Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Federal Funded Family Planning Program New Rule

Title X is a federally funded family planning program for birth control and reproductive healthcare and it is particularly aimed at people with low incomes. Enacted in 1970 as part of the Public Health Service Act, Title X helps more than 4 million Americans each year. Under the Trump administration, a new rule would mandate providers receiving Title X funds to be separate from any providers that perform or refer to abortions. In regards to Planned Parenthood, this rule would prohibit all Planned Parenthood health centers from receiving Title X funds if any Planned Parenthood health center counseled on abortions or performed abortions. Legal challenges to this rule have led to injunctions; however, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying it will formally withdraw from the Title X program on August 19 unless a federal court intervenes. Officials from Planned Parenthood believe it is wrong to keep complete medical abortion information from clients, which the rule would require, and acting president...
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Three Ground-Breaking HIV Studies

Three Ground-Breaking HIV Studies

Three ground-breaking studies published in the New England Journal a few weeks ago reveal the benefits of door-to-door health workers, mobile clinics, and whole community testing in reducing the rate of new HIV infections in African Countries. The first study, the Ya T’sie trial, provided HIV testing, linkage to care, and early antiretroviral treatment to communities of Botswana; the second study, Search, focused on universal HIV treatment for communities in Uganda and Kenya; and the third study, PopART, implemented combination prevention intervention with ART in communities of Zambia and South Africa. The conclusion of these workings points to a 30 percent decrease in HIV incidence proving the success of these testing and treatment efforts. The key to the success is the idea of the “warm handoff” implemented in all three studies in which the health care workers ensured anyone who tested positive for HIV followed up at a clinic and did not forget. These studies are so important considering that...
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Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

Healthcare in the West African nation of Mali

     The West African nation of Mali is one of the world’s poorest countries and has extremely high rates of maternal and child mortality. The WHO has approximated that costs of healthcare are a force pushing 100 million people across the globe into extreme poverty every year. So, in the area of Yirimadio during 2008, the community implemented a free door-to-door health-care plan sponsored by the government in order to ensure wellness and combat health ailments. After 7 years of the trial, the University of California collected data from the region and discovered that child mortality in the region dropped by 95%—marking the program as extremely successful. After this news, the President of Malawi announced the goal for the entire country by 2020 to have localized, free health care for pregnant women and children under the age of 5 to fight maternal and child mortality. This program will focus on training community health care workers, providing door-to-door services, and...
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Let’s End HPV-Related Cancers Briefing Coverage

Let’s End HPV-Related Cancers Briefing Coverage

    In the U.S. alone, over 33,000 HPV-related cancers are diagnosed annually among men and women and globally, there are over 630,000 cases. The theme of the briefing, “Let’s End HPV-Related Cancers” held in Washington, D.C. on June 27, 2019 centered around how to prevent the 6 cancers caused by HPV: cervical cancer, oropharyngeal cancers, anal cancer, penile cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) is a leader in the House of Representatives bringing legislation to the United States to meet the WHO goal to eliminate HPV-related cancers. The tools to eliminate these cancers do exist and Representative Castor expressed optimism for saving lives and never seeing these cancers again. Starting with cervical cancer, the approach of adding vaccination, screening, and treatment is necessary for elimination. Australia, Canada, and Rwanda are three countries which have declared they will be the first to eliminate cervical cancer and the U.S. must also show initiative with this mindset.     ...
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Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

Important New Study Regarding Injectable Contraceptives

There is an unmet need affecting 47% of women in Africa who want modern contraception in order to prevent pregnancy. During the last few years, there has been an increase in the use of injectable contraceptives, such as Depo-Provera, across the continent specifically in Mali, Sierra Leone, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Many African women rely on these types of shots because they are more easily concealable compared to other forms of contraception such as a daily birth control pill. Also, in some health clinics, these shots are the only method of contraception offered. Many women need secret protection due to men refusing condoms and the women wanting to avoid any social, physical, and mental consequences they may endure if they are found trying to keep away from pregnancy. A specialist in HIV at Britain’s Medical Research Council, Dr. Sheena McCormack, stated that African women’s, “husbands or partners, and their families, often want them to have children.” Along with the...
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South Korea Poses Amendment for Anti-Abortion Law

South Korea has fostered an anti-abortion law for 66 years which names abortion a crime with repercussions of heavy fines and women facing up to a year in jail and doctors facing up to two years. Last Thursday, South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled this law unconstitutional and concluded that Parliament must revise the law by 2020 or else it will become invalid. There are a few exceptions to the law which allow for abortions under the situations of pregnancy from rape or incest, pregnancy which poses great risk to the mother’s health, or pregnancy that will result in a child with a serious deformity. However, a study does prove that since the law has been enacted, there have been huge amounts of illegal abortions—49,7000 abortions took place in 2017 and an estimated 94% of those were performed illegally. There also seems to be a general shift in trends of what South Koreans think of abortion because a poll shows that...
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Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

Updates on Research With Male Birth Control

     Last week, the drug 11-beta-MNTCD, a male contraceptive pill, was introduced at the Endocrine Society annual meeting. There has been a lot of efforts in both the scientific and medical communities to develop male birth control in recent years. Dr. Christina Wang, associate director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, noted how this new pill works to mimic testosterone’s effects, but does not allow for sperm production in the testicles. Dr. Wang then also predicted that this pill will not actually be able to be sold in the market for another decade due to the need of much more research and specific trials testing the pills effectiveness. In addition to the production of pills, the idea of a contraception through a body gel that men apply to their back and shoulders where it is absorbed by their skin is also being researched and made for trials. The production of the...
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Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

Smoking During Pregnancy is Linked to SUID

    “Every cigarette counts,” stated Tatiana Anderson, a neuroscientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a head author of a new study published relating SUID, sudden unexpected infant death, to smoking during pregnancy. The research analyzed more than 20 million births which included 19,000 SUID cases and concluded that one cigarette a day smoked by a pregnant woman can double the risk of SUID for her baby. In the United States, there are approximately 338,000 women each year who self-report they smoke during their pregnancy. The study also found that “if no woman smoked in pregnancy, SUID rates in the United States could be reduced substantially.” Ongoing studies analyzing exactly how SUID and smoking are related are being conducted and one possible theory is that smoking increases serotonin levels in infants during sleep which may affect the ability of the brain stem to regulate the respiratory system and therefore leads to SUID. There is also evidence that cigarette usage...
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Professor Spotlight: Dr. Nunn

Dr. Nunn is a professor of Evolutionary Anthropology and Global Health and is currently teaching the course “Human Health in Evolutionary Perspective” here at Duke. The following is the transcript of an in-person interview conducted with Dr. Nunn. What inspired you to teach “Human Health in Evolutionary Perspective” at Duke? In particular, what long-term perspectives do you hope students will gain from this course? “I came to Duke in 2013 from Harvard where I taught this course and it was called Evolutionary Medicine. I was really excited to teach it there because it was in the General Education Curriculum and a colleague of mine, Peter Ellison, and I developed a course that was aimed at people without any background in evolution or background in pre-med. It was meant to be a course that attracted any student and it was amazing. It allowed me to engage with the material in a more basic level and I came to realize the material is something...
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New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

New Studies Relating to the Grandmother Hypothesis

The “grandmother hypothesis” represents the idea that a grandmother has beneficial effects on the reproductive success of her children and the survival of her grandchildren. Therefore, it is predicted that women who have the genes for living longer would then have grandchildren who also carry these genes. Recently, two more studies that further explore the notion of the grandmother effect were published in Current Biology. The first analyzes data of birth, death, and marriages in certain Catholic parishes from 1608 in an area that is present-day Quebec. The findings point to the fact that families who stayed geographically near their grandmas not only created larger family sizes and shifted child mortality rates, but positively promoted mothers to have children at younger ages. The second study was led by Dr. Chapman of the University of Turku in Finland and analyzed data from pre-industrial Finland. Dr. Chapman concluded that specifically, when a grandma is in her 50-70’s, she is most capable of...
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