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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M study finds health insurance coverage and racial disparities exist in receiving reconstruction after mastectomy

A University of Minnesota School of Public Health study found health insurance coverage and racial disparities exist in women who have undergone reconstruction after mastectomy. In 2013, more than 232,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, and 37 percent of those women with breast cancer underwent a mastectomy, or the surgical removal of breast tissue. Of those, nearly one third undergo breast reconstruction to rebuild the shape of the removed breast. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy offers clinical, cosmetic and psychological benefits with low medical risk.

Study findings were recently published in Women’s Health Issues.

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patient-care

Study urges reduction in use of routine pelvic exams for women

After reviewing 52 past studies, researchers from the University of Minnesota and VA found little evidence to support routine pelvic exams for average-risk women with no gynecological symptoms, other than for cervical cancer screening.

For decades, providers and patients alike recognized pelvic exams as a part of a woman’s routine health exams. The study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, has led to a new clinical practice guideline being issued by the American College of Physicians.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M research: Early elective deliveries make up nearly 4 percent of U.S. births

While the past several years have seen a decline in the rate of elective labor inductions and cesarean deliveries between 37 and 39 weeks gestation, early elective births are still happening nation-wide. Labor induction or cesarean delivery without medical reason before a baby is considered full-term at 39 weeks, or an “early elective delivery,” is associated with health problems for mothers and babies.

New University of Minnesota research published in this month’s edition of the journal Medical Care is the first of its kind to show who is having early elective deliveries, and whether these deliveries happen following labor induction or cesarean.

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expert-perspectives

Health Talk Recommends: Assessing the ACA’s impact on pregnant inmates

Pregnancy can be hard in the best of circumstances. For a pregnant inmate, incarceration opens up a whole new set of challenges faced only by expectant mothers behind bars.

To coincide with the March issue of Health Affairs, which focuses on issues related to incarceration and health, University of Minnesota researchers Katy Kozhimannil, Ph.D. of the School of Public Health and Rebecca Shlafer, Ph.D. of the Medical School wrote about what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will mean for the 6-10 percent of female prisoners who are pregnant during their incarceration.

“Currently, pregnant inmates have increased rates of complicated and preterm deliveries, and mothers and their babies have more risk factors and worse birth outcomes than similar women who are not incarcerated,” said Kozhimannil.

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news-and-notes

Game Changer: Bernard Harlow

Bernard Harlow is one of the nation’s leaders in female reproductive health research, looking closely at the relationship between psychiatric disorders and reproductive function. His work is making a big impact in Twin Cities communities and has led to the largest NIH grant of its kind in his subject field.

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patient-care

Epilepsy drug lamotrigine use in pregnancy: fewer doctor visits ahead?

For women with epilepsy, controlling health-threatening seizures is especially important during a pregnancy.

Taking the right dose of medicine can be key… and challenging.

As a baby grows, a pregnant woman’s body weight must also grow to support her baby. Consequently, a pregnant woman may require more medication to keep seizures at bay than she did pre-pregnancy. Pregnant women with epilepsy regularly visit the doctor to have blood drawn and adjust their antiepilepsy medicine dosage.

Now, new data analyses from the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and Harvard Medical School find one fifth of pregnant women may someday be able to control seizures with fewer visits to the doctor.

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