Women's Health Watch
Counseling Aids Postpartum Depression
Talk therapy and caring communicationcan help new mothers strugglingwith postpartum depression withoutthe need for antidepressants, showed2 studies reported in the January 16,2009, online edition of BMJ.
In the first study, the researchersrandomly assigned 418 mothers withpostpartum depression to undergo1-hour weekly visits for up to 8 weeksfrom a health care provider who deliveredcounseling, cognitive behavioraltherapy (sometimes referred to as talktherapy), or traditional postnatal care.The results found that at 6 months and12 months, the mothers who receivedcounseling or therapy had significantreductions in depression.
The second study looked at the benefitof telephone support to preventpostpartum depression. For this study,701 women at high risk for postpartumdepression were randomly assignedto standard postnatal care plus telephonesupport from women who hadexperienced postpartum depression.The researchers found that womenwho received peer support were 50%less prone to develop postpartum depression12 weeks after giving birth.
New Moms Should Get Whooping Cough Vaccine
The recent comeback of whooping cough (pertussis) hasprompted health experts to recommend that all new mothersreceive the vaccine to protect against this illness before takingtheir newborns home from the hospital.
Few physicians, however, mention the shot to their patients.Infants, who are not vaccinated until 2 months old, are morevulnerable to whooping cough, explained study coauthor TinaTan, MD. She said that half of babies with whooping cough getthe illness from their parents, while an additional 25% to 35%get the cough from another member of the household.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommendsthat adults get vaccinated with a combination shotthat guards against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Thefindings were recently reported in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Donated Kidneys Go to Younger Women
A new study, reported online January 7, 2009, in the Journal ofthe American Society of Nephrology, found disparities amongwomen and kidney transplants. The findings were based ona review of >560,000 adults with advanced kidney diseasereported to the United States Renal Data System and the UnitedNetwork for Organ Sharing between 2000 and 2005.
The data showed that for women aged 18 to 45 years, accessto kidney transplantation was equal to that of men. Womenaged 56 to 65 had 15% less access, compared with men of thesame age. Women between 65 and 75 years old had 29% lessaccess, and women older than 75 years had 59% less access.
The researchers hypothesized that patients and physiciansmay see older and sicker women to be too weak to withstanda major surgical procedure.
Women Cannot Control Hunger
An analysis of brain scans on 13 women and 10 men showedthat women are less able to suppress hunger when facedwith their favorite foods, compared with men.
For the study, the participants were quizzed on their favoritefoods and then were asked to fast overnight. The followingday, they underwent brain scans while being presented withtheir favorite foods. The patients also used a cognitive inhibitiontechnique.
Reporting in the Proceedings of the National Academyof Sciences (January 21, 2009), the researchers found that,whereas both men and women said the technique decreasedtheir hunger, the brain scans showed that the men’s brainactivity decreased, while the part of the women’s brains thatresponds to food stayed active.
Meet Exercise Goals with Self-Regulation
A self-regulation technique, which combines 2 cognitive-behavioraltherapy strategies, may help women stick with their intentionsto get more physical activity.
In mental contrasting, individuals name the way they want tochange their behavior, spell out the best possible outcome ofthis behavior, and then name and envision the obstacle mostlikely to stand in the way of reaching their goal. In implementationintentions, individuals put their plans into “if-then” formatsto help them make specific plans for attaining their goals andovercoming any challenges.
The study found that women who had self-regulation trainingwere more conditioned to follow through with their intentionsto be more active. The findings were reported in the AmericanJournal of Preventive Medicine (January 2009).
F A S T F A C T: Women in nonmetropolitan areas generally have access to fewer health care resources.