12/16/16 Poo, Voice Recognition, & Zika After Pregnancy: Top 5 Health Articles

By Eva Martin, MD of Elm Tree Medical Inc.

Who would have thought that, by far, the most popular health article this week is entitled "Poo Saves"?! It's been another interesting week in health articles. This week's topics include fecal transplants, voice recognition software, Zika testing after pregnancy, risks to infants from maternal infections during pregnancy, and cervical cancer screening interval extension to 10 years.

1. Poo Saves

I read this article in my husband's Vanderbilt alumni magazine and absolutely could not find it online. Out of linking options, I snapped a photo (below). It's worth enlarging and reading. As you've probably heard, fecal transplants are possibly one of the most promising treatments in modern medicine with a 95% cure rate for hospital-acquired C. dificil colitis. Fun facts include the make-up of poo. 1 gram has 100 billion bacteria, 100 million viruses and archea, 10 million colonocytes, and 1 million yeasts and fungi.

2. Errors in Voice Recognition

Providers, inundated with ever-increasing note-taking requirements, are turning to voice recognition software to help them type up their findings. Unfortunately, voice recognition errors persist in 71% of medical notes, and 15% of these contain critical errors with the potential to adversely affect patient care.

3. Zika After Birth

Reports are showing that OBGYNs have become diligent with testing for Zika and monitoring for symptoms in pregnant women who may have been exposed to the virus. However, surveillance remains important after birth. New research has shown that Zika can continue to cause neurologic damage after birth, but 41% of infants possibly exposed to Zika in utero were not tested for the virus after birth. Pediatricians, time to join your OBGYN colleagues and test for Zika!

4.  Infections During Pregnancy

This latest study on the downstream risks of infections during pregnancy certainly got my attention. In a review of over 8.6 million births in California from 1991 to 2008, UC Davis medical student Hilary Haber found that any maternal infection during pregnancy was linked to a 43% increased risk of the infant having epilepsy, 33% increased risk of intellectual disability, and 8% increased risk of autism. If the infection was severe enough to require hospitalization, the risks increased.

5. Cervical Cancer Screening Intervals

A new study from Holland suggests that women aged>40 who are HPV-negative can wait 10 years between cervical cancer screenings. This is a far cry from the "annual pap" days of yore. Critics are worried, however, that this long screening interval will result in women not accessing OBGYN care for a decade at a time, leaving them worse off than if they were coming in at least every 3 or 5 years for screenings and getting additional needed care as a result. Of note, women who are HPV-positive are 12 times more likely to develop cervical cancer and are prescribed shorter screening intervals. 

We want to hear from you! Have you met anyone who uses fecal transplants routinely in their clinical practice now? How often do you think the cervical cancer screening interval should be?