Menorrhagia and clotting disorders
I was surprised by this piece of research which looked at clotting abnormalities in women with menorrhagia (heavy periods). They were using a quick checkbox assessment which asked questions about the length of periods, flooding, a history of anaemia etc.. and they added in a ferritin which measures iron reserves. This produced a population of women that were then tested for clotting abnormalities. If you had asked me to guess what percentage of these women would have a bleeding disorder I would have guessed 10-20% with the most common abnormality being von Willebrands disease. I was very surprised to see that 71% had one or more abnormalities and that 55% of those had platelet abnormalities with von Willebrands trailing in at 5%. Now that platelet testing is far easier to carry out perhaps it should be more widely adopted by gynaecologists, after all the last thing you want is a patient on the operating table with an undiagnosed bleeding disorder.
Thyroid screening may be worthwhile
An paper here suggests that about 1% of old people may have an underactive thyroid that remains undiagnosed. While this may not seem a lot it does mean that 100,000 people are suffering tiredness and weight gain when a cheap blood test and cheap drugs could improve their lives. The authors suggest that a screening programme would be worthwhile.
Histamine protects against cancer
The role of histamine in allergies has been well studied, but research here suggests it may also have an important role protecting the body against cancer. Mice that do not have the enzyme needed to make histamine are susceptible to colon and skin cancers.
Bisphenol and PCOS
Bisphenol A is rapidly emerging as a possible bad boy (Wikilink). Researchers have now linked it to PCO (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) here. Most governments seem to be adopting a “move along, nothing to see here” approach, but as with many food scares, especially where cancer and babies are involved, I suspect that this one has a way to run yet.
Lab on a chip
There has been much talk of hand held laboratories in the past but researchers at the University of Rhode Island here claim to be on the verge of bringing the concept to an iPhone near you. Drop a spot of blood onto the device above which in turn is slotted into a device connected to your phone and minutes later results pour out, as long as you only need a C-reactive protein at the moment. A neat concept but it is a one trick pony at the moment and that trick can only be used for a limited number tests.
Cholesterol's impact on Breast Cancer
Research on mice here has shown that cholesterol is needed by the tumours causing breast cancer. The research found that in periods of tumour growth blood levels of cholesterol dropped and that with higher levels of cholesterol the tumours were more aggressive. Whether breast cancer treatment would improve with the use of statins to lower cholesterol has yet to be established.
Ectopic Pregnancy and Chlamydia
The role of Chlamydia in PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease) that can lead to infertility in women is well established. New research here is now suggesting that the risk of an ectopic pregnancy (Implantation of the embryo outside the uterus) is also increased by Chlamydia infections. This can only add weight to the argument that young people should be regularly tested to prevent complications later in life.