Real-life mastectomy models wanted: join the Everyday Superwoman competition

Love beautiful mastectomy lingerie? Had breast surgery due to breast cancer? Lorna Drew needs you!

everyday-superwomen image
The UK brand launched a worldwide search for real-life mastectomy wannabe models. Any woman who has undergone breast surgery due to breast cancer can enter Lorna Drew Everyday Superwomen competition.

Lorna Drew Everyday Superwoman campaign promotes the use of relatable role models for women going through breast cancer treatment. These women share inspirational stories of their strength and present a positivity about their body image, which is reflected in the way that they live their lives. There is no such thing as “perfection” and beauty comes in many variations so we intend to celebrate it!

The UK brand aim is to show how its mastectomy lingerie will not only fit and feel perfect on a variety of women of all shapes and sizes, prosthetics and reconstructions, but it will look beautiful too! All types of breast cancer, prosthesis, reconstructions, sizes, ages, and body shapes are all encouraged to enter!

Sources and more information
  • Download your entry here and email it here.
  • About Everyday Superwomanlornadrew.
  • Competition full list of prizes.
  • Lorna Drew starts mastectomy model search, lingerieinsight, Jul 1, 2015.

Download the Yellow Card smartphone free app

George Freeman talks about the benefits of the new health app from the UK MHRA

In this video published by MHRAgovuk on 14 Jul 2015 , George Freeman talks about the benefits of the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency new Yellow Card free app.

More info and videos
  • The new Yellow Card smartphone app supplements an existing one-stop website and is the only app that allows patients, carers and healthcare professionals to report medicine side effects directly to the Yellow Card Scheme to help MHRA ensure they are acceptably safe for patients. Users can select specific medicines or vaccines to track and receive news and alerts about them.
  • Download the free app on iTunes and GooglePlay.
  • Digital evolution for ground-breaking Yellow Card Scheme,
    GOV.UK press release, 14 July 2015.
  • Watch more research videos on our YouTube channel.

European Medicines Agency started reviewing HPV vaccines safety

EMA confirmed evidence does not support that HPV vaccines cause CRPS or POTS… but the Nordic Cochrane Center said their report is flawed…

image of hpv-vaccine
Concerned by reports of serious adverse effects in young women receiving human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, the European Medicines Agency started a safety review. Three HPV vaccines are currently licensed in Europe: Gardasil/Silgard, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix, all of which are approved in the U.S. as well.

July 2015

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) started a review of HPV vaccines to further clarify aspects of their safety profile.

The review looked at available data with a focus on rare reports of two conditions:

  • complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
    a chronic pain condition affecting the limbs,
  • postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
    a condition where the heart rate increases abnormally after sitting or standing up, causing symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, as well as headache, chest pain and weakness.

In its review the agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) considered the latest scientific knowledge, including any research that could help clarify the frequency of CRPS and POTS following vaccination or identify any causal link. Based on this review, the Committee decided whether to recommend any changes to product information to better inform patients and healthcare professionals.

November 2015

EMA concluded this review : HPV vaccines: EMA confirms evidence does not support that they cause CRPS or POTS.

Summer 2016

An official complaint has been filed by the Nordic Cochrane Center against the European Medicines Agency (EMA) over its handling of safety issues concerning human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines.

In the complaint, which runs to 19 pages, the Nordic group says that the official EMA report is flawed.

  • Complaint to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) over maladministration at the EM, Nordic Cochrane Centre, 26 May 2016.
  • Complaint Filed Over EMA’s Handling of HPV Vaccine Safety Issues, Medscape Medical News, July 05, 2016.

Gene activity and function in the human brain: how enhancers are linked to autism

Brain study reveals insights into genetic basis of autism

This study is the first to investigate how the activity of enhancers and genes are coordinated in the human brain, and the first to show that brain enhancers are linked to autism. Color and Shapes image by Brian Talbot.

2015 Study Abstract

Despite major progress in identifying enhancer regions on a genome-wide scale, the majority of available data are limited to model organisms and human transformed cell lines.

We have identified a robust set of enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) expressed in the human brain and constructed networks assessing eRNA-gene coexpression interactions across human fetal brain and multiple adult brain regions.

Our data identify brain region–specific eRNAs and show that enhancer regions expressing eRNAs are enriched for genetic variants associated with autism spectrum disorders.

Sources and more information
  • Coexpression networks identify brain region–specific enhancer RNAs in the human brain, Nature Neuroscience, doi:10.1038/nn.4063, 13 July 2015.
  • Brain study reveals insights into genetic basis of autism,
    MedicalXpress, July 13, 2015.

Periconceptional and early fetal exposures to Endocrine Disruptors

EDCs: effects and mechanisms of action from conception to maturity

Dr Shanna H. Swan, Vice-Chair of the Department of Research of Preventive Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medecine (USA) presentation on “Periconceptional and early fetal exposures to Endocrine Disruptors (EDCs)” during the roundtable on “EDCs: Effects and mechanisms of action from conception to maturity” on April 10th, 2012 organised by Women in Europe for a Common Future.

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UKCTOCS new screening technique might pick up twice as many women with ovarian cancer

Risk Algorithm Using Serial Biomarker Measurements for Ovarian Cancer Screening

The aim of the trial is to see if either of these tests can help doctors diagnose women with ovarian cancer when their cancer is at an early stage. If the tests work well enough it could mean that women with ovarian cancer may be diagnosed earlier, and their cancer treated more effectively. UKCTOCS team image.

2015 Study Abstract

Cancer screening strategies have commonly adopted single-biomarker thresholds to identify abnormality. We investigated the impact of serial biomarker change interpreted through a risk algorithm on cancer detection rates.

Patients and Methods
In the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening (UKCTOCS), 46,237 women, age 50 years or older underwent incidence screening by using the multimodal strategy (MMS) in which annual serum cancer antigen 125 (CA-125) was interpreted with the risk of ovarian cancer algorithm (ROCA). Women were triaged by the ROCA: normal risk, returned to annual screening; intermediate risk, repeat CA-125; and elevated risk, repeat CA-125 and transvaginal ultrasound. Women with persistently increased risk were clinically evaluated. All participants were followed through national cancer and/or death registries. Performance characteristics of a single-threshold rule and the ROCA were compared by using receiver operating characteristic curves.

After 296,911 women-years of annual incidence screening, 640 women underwent surgery. Of those, 133 had primary invasive epithelial ovarian or tubal cancers (iEOCs). In all, 22 interval iEOCs occurred within 1 year of screening, of which one was detected by ROCA but was managed conservatively after clinical assessment. The sensitivity and specificity of MMS for detection of iEOCs were 85.8% (95% CI, 79.3% to 90.9%) and 99.8% (95% CI, 99.8% to 99.8%), respectively, with 4.8 surgeries per iEOC. ROCA alone detected 87.1% (135 of 155) of the iEOCs. Using fixed CA-125 cutoffs at the last annual screen of more than 35, more than 30, and more than 22 U/mL would have identified 41.3% (64 of 155), 48.4% (75 of 155), and 66.5% (103 of 155), respectively. The area under the curve for ROCA (0.915) was significantly (P = .0027) higher than that for a single-threshold rule (0.869).

Screening by using ROCA doubled the number of screen-detected iEOCs compared with a fixed cutoff. In the context of cancer screening, reliance on predefined single-threshold rules may result in biomarkers of value being discarded.

Sources and more information
  • U.K. Familial Ovarian Cancer Screening Study (UK FOCSS), Phase 2 Patient Information Sheet, Version 9, August 09.
  • Risk Algorithm Using Serial Biomarker Measurements Doubles the Number of Screen-Detected Cancers Compared With a Single-Threshold Rule in the United Kingdom Collaborative Trial of Ovarian Cancer Screening, Journal of Clinical Oncology, doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.59.4945, June 20, 2015.
  • New screening technique could pick up twice as many women with ovarian cancer, eveappeal, UKCTOCS screening results.

A doctor fighting cancer, one drawing at a time

Follow Jane from the beginning of her cancer, to her diagnosis, and through her treatment

cancer-ninja cartoon image
Follow Jane from the beginning of her cancer, to her diagnosis, and through her treatment.

Andrew Howard is a radiation oncologist on faculty at the University of Chicago and at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Andrew does drawings about cancer, what he imagines is like to be a cancer patient, and what in reality is like to be a physician who treats cancer. Andrew hopes that what you learn via his Cancer Ninja blog will help you become a better cancer fighter!

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Hormonal contributions to sexually dimorphic behavioral development in humans

DES-exposed male subjects appeared to be feminized and/or demasculinized

image of dancing-statues
This 1991 study confirms that DES-exposed male subjects appeared to be feminized and/or demasculinized, and there is some evidence that exposed female subjects were masculinized. Dancing statues image by Dixie Lawrence.

1991 Study Abstract

Nineteen studies on the behavioral effects of prenatal exposure to hormones administered for the treatment of at-risk human pregnancy are reviewed. Because the role of prenatal exposure to hormones in the development of human behavioral sex differences is potentially confounded by society’s differential treatment of the sexes, comparisons between exposed and unexposed subjects were evaluated and summarized separately for male and female subjects.

Therefore, this review focuses on data for individuals whose prenatal hormone environments were atypical relative to what is normal for their own sex. Overall, it appears that prenatal exposure to androgen-based synthetic progestin exerted a masculinizing and/or defeminizing influence on human behavioral development, whereas prenatal exposure to natural progesterone and progesterone-based synthetic progestin had a feminizing and/or demasculinizing influence, particularly among female subjects.

The data on prenatal exposure to synthetic estrogen derive primarily from subjects exposed to diethylstibestrol (DES). DES-exposed male subjects appeared to be feminized and/or demasculinized, and there is some evidence that exposed female subjects were masculinized. These findings are discussed in the context of prenatal hormonal contributions to sexually dimorphic behavioral development both within and between the sexes. Recommendations for the conduct of future research in developmental behavioral endocrinology are presented.

Sources and more information
  • Hormonal contributions to sexually dimorphic behavioral development in humans, Reinisch JM1, Ziemba-Davis M, Sanders SA, Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1991;16(1-3):213-78., NCBI PMID: 1961841, 1991.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Better value in the NHS: the role of changes in clinical practice

One in seven treatments not necessary, warns NHS chief

better-value-for-the-nhs infographic
The King’s Fund 2015 report – In a time of severe financial constraint, the NHS is being asked to make productivity savings of £22 billion by 2020/21. However, rather than looking at efficiency and costs, the NHS should be focusing on getting better value from its budget. A call on doctors, nurses and other NHS staff to engage in a new mission to deliver better outcomes at lower costs.

The report looks at trends in NHS productivity in three areas – generic prescribing, length of stay and day case surgery – in which the NHS has made significant and sustained gains in productivity over a number of years, allowing more (and often better) care to be delivered within the same budget. It then outlines a number of areas where the NHS has opportunities to improve value in the future, focusing in particular on changes in clinical practice.
The opportunities identified are:

  • tackling inappropriate care – overuse, underuse and misuse
  • identifying and removing unwarranted variations in clinical practice
  • using evidence of to find better ways of delivering care and support services for specific patient groups – such as people with long-term conditions, older people living with frailty and complex needs and people at the end of their lives.

With the NHS facing a huge financial challenge over the next few years, the report argues that action is needed at all levels of the system focused on improving value for every pound spent in the NHS.

Sources and more information

Too much Medicine: a play with models

In medicine, more is not always better…

Video from Dr Per Aspenberg, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, about how building models and getting stuck on them – rather than reality – can contribute to inappropriate treatment or “too much medicine“.

More info and videos
  • I’m constantly working on this list of factors that contribute to inappropriate healthcare – and the things that can save us from it. I usually expand on each of these in my talks with examples and references. If you have any suggestions for changes or additions, or would like to use this graphic in any way, please let me know via emailDr. Jessica Otte
  • Watch more research videos on our YouTube channel.