10/28/16 This Week's Must Read Women's Health Articles

By Eva Martin, MD of Elm Tree Medical, Inc.

Perhaps mirroring the fact that we're heading into cold and flu season, this week's most popular articles centered on the common cold and the flu vaccine. In obstetrics and gynecology news, this week's Must Read articles cover research on choline supplements in pregnancy for preventing schizophrenia, breastfeeding and blood pressure, and UTIs. Finally, an annual report on mental healthcare in America reveals some serious deficits.

1. Costs of the Common Cold

This fascinating article from STAT highlights recent efforts to create a vaccine for the common cold. Think the common cold isn’t such a big deal? The common cold drains about $25 billion from the US economy due to lost productivity. Two rival approaches are making headway- jamming one vaccine with tons of strains of rhinovirus or harnessing the universality of internal rhinovirus proteins.

2. Choline Supplements in Pregnancy

Researchers enrolled 100 pregnant women in a study on the B vitamin choline. Half of the women received phosphatidylcholine twice a day (about 900mg of choline).  The researchers administered an attentional test to their babies at 5 weeks old. The infants whose mothers took choline during pregnancy had scores that indicated a lower likelihood of future attention deficits or schizophrenia. Perhaps choline will become more heavily emphasized in prenatal care in the future.

3.  Breastfeeding & Blood Pressure Postpartum

This is the original report from a novel research study of 379 women, examining the effects of breastfeeding and blood pressure. For women diagnosed with gestational hypertension, breastfeeding was associated with lower blood pressure postpartum, even after adjusting for other factors. For women with preeclampsia and women with no hypertensive disorder, breastfeeding did not appear to be associated with a change in blood pressure postpartum.

4.  Antibiotics for UTI

If you’ve ever had a UTI, you know how helpful antibiotics can be. When UTIs recur, you can’t pick just any antibiotic- side effects, bacterial sensitivities and contra-indications are important to consider. Urology Times published a fantastic table with the common antibiotics for recurrent UTI. But what should you do if bacteria are present in the urine, but no symptoms of a UTI?  Is it a good idea to treat with antibiotics just in case? For most women, treating asymptomatic bacteria in the urine can actually paradoxically increase the risk of UTI. 

5. Mental Health in America

Mental Health America, a national community-based nonprofit, released its annual report on the status of mental health care in America. 43.7 million Americans have a mental health condition. Unfortunately, more than half of them don’t get treatment. The stats for children are even worse- 80% of children and adolescents get inadequate or no treatment for mental health conditions.

We want to hear from you! Would you get a vaccine for the common cold? Do you recommend choline supplements in pregnancy? How do you treat recurrent UTI?