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The benefits of estrogen therapy post-hysterectomy
Date: 2013-07-19 10:21:48

Hysterectomies are a common procedure for women by the age of 60, according to the National Institutes of Health. After the surgery, doctors usually recommend that women undergo hormone therapy to treat symptoms of menopausal hormone deficiencies. However, a study conducted at Yale University noted that estrogen use experienced a serious decline after 2002, after a report regarding the dangers of hormone therapy was released.

The Yale study found that coverage of the 2002 report primarily focused on women who had not undergone a hysterectomy and engaged in treatment that combined estrogen pill therapy and a progestin - something that is necessary for women to take in order to reduce their risk of uterine cancer. Women who have had a hysterectomy, on the other hand, do not need to take the second hormone, so they do not mirror the risks found in the hysterectomy group.

"Sadly, the media, women and healthcare providers did not appreciate the difference between the two kinds of hormone therapy," said Philip Sarrel, lead author of the study. "As a result, the use of all forms of FDA-approved menopausal hormone therapy declined precipitously."

The second half of the 2002 study examined women who had their uterus removed, and found that estrogen-only therapy proved to have beneficial health outcomes. The Yale report noted that the women who took estrogen had lower mortality rates over the course of a decade than the subjects who were given a placebo. Their risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer was also reduced.

Sarrel stated that by refusing estrogen therapy for fear of adverse side effects, women put themselves at a higher risk of both breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. He estimated that 50,000 deaths occurred as a result of refusing estrogen, and he expressed hope that the new report will encourage women to engage in estrogen-only therapy.

What are the other benefits of estrogen? ... Full Story

Study shows increasing importance of lab tests
Date: 2013-07-11 12:48:57

Lab tests were the theme of a recent report released by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Society for Microbiology. The IDSA and ASM identified lab tests as the key to identifying and treating infectious diseases.

The study examined the effect that the appropriate lab test has on patient outcome, and underscored the importance of lab testing in the diagnosis of infectious diseases. It also provided guidelines on the collection of specimens and how to obtain the most accurate results. The report was recently published in Clinical Infectious Diseases, and it provides guidelines for the use of labs in diagnostics.

"Getting the right diagnosis is contingent upon laboratory results that are accurate and clinically relevant," said Ellen Baron, coauthor of the study. "Physicians, their staff and microbiologists must communicate and work together to ensure the best outcome for patients, and this guide aims to help facilitate this collaboration."

The guide focused on 10 areas of specimen management and was geared toward laboratory scientists. It recommended that, to avoid inaccurate results, poor quality specimens should not be used and that specific diseases should be targeted rather than attempting to make a blanket diagnosis. The researchers also stressed the importance of ensuring that specimens are not contaminated and that swabs may not provide enough material to detect an infection. Lab scientists should not rely on samples that have been taken after the administration of antibiotics, and solid technical policies ought to be put in place in order to guarantee accurate results across the board.

The report noted that it should not take the place of lab scientists' judgment, but can act as a guide to look to when in the decision-making process.

Why a private lab test?... Full Story

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