COMMENTARY

December 2004: The Year in Review -- Ob/Gyn & Women's Health

Ursula Snyder, PhD

Disclosures

January 24, 2005

Introduction

In 2004, the National Women's Law Center and the Oregon Health & Science University released a report finding that not a single US state currently meets basic federal goals for women's health set by the US Department of Health and Human Services' Healthy People 2010 agenda. Moreover, the nation as a whole fails except in 2 areas -- mammograms and dental check-ups.[1]

This review focuses on the United States for the most part, but much of the research that is so very briefly highlighted extends well beyond the United States, and much of it has been conducted in other countries. Some of my board members and I chose what we considered to be among the key issues in 2004 in each of obstetrics/maternal fetal medicine, gynecology, reproductive endocrinology, and women's health. You can take a look at the left sidebar for a table of contents.

Let me mention briefly the major omissions. Notably, this review does not cover osteoporosis. I refer readers to a conference report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research by the well-known osteoporosis expert, Ego Seeman, MD. In addition, take a look at 2 recent CME Circle programs hosted by Medscape this past year that provide some useful discussion about the clinical issues of determining whom to treat, when, and for how long, as well as monitoring and compliance. The first one is Monitoring Antiresorptive Therapies: Assessing the Way We Evaluate Clinical Efficacy and the second is Optimizing Treatment of Osteoporosis: Evolutions and Solutions. I have also not covered diabetes or heart disease directly in any detail; I refer readers to the Medscape Diabetes & Endocrinology and Medscape Cardiology sites for thorough information on these topics. Suffice it to say that I have dealt with these briefly in the context of obesity and their common etiology as rooted in social determinants, as well as in the context of polycystic ovary syndrome, and preeclampsia. I do not cover nutrition and exercise in this review. We have posted many articles and CME programs relating to these important topics, and interested readers should use our search engine to find them. Although I cover breast and gynecologic cancer, readers should visit Medscape Hematology-Oncology for additional and thorough information.

This review is not a particularly graceful document and is not necessarily meant to be read all at once. There are many hyperlinks to related articles, and the reference list is extensive. What I hope is that readers will be encouraged to explore.

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