Study: Breast-feeding reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, related illnesses
PITTSBURGH The longer women breast-feed, the lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, reported University of Pittsburgh researchers in a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, so it’s vitally important for us to know what we can do to protect ourselves,” stated Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. “We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies’ health; we now know that it is important for mothers’ health as well.”
According to the study, postmenopausal women who breastfed for at least one month had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all known to cause heart disease. Women who had breastfed their babies for more than a year were 10% less likely to have had a heart attack, stroke, or developed heart disease than women who had never breastfed.
Schwarz and colleagues found that the benefits from breastfeeding were long-term ? an average of 35 years had passed since women enrolled in the study had last breastfed an infant.
“The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them,” Schwarz pointed out. “Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants.”
The findings are based on 139,681 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative study of chronic disease, initiated in 1994.
Jennifer Lopez to become spokesperson for whooping cough awareness
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Actress, singer and mother Jennifer Lopez is joining the March of Dimes and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis, to create a national public awareness campaign to educate new parents and their families about pertussis, or whooping cough.
Pertussis is highly contagious and is caused by bacteria that are spread through airborne droplets from the nose and throat. As a result, a cough, sneeze or even talking very close could lead to exposure. The coughing fits can be so violent that infants cannot catch their breath and may turn blue, and it can lead to other serious complications such as pneumonia. In recent years, 90% of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants younger than four months of age.
The campaign, dubbed “Sounds of Pertussis,” focuses on educating new parents and their families about pertussis as it is making a comeback. Between2000-2003 and 2004-2007, there was a 100% increase in reported cases of pertussis. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 800,000 to 3.3 million total adult and adolescent cases of pertussis in any given year.
The campaign’s centerpiece is a series of television and radio public service announcements featuring Lopez that are available in both English and Spanish. The PSAs, scheduled to begin airing nationally this month, encourage new and expectant parents to help protect their babies by making sure that anyone who is, or will be, in close contact with a young infant has been vaccinated against pertussis.
Because Hispanic babies may be at a higher risk for contracting pertussis, and the risk of dying from pertussis may be higher in Hispanic infants than in non-Hispanic infants, the program is being implemented as a bilingual educational initiative.
Mobile application Medzio connects consumers to health information, resources
NEW YORK A.D.A.M., a provider of health information and benefits technology solutions, has introduced a new free mobile health application for the iPhone that is designed to connect consumers, health information and medical resources.
The mobile health application, known as Medzio, is available as a free download at the iPhone App Store.
“We see Medzio as a next generation extension of the resources that people will access in order to better manage their health,” stated Kevin Noland, president and CEO of A.D.A.M. “As the iPhone has changed the way people use mobile devices, Medzio will change the way people will connect to healthcare services. By integrating world-class consumer health information, resources and the power to connect and collaborate with others, Medzio becomes the vital hub that allows mobile consumers to regularly engage in their personal health management and connect and collaborate with others.”
The Medzio Mobile Health Network inaugural partners include Livestrong.com, Healthcare Blue Book, HelloHealth, Health 2.0, OrganizedWisdom, Norton Healthcare, HealthiNation and DrGreene.com. These companies have teamed up with A.D.A.M. to provide information, tools, resources and services.
Medzio features include:
- First aid information
- Interactive health information for users curious about illnesses, symptoms and medical conditions.
- Local care access, which enables users to search for local medical facilities and healthcare provides, including retail clinics and pharmacies.
- Mobile Health Network, which provides users access to healthcare pricing information, specialized medical information and advice, online health communities and local healthcare providers.