As the editors of the prestigious medical journal anticipated, the newly published Canadian study is causing a stir.
The paper, which appears in JAMA Pediatrics links higher fluoride consumption by pregnant women with lower intelligence scores in their offspring. The findings represent the latest foray by researchers into fluoride safety, an emotionally fraught topic in both the U.S. and Canada.
The authors of the paper studied fluoride exposure for 512 mother-child pairs, about 40% of whom lived in fluoridated communities across six Canadian cities. They calculated fluoride levels in local water supplies and fluoride concentrations in the pregnant women’s’ urine.
In a report late last year, the Commonwealth Fund included two statistics about women’s health that were particularly startling.
In that report, “U.S. Women More Likely to Die in Pregnancy and Childbirth and Skip Care Because of Cost, Multi-Nation Survey Finds; C-Section Rates Rank Among Highest, the authors wrote that first, as many journalists have reported (such as Alison Young for USA Today and Nina Martin for ProPublica and Julia Belluz for Vox), pregnancy and childbirth are more dangerous for women in the United States than they are for women in other high-income nations. Continue reading
There is a shortage of state and national data on the subject, but studies suggest that women face unique barriers in obtaining dental services during pregnancy, according to a new issue brief from the nonprofit Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP).
Experts agreed that “preventive, diagnostic, and restorative dental treatment is safe throughout pregnancy and is effective in improving and maintaining oral health.” Continue reading
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a bombshell alcohol recommendation to women on Feb. 2 that led to an explosion of responses. I was among those who commented on the fray, and I primarily addressed how the evidence itself about alcohol and pregnancy was obscured by the resulting backlash.
I also mentioned that I had previously interpreted the evidence differently over several years of covering periodic studies about light drinking and pregnancy. I didn’t go into a great deal of detail, however, on how I made that switch, and I thought that process might be instructive for other health journalists covering such controversial issues in which the science can be confusing. Writing about risk, in particular, can be incredibly thorny. Continue reading
Photo: CDCAedes aegypti
We’ve gathered some of the best, most science-based resources to help reporters who are covering Zika or may find themselves covering the emerging disease as the seasons change.
The NLM Outreach and Specific Populations Branch sent out this extensive list of resources from a wide range of U.S. and international health organizations. It includes information for special populations, epidemiology, detection and diagnosis, travel and does include some information in Spanish. Continue reading
Olga Khazan, a health writer for The Atlantic, often tackles health subjects bisecting traditional health and the impact on people’s lives. That can range from the heavy weight of medical bills to struggling home visit programs for poorer mothers. Earlier this year she looked at the impact of taking drugs – from meth to painkillers, on pregnant women in various states.
The story, “Into the Body of Another,” examined the jail terms some mothers received for taking various substances while pregnant despite the varying – and in some cases unknown – impact on their unborn children. Continue reading