modest for any individual, the widespread use of calcium supplements could translate into a significantly larger disease burden across an entire population, the authors warn.

Previous studies have found that upping calcium intake through changes in diet does not increase cardiovascular problems, suggesting that the risks are restricted to supplements.

In a commentary, John Cleland of the University of Hull in Britain and colleagues point out that - regardless of possible impacts on heart attack rates - calcium supplements are probably not very efficient in reducing fractures in any case.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Worse sexual health for obese

TUESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity is tied to reduced sexual activity and poorer sexual health, according to new research from France.

The rate of unplanned pregnancy among obese women is four times that of normal-weight women, despite the former having fewer partners, the report found.

For men, being obese greatly raised the odds for impotence and their risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

"Being obese has a strong influence on people's sexual life," said lead researcher Nathalie Bajos, an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and research director at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, in Paris.

She believes obesity affects the sex lives of women particularly hard.

"Because of social pressure or social stigmatization, obese women are less likely to engage in sexual intercourse and more likely to find sexual partners via the Internet," Bajos said. "Because of their obesity, they are not comfortable meeting men through friends, through work, through parties," she reasoned.

Obese women are also more likely than thinner women to be in a relationship with a partner who is also obese or overweight, Bajos said.

A lot of these problems are driven by the stigmatization of obese women, she said, and "these women are more likely to have low self-esteem."

The report is published in the June 16 online edition of the BMJ.

For the study, Bajos and colleagues collected data on the sexual behavior of more than 12,000 French men and women. Among this group, 3,651 women and 2,725 men were normal weight, 1,010 women and 1,488 men were overweight, and 411 women and 350 men were obese.

Putting on excess pounds did take a toll on sex lives, the study found.

Compared with normal-weight women and men, obese women were 30 percent less likely to have had a sex partner in the past year, while obese men were 70 percent less likely to have had more than one sex partner over the same time, the researchers found.

Obese men were also 2.5 times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than normal-weight men, and obese men under 30 were more likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease, the researchers found.

Obese women under 30 often didn't seek contraceptive advice or use oral contraceptives, and were more likely to have an unintended pregnancy, the researchers found, and they were also less likely to visit a gynecologist, Bajos said. Due to being overweight, "they do not [always] feel comfortable seeing a gynecologist for contraception issues," she said.

In addition, gynecologists and general practitioners are less likely to prescribe contraception to obese women, Bajos noted. "It could be that they believe these women are less likely to have a sexual life," she said.

The study also found that obese women were five times more likely to meet sex partners on the Internet and more likely to watch pornography. Yet they were less likely to view sex as important in their lives, Bajos said.

Dr. Sandy Goldbeck-Wood is associate specialist in psychosexual medicine at Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust in the U.K., and author of an accompanying editorial. She said that "the differing sexual experiences of obese and non-obese people need cautious interpretation."

"We need to understand more about how obese people feel about their sex lives, and what drives the observed behaviors and attitudes. In particular, we need to know why obese women use less contraception and have more unwanted pregnancies despite having fewer sexual partners," Goldbeck-Wood said. "The answers are likely to be complex, with biological, psychological and social aspects that will require a qualitative research approach," she added.

Doctors must also develop the courage, skill and sensitivity to speak to patients directly about their sex lives and their weight, Goldbeck-Wood noted. "Doctors in primary care and sexual and reproductive health need to pay particular attention to the complex contraceptive needs of obese women," she suggested.

Dr. Robert Schwartz, professor and chairman of family medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine agreed that, right now, "a lot of physicians don't pay much attention to obese patients' sexuality."

His advice to doctors: "Don't make the assumption that your obese patients are not as sexually active as the rest of the population, and they need to be counseled appropriately."

SOURCES: Nathalie Bajos, Ph.D., associate professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and research director, Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, Paris, France; Sandy Goldbeck-Wood, M.B., associate specialist in psychosexual medicine, Camden and Islington Mental Health Trust and specialty doctor in obstetrics and gynecology, Ipswich Hospital, U.K.; Robert Schwartz, M.D., professor and chairman of family medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; June 16, 2010, BMJ, online

Viable option for leukemia

CHICAGO - ADULT patients with leukemia fare just as well when they get stem cell transplants taken from a cord blood bank as they do from a well-suited adult donor, US researchers said on Tuesday.

They said umbilical cord transplants are a viable option for adults with leukemia who urgently need a bone marrow transplant to replace cells destroyed by chemotherapy or radiation treatments, but cannot find a donor.

'What we found is when you look at the outcome of leukemia-free survival, which is the likelihood of a patient being alive without disease, it's the same whether you are transplanting using an adult graft which is from an adult donor or a cord blood unit,' said Dr Mary Eapen of the Medical College of Wisconsin, whose study appears in the journal Lancet Oncology.

Cord blood worked even if it was not a great match, Dr Eapen said in a telephone interview. Only about half of all white adult patients can find a suitable donor, and the odds are much lower if the patient is African American or Asian, Dr Eapen said.

'In general ... if you don't have an acceptable tissue match with a donor, your chances of having a complication are higher and it can result in death,' she said.

But that is less so with stem cells from umbilical cord blood. 'The body is more tolerant to the cells in the placental blood, even though they are not a perfect match.' Dr Eapen and colleagues analysed data from 216 transplant centers worldwide. They compared the results of 165 patients 16 or older with acute leukemia who had been received umbilical cord blood to 888 adults given unrelated stem cell transplants, and 472 who had been given unrelated donor bone marrow. -- REUTERS

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bacteria Could Play A Wider Role In Obesity

Bacteria may play more of a role in people predisposed to obesity than previously thought, according to studies presented by University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers at the 110th general meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) in San Diego.

"Work currently under way suggests that an interaction between genetic factors and the composition of the bacteria that inhabit the human gut may predispose certain individuals toward obesity," said Margaret Zupancic, PhD, a research fellow with the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School, who presented one of the studies. "These results potentially provide insight into the mechanisms by which genetics may predispose some people to obesity. They could also help pave the way toward a future in which genetic screening in conjunction with individually tailored treatments could help people at risk for obesity to maintain a healthy weight."

Zupancic and her colleagues analyzed the gut bacterial communities of lean and obese individuals in the Old Order Amish of Lancaster County, Pa. For the benefit of such research, their population is relatively homogenous in regard to both genetics and lifestyle. Initially, the researchers found no correlation between the composition of the gut bacteria and obesity, but when they factored in the genetic makeup of the participants, certain patterns began to emerge.

One pattern was a statistically significant correlation between whether the participant carried a given variant of a gene called FTO associated with obesity and the presence of certain bacterial groups in the digestive tract.

The researchers also found that in people with certain genetic variations in taste receptor genes, a low level of bacterial diversity in the gut correlated with a higher likelihood of obesity, while a high level of bacterial diversity correlated with a lower likelihood of obesity.

"While this work is still at a relatively early stage, results such as these could lead to applications such as probiotic [stimulate beneficial bacteria] or antibiotic-based treatments for obesity that could be individualized based on a person's unique genetic and gut microbial makeup," says Zupancic.

The Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) is an international research center within the University of Maryland School of Medicine led by Claire Fraser-Liggett, PhD, and a team of internationally recognized faculty. Comprised of an inter-disciplinary, multi-department team of investigators, the Institute uses the powerful tools of genomics and bioinformatics to understand genome function in health and disease, to study molecular and cellular networks in a variety of model systems, and to generate data and bioinformatics resources of value to the international scientific community. The scientific discoveries that are being made at IGS are helping to unravel the mysteries of biological systems and to improve health care for people around the world.

Source: University of Maryland Baltimore

Friday, May 21, 2010

Coffee shrinks babies: study

NEW YORK - PREGNANT women who drink six cups of coffee every day may have smaller babies than women who consume less caffeine, according to a Dutch study.

Researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam followed more than 7,300 Dutch women from early pregnancy onward of whom between 2 and 3 per cent said they consumed the caffeine equivalent of six cups of coffee per day during any trimester.

On average, their babies' length at birth was slightly shorter than that of newborns whose mothers had consumed less caffeine during pregnancy. 'Caffeine intake seems to affect length growth of the fetus from the first trimester onwards,' researcher Rachel Bakker told Reuters Health.

Heavy caffeine consumers also had an increased risk of having a baby who was small for gestational age - smaller than the norm for the baby's sx and the week of pregnancy during which he or she was born.

That finding, however, was based on a small number of babies, and the significance is uncertain. Of 104 infants born to women with the highest caffeine intakes, seven were small for gestational age.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, add to the conflicting body of research into whether caffeine during pregnancy affects fetal growth. Some studies, for instance, have linked regular caffeine consumption during pregnancy - even a relatively modest one or two cups of coffee a day - to an increased risk of low birth weight. But other studies have found no such effects. -- REUTERS

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

More sxxx for healthy living

BRASILIA - ONE of the best ways Brazilians can stave off chronic illness is to engage regularly in physical exercise, especially sxxx, Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao said on Monday.

'People need to be active. A weekend football game must not be the only physical activity for a Brazilian. Adults need to do exercise: walk, dance and have safe sxxx,' he said.

The minister gave the advice as he launched a campaign to prevent high blood pressure, which afflicts a quarter of Brazil's 190-million strong population.

After making his comments, Mr Temporao reinforced the sxxx message with journalists, according to the G1 news website. 'It's not a joke. It's serious. Having regular physical exercises also means sxxx, always with protection of course,' he said.

'Dancing, having sxxx, keeping weight under control, changing dietary habits, doing physical exercise' all help keep blood pressure down, he said.

He added that he believed there was a health 'time bomb' ticking in Brazil, which within 20 years could see a 'gigantic percentage' of the population suffering chronic illnesses, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. -- AFP

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New hope for ovarian cancer

VIENNA - AUSTRIAN researchers have found an antibody that could be used to step up the fight against ovarian cancer - a major killer for women.

The AD5-10 antibody helps to weaken the resistance of cancer cells in the body's immune system, according to the University of Vienna researchers whose work was published on Monday.

The antibody reduced the resistance of tumour cells to a natural resistance mechanism known as Tumour Necrosis Factor Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL). The TRAIL protein induces cancerous cells to commit suicide.

Some of the tumour cells fail to react to the suicide signal however, making ovarian cancer the most fatal form of disease affecting the female sexual and reproductive organs. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer were diagnosed in the United States in 2009. The Austrian team's work offers new hope of improved treatment.

'We were able to show in both cell cultures and animal models that TRAIL resistant ovarian cancer tumour cells become sensitive to TRAIL again if TRAIL and AD5-10 are both present at the same time,' said Michael Krainer, who led study at the university's Faculty of Medicine.

The AD5-10 antibody attaches itself to a different part of the cancer cell than the TRAIL protein, which could explain its effect, said the Austrian team. -- AFP

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Intimacy during pregnancy

Numerous concerns often lead to a downturn in sexual activity when a woman is pregnant.

IT IS common for women who are pregnant for the first time, to wonder whether sexual intercourse will affect the developing foetus.

The common questions include whether sexual intercourse will harm the foetus or cause infection and whether it can lead to miscarriage or premature labour.

Another common question in the last trimester of pregnancy is what position to use and if any position is safer than others.

There are many bodily changes in pregnancy that affects a woman’s sex life.

Some women feel sexier. Others are not in the mood, especially when they have nausea and vomiting in the first trimester.

Some women report an increase in libido in the second trimester. When the third trimester comes along, many women report a decrease in libido.

The variation in feelings and experiences are normal. It is important to remember that there is no norm. The feelings and experiences may also vary in the same woman in different pregnancies.

There is an increase in the blood flow to the reproductive organs during pregnancy, causing them to engorge. This increases sensation in some women but is uncomfortable in other women, to the extent that sexual intercourse may be painful.

An orgasm can cause an increase in uterine activity with contractions felt especially in the third trimester. The contractions last a few minutes and then go away, just like the Braxton Hicks contractions.

There may also be changes in the spouse or partner. His interest may wane in the third trimester because of a variety of reasons. It may be because of concern about the health of the pregnant woman and/or fear of harming the pregnant woman and/or the foetus. There may also be anxiety about impending parenthood.

Normal pregnancy

The developing foetus lies in a fluid-filled sac within the uterus. The sac and the uterine muscles protect the foetus from harm. There is a plug of mucus in the cervix that prevents infection from ascending from the vagina into the uterus.

Orgasm may cause some uterine activity which, however, does not harm the foetus. This increased uterine activity is not the same as the contractions that one gets in early labour. So it is safe for women with a normal pregnancy to have sexual intercourse during pregnancy even right up to the time when labour starts.

There is no relationship between sexual intercourse and miscarriage and premature labour in women with a normal pregnancy. In fact, there are reports that women who had regular sex during pregnancy were less likely to go into premature labour.

Sex during pregnancy may also enhance the relationship with the spouse or partner during the pregnancy and after childbirth.

It is important to confirm with the doctor on a regular basis that there are no pregnancy problems and that the pregnancy is normal.

There are certain conditions which, if present, would result in the doctor advising to refrain from sexual intercourse.

The doctor should be consulted without delay if there is bleeding and/or pain during pregnancy, whether associated with sexual intercourse or not.

An obstetric examination and an ultrasound will usually be done to elucidate the cause of the bleeding and/or pain and reassure that the foetus is all right.

The placenta may sometimes lie on the cervix (placenta praevia). In such a situation, the doctor will advise refraining from vaginal intercourse altogether.

If there is recurrent bleeding and there is no placenta praevia, the doctor may advise a reduction in the frequency of sex. This does not mean that one cannot partake of other forms of sexual activity.

The risk of infection to the foetus is not increased if the man does not have a sexually transmitted infection. If he does, it should be treated and once cured, sexual intercourse can be resumed. However, if the man has herpes, it would be advisable to refrain from sexual intercourse. If a pregnant woman gets genital herpes for the first time, there is a small likelihood that the foetus would be infected.

The doctor would also advise the pregnant woman to refrain from sexual intercourse if there is leakage of the fluid in the sac (liquor) surrounding the foetus because of the risk of infection of the liquor and through it, the foetus, as well. If there is a history of weakness of the cervix, it would also be advisable to refrain from sexual intercourse.

As the abdomen increases in size with advancing pregnancy, the woman may be uncomfortable with the traditional man on top position. It is advisable to find alternative positions. By trying out various other positions, the couple will find one that they are both comfortable with.

It is safe to have sexual intercourse in a normal pregnancy. It is important to check with the doctor on a regular basis that there are no pregnancy problems.

The doctor may advise refraining from sexual intercourse when certain conditions are present. One would need to adapt as pregnancy advances.

# Dr Milton Lum is a member of the board of Medical Defence Malaysia. This article is not intended to replace, dictate or define evaluation by a qualified doctor. The views expressed do not represent that of any organisation the writer is associated with.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Babies after ovarian transplant

LONDON - A WOMAN has given birth to two children after her fertility was restored using transplants of ovarian tissue, the first time the complex treatment has produced two babies from separate pregnancies.

Claus Yding Andersen, the Danish doctor who treated the woman, said the case showed how this method of storing ovarian tissue was a valid way of preserving fertility and should encourage the technique to be used more in girls and young women facing treatment that may damage their ovaries.

This is the first time in the world that a woman has had two children from separate pregnancies as a result of transplanting frozen and thawed ovarian tissue,' said Dr. Andersen, who reported the case in the Human Reproduction medical journal.

Dr. Andersen's patient, Danish woman Stinne Holm Bergholdt, had ovarian tissue removed and frozen during treatment for cancer, and then restored once she was cured. She gave birth to a girl in Feb 2007 after receiving fertility treatment. She then conceived naturally and gave birth to another girl in Sept 2008.

Nine children have been born worldwide as a result of transplanting frozen and thawed ovarian tissue. Three (including Ms Bergholdt's two) were born in Denmark after treatment carried out by Dr. Andersen, who is Professor of Human Reproductive Physiology at the University Hospital of Copenhagen.

Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services in central England and Pete Braude, head of women's health at King's College London, both said the key to the success of this kind of treatment was the woman's age. Dr. Braude said the fact that Ms Bergholdt was 27 when her treatment began had boosted her chances. -- REUTERS

New pneumonia vaccine

WASHINGTON - PFIZER Inc's new version of a blockbuster vaccine that fights pneumonia, meningitis and other diseases caused by pneumococcus bacteria won approval from US health officials on Wednesday.

Government vaccine advisers recommended the new Prevnar 13 vaccine for infants who have not been immunised with the original version. They also urged one shot of Prevnar 13 for children up to age 5 who have already received all four doses of the earlier vaccine.

Prevnar 13 was the most important experimental product the company acquired in last year's purchase of Wyeth. It fights 13 strains of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. The original Prevnar, which targeted seven strains, was introduced in 2000 and has annual sales around US$3 billion (S$4.24 billion).

Infections caused by pneomococcus greatly declined after the original Prevnar was launched. At the time, the seven targeted strains accounted for 80 per cent of invasive pneumococcal infections in young children in North America. By 2007, cases had dropped 99 per cent in children younger than 5 years old, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Studies also showed disease rates fell in unvaccinated people, especially the elderly.

'Although the rates of invasive pneumococcal disease have declined dramatically, there are still children in the United States who are suffering with this serious illness,' Dr. Karen Midthun, acting head of the FDA's unit that reviewed Prevnar 13, said in a statement. The new version 'will help prevent pneumococcal disease caused by' the six additional strains, she said.

Pfizer has estimated that the added protection from Prevnar 13 could reduce deaths from pneumococcus by an extra 9,800 over 10 years. The new vaccine targets a strain called 19A that has emerged as the most common cause of pneumococcal infection in the United States. That strain is becoming harder to treat as it develops resistance to antibiotics, said Dr. Emilio Emini, Pfizer's chief scientific officer for vaccine research. -- REUTERS

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Smokers have lower IQ

NEW YORK - CIGARETTE smokers have lower IQs than non-smokers, and the more a person smokes, the lower their IQ, according to a study of over 20,000 Israeli military recruits.

Dr Mark Weiser and colleagues from Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer found that young men who smoked a pack of cigarettes a day or more had IQ scores 7.5 points lower than non-smokers. 'Adolescents with poorer IQ scores might be targeted for programmes designed to prevent smoking,' they conclude in the journal Addiction.

While there is evidence for a link between smoking and lower IQ, many studies have relied on intelligence tests given in childhood, and have also included people with mental and behavioral problems, who are both more likely to smoke and more likely to have low IQs, Dr Weiser and his team noted.

To better understand the smoking-IQ relationship, the researchers looked at 20,211 18-year-old men recruited into the Israeli military. The group did not include anyone with major mental health problems, because these individuals are disqualified from military service.

According to the researchers, 28 percent of the study participants smoked at least one cigarette a day, around 3 per cent said they were ex-smokers, and 68 percent had never smoked. The smokers had significantly lower intelligence test scores than non-smokers, and this remained true even after the researchers accounted for socioeconomic status measured by how many years of formal education a recruit's father had completed.

The average IQ for non-smokers was about 101, while it was 94 for men who had started smoking before entering the military. IQ steadily dropped as the number of cigarettes smoked increased, from 98 for people who smoked one to five cigarettes daily to 90 for those who smoked more than a pack a day. IQ scores from 84 to 116 are considered to indicate average intelligence. -- REUTERS

Thursday, February 4, 2010

40% of cancers preventable

LONDON - FORTY per cent of the 12 million people diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year could avert the killer disease by protecting themselves against infections and changing their lifestyles, experts said on Tuesday.

A report by the Geneva-based International Union Against Cancer (UICC) highlighted nine infections that can lead to cancer and urged health officials to drive home the importance of vaccines and lifestyle changes in fighting the disease.

'If there was an announcement that somebody had discovered a cure for 40 per cent of the world's cancers, there would quite justifiably be huge jubilation,' UICC president David Hill told Reuters in a telephone interview. 'But the fact is that we have, now, the knowledge to prevent 40 per cent of cancers. The tragedy is, we're not using it.'

Cervical and liver cancer, both caused by infections which can be prevented with vaccines, should be top priorities, the report said, not only in rich nations, but also in developing countries where 80 per cent of global cervical cancer occur.

The UICC said it wanted to focus policymakers' attention on cancer-preventing vaccines -- like ones made by GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer, and others against hepatitis B, which causes liver disease and cancer.

The experts said the risk of developing cancer could potentially be reduced by up to 40 per cent if full immunisation and prevention measures were deployed and combined with simple lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, eating healthily, limiting alcohol intake and reducing sun exposure. Dr Hill said national health authorities should also work to dispel widespread myths about cancer, in particular a sense of fatalism felt by many people in the face of the disease. -- REUTERS

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Low serotonin may cause SIDS

WASHINGTON - SUDDEN infant death syndrome (SIDS) could be caused by low levels in the brainstem of serotonin, a neurotransmitter which controls functions such as heart rate and breathing, a study showed on Tuesday.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston measured the levels of serotonin and tryptophan hydroxylase, the enzyme that helps make the key neurotransmitter, in 36 infants who died from SIDS and two control groups - babies who died suddenly of other causes and infants who were hospitalised with chronic oxygenation problems.

What they found is that serotonin levels in the lower brainstem of the SIDS babies were 26 per cent lower and tryptophan hydroxylase levels were 22 per ent lower than in the control groups. They also found that SIDS babies had fewer serotonin receptors in the brainstem.

'The receptors are what serotonin interacts with to produce an effect,' David Paterson, one of the lead authors of the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) told AFP. 'In SIDS cases, in the brainstem, they actually have fewer of these receptors, and if there's a lower number of receptors, that's usually an indication that there's something wrong with serotonin.'

Serotonin in the brainstem controls functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature and breathing. If the infant has a serotonin deficiency, and if there are other SIDS risk-factors, such as the baby sleeping on its stomach where it rebreathes its own breath, with higher carbon dioxide, the serotonin system in the brainstem could fail to detect a problem and tell the baby to take action, Paterson explained.

'If this system is not working properly, the baby might not respond to this challenge and die,' he said. SIDS is the leading cause of death in infants younger than one year in the United States. -- AFP

Monday, January 25, 2010

Breast cancer care guide

CHICAGO - AN ABNORMALITY in two genes can make a common class of chemotherapy drugs used to fight breast cancer less effective, US researchers said on Sunday in a finding that could help doctors better tailor treatments.

They said changes in two genes on a small region of chromosome 8q made tumours resist the effects of drugs called anthracyclines, but not other types of chemotherapy drugs.

'This is useful because it helps select who might be resistant to anthracyclines,' said Dr Andrea Richardson of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, whose study appears in the journal Nature Medicine.

'This can potentially be used to help guide therapy on a more personalised way based on a patient's own tumour. That's why it's exciting,' Dr Richardson said in a telephone interview. She said it may be possible to develop a genetic test to better tailor treatments to a patient's individual tumour.

Doctors already can test for certain genes to tell whether a woman's breast cancer is sensitive to estrogen, making her a candidate for hormone-blocking drugs such as tamoxifen.

Breast cancer patients whose tumours generate a protein called HER-2, which can fuel cancer growth, are often treated with Herceptin, or trastuzumab, a drug developed by Genentech, now a unit of Roche Holding AG. -- REUTERS

Friday, January 22, 2010

Vit D cuts colon cancer risk

Vitamin D, derived mainly from sunlight but also found in foods, plays a key role in bone strength by increasing levels of calcium in the blood.

PARIS - HIGH levels of vitamin D are linked with a lower risk of colon cancer, according to a comparison of more than half a million Europeans, published online on Friday by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had a nearly 40 per cent lower risk of colorectal cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.

Vitamin D, derived mainly from sunlight but also found in foods, plays a key role in bone strength by increasing levels of calcium in the blood.

Whether it affects incidence of cancer has been hotly debated and the evidence is sketchy.

The paper draws on a very large study, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) project, carried out in 10 Western European countries.

The authors sound a note of caution, saying it is unclear whether vitamin D supplements are any more effective than a balanced diet or getting regular exposure to sunlight. Further work is needed, they add, to show whether the statistical link in this investigation is born out - and whether there could be any side effects from taking supplements or eating food fortified with vitamin D. -- AFP

Call to ban diet drug

The European Medicines Agency advised doctors to stop prescribing medicines containing sibutramine, which are sold under the names Reductil, Reduxade and Zelium in Europe.

WASHINGTON - EUROPEAN authorities urged a halt on Thursday to sales of a diet pill made by Abbott Laboratories Inc after concluding heart-related risks were too great.

The European Medicines Agency advised doctors to stop prescribing medicines containing sibutramine, which are sold under the names Reductil, Reduxade and Zelium in Europe and Meridia in the United States, saying: 'The risks of these medicines are greater than their benefits.'

The European Commission will consider the recommendation for suspension of marketing approval.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration said it had concluded the drug increased the chances of a heart attack or stroke for people with cardiovascular disease.

The FDA said Abbott had agreed to add a stronger warning that explicitly states the drug should not be used in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease.

The agency said it would hold a public advisory committee meeting to gather outside input on whether more regulatory action was needed. The meeting will take place after the agency reviews a full report from a study called Scout, which tested Meridia compared with a placebo in about 10,000 patients. -- REUTERS

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Start mammograms at age 40

CHICAGO - MAMMOGRAMS should begin at 40 for women with an average risk of breast cancer and by 30 for high-risk women, according to guidelines released on Monday by two groups that specialise in breast imaging, contradicting controversial guidelines from a US advisory panel last year.

The joint recommendations from the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging take into account the success of annual mammography screening starting at 40, said Dr Carol Lee of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, whose study appears in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

'The significant decrease in breast cancer mortality, which amounts to nearly 30 per cent since 1990, is a major medical success and is due largely to earlier detection of breast cancer through mammography screening,' Dr Lee said in a statement.

The recommendations have been in the works for about two years, but they serve in part as a rebuttal to guidelines issued in November by the US Preventive Services Task Force, which recommended against routine breast mammograms for women in their 40s to spare them some of the worry and expense of extra tests to distinguish between cancer and harmless lumps.

Those recommendations contradicted years of messages about the need for routine breast cancer screening starting at age 40, sparking a rebellion from breast cancer specialists who argued the guidelines would confuse women and result in more deaths from breast cancer.

'Amidst all the furor, the ACR and the SBI stand firmly behind their recommendation that screening mammography should be performed annually beginning at age 40 for women at average risk for breast cancer,' Dr Lee and colleagues wrote. -- REUTERS

Tests for rare gene diseases

WASHINGTON - AT HIS first birthday, John Klor could not sit up on his own. A few months later, he was cruising like any healthy toddler - thanks to a special diet that is treating the boy's mysterious disease.

Doctors ordered a vegan diet - only fruits, vegetables and specially processed pastas - with no more than 6g of protein daily. John drinks a formula containing creatine and other missing nutrients.

What doctors initially called cerebral palsy instead was a rare metabolic disorder assaulting his brain and muscles, yet one that's treatable if caught in time. Urged by John's family, Duke University researchers are working on a way to test newborns for this disease, called GAMT deficiency.

It is part of a growing movement to add some of the rarest of rare illnesses - with such names as bubble-boy disease, Pompe disease, Krabbe disease - to the battery of screenings given to US babies hours after birth. But just how many illnesses can that tiny spot of blood pricked from a baby's heel really turn up? And not all are treatable, so when is population-wide testing appropriate?

'Families go through these odysseys of diagnosis' to learn what's wrong with a child, says Dr Alan Fleischman of the March of Dimes, who is part of a government advisory committee studying what to add to the national screening list. Often, 'they argue that they would have been better off knowing even if there were no treatments.'

Since 2004, specialists have urged that every US newborn be tested for 29 rare but devastating genetic diseases, using that single heel-prick of blood, to catch the fraction who need fast treatment to avoid retardation, severe illness, even death. -- AP