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Latest Posts

Egg Freezing – Not As Successful As You Might Think

NPR is running a typical media hype story on oocyte preservation (egg freezing), featuring the standard happy family photo with their “miracle” baby born after thawing and fertilizing a cryopreserved egg.

It’s a heartwarming story and a pretty photo, but far from a complete picture of what women need to know about this still experimental fertility preserving procedure. Nowhere does the article tell women the actual success rates of occyte cryo-preservation.

So before you run out to freeze your eggs, know this – the chance of having a pregnancy after egg freezing is less than a 50/50 shot – at most about 39%, according to the latest data.  That’s about the same odds you’d have if you just wait till 40 to try to get pregnant on your own. In addition, while somewhere between 1 and 2 thousand infants have been born using the technology, we do not yet have data on their long term outcomes. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

Should The U.S. Limit The Number Of Embryos Transfered?

Everyone knows about “Octomom” and her octuplets born after in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  That was an extreme case, but multiple births resulting from unregulated artificial reproductive technologies have skyrocketed over the last decade.  The increased rate of twins, triplets and even higher multiples are due to in-vitro treatments and those women and infants are at much higher risk of pregnancy complications, premature birth and long term health problems.

New research,  published in theJournal of Pediatrics, looked at admissions at just one hospital in Montreal, Quebec and found multiple embryo transfers was responsible for a significant proportion of admissions to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).  These infants were born severely preterm.  Six babies died and 5 developed severe intraventricular hemorrhage or bronchopulmonary dysplasia.  The researchers extrapolated their data to the entire country of Canada and said that a universal single-embryo transfer policy would have prevented 840 NICU admissions, 40 deaths and 42,488 days in the NICU.  The cost was $40 million annually. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

The Male Menopause Story: Journalists All Over The Map

An article on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker comments on German media coverage of the “Is there male menopause?” question. An excerpt:

One study, but very different types of headlines: “‘Male Menopause’ discovered” and “Men have no Menopause.” Both types of headlines are based on one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which analyzed 3219 European males between 40 and 79. Blood samples provided testosterone levels and questionnaires (!) asked about the “general, sexual, physical, and psychological health.”

What the scientists found was nothing more and nothing less than a correlation between a low testosterone level and three clinical symptoms (“decreased frequency of morning erection, decreased frequency of sexual thoughts, and erectile dysfunction”). So, one could call it an age-related testosterone deficiency, affecting only a minority (about 2%) of elderly men.

But one shouldn’t name it “andropause” or “male menopause” — and the scientists themselves did NOT use the term in the whole article — because this term immediately suggests a relation to menopause, which is a completely different and natural developmental phenomenon for every woman above the age of 50. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Male Sexuality: Myth Busting With Dr. Jon LaPook

I’d like to welcome Dr. Jon LaPook, medical correspondent for the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, to the Better Health team of bloggers. Jon will be contributing video interviews on engaging consumer health topics on a weekly basis. This first contribution is a video interview with male fertility expert Dr. Harry Fisch, combined with some entertaining “man on the street” discussions in Columbus Circle, NYC. Let me know what you think!

Watch CBS Videos Online

See Dr. LaPook’s home page:

New Online Pregnancy Resource For Women

I wanted to let you know about a wonderful new online resource for pregnancy education here at Revolution Health. I helped to develop the Advanced Answers Pregnancy Center along with a team of experts from Columbia University’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It is a comprehensive, multi-media educational tool to help women (especiallly high risk moms-to-be) learn about their pregnancy and birthing options.

I’m very proud of Dr. Mary D’Alton’s team for their outstanding work on this unique center. Where else on the Internet can you find cutting edge, consumer-friendly pregnancy information written by the top minds in maternal health? I guess you could say that I feel as if I’m the proud new mom of a pregnancy education center!

I also want to tell you about another exciting tool that I helped to build: the momScore. This is the first heatlhcare quality index targeted specifically for women. With the help of an interactive map of the United States, women can compare how their home states stack up against others on women’s health issues. How mom-friendly is your state? View the momScore tool to find out.

Thanks for checking out my two new “babies” – knowledge is power, so go get some!

*Advanced Answers Pregnancy Center*

*The momScore*This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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