Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Marketing and politicizing menopause

This undated handout photo shows an advertisement for the new line of Poise products from Kimberly-Clark. The new line, which targets 50 million American women who are or will soon go through menopause includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor and cooling towelettes and roll-on gel to treat hot flashes. (AP Photo/Kimberly-Clark)

Advertising and marketing folks with questionable ethics are geniuses at figuring out how to play on our insecurities!
Somehow I got through menopause rather seamlessly without annoying hot flashes. I do wonder what I would have done if I had to deal with menopausal symptoms that interfered with daily activities. What would I have tried or resorted to?

As noted below, menopause (a natural condition) has most likely been medicalized. This is resulting in over treatment and incorrect treatments.  Recently I posted on a similar topic,Resist the urge to label everything a disease. How one views menopause will effect how it is “treated”!

As an aside, it has been almost 40 years since Our Bodies, Ourselves*** was first published. I remember reading it (at age 16 or so). It was downright scary in my mind, women taking charge of their bodies, health, and more. Will never forget one of the images…with the speculum I am strong!
And here we are with marketers and others still trying their best to “take care” of us, addressing symptoms but not fostering empowerment. Yikes!

From the 12 July 2012 post at

The Associated Press reported this week on the marketing of a new line of menopause products – “a line of products that target 50 million American women who are or will soon go through menopause. Priced between $3.99 and $7.99, the line includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor and cooling towelettes and roll-on gel for women having hot flashes.” Excerpt:

Feminine washes are usually not recommended by many doctors, says Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, a gynecologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. And products that mask vaginal odor could cause people to not treat what is causing that symptom in the first place, she added.

“The idea of covering it up with a freshener is an inappropriate approach,” Streicher said. “I’m thrilled people are paying attention, but I don’t want to see people taken advantage of.”

And USA Today reports:

But do we really need more products that suggest women, basically, stink? The new “daily freshness” products — like all the sprays, douches and fresheners before them — might actually be harmful, doctors say…

Also this week, Liz Scherer, on her Flashfree: Not Your Mama’s Menopause blog, wrote, “Politicizing Menopause.”   Read the entire post for yourself.  But I wanted to grab two excerpts:

  • “Is it at all possible that menopause has been overpoliticized, medicalized and poorly characterized, a “phenomenon not so much hijacked by medicine as gradually occupied, [with] authorities throughout the ages grimly trying and failing to define their subject?” “
  • “We’re drowning in politics, medicine and industry. And it’s difficult to discern truth from fiction, data from data, risk from benefit”



July 17, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Better medicine, brought to you by big data through new types of data analysis


A good overview of how improved data analysis and presentation is improving health care delivery.

I especially liked the slideshare presentation found below in Related Articles.
The 42 slides in Big data – a brief overview outlines what big data is, its sources and processes, how it is analyzed, current “players”,examples, market analysis, future, and opportunities.

From the 15 July 2012 blog post at Gigaom

Slowly but surely, health care is becoming a killer app for big data. Whether it’s Hadoop, machine learning, natural-language processing or some other technique, folks in the worlds of medicine and hospital administration understand that new types of data analysis are the key to helping them take their fields to the next level.

Here are some of the interesting use cases we’ve written about over the past year or so, and a few others I’ve just come across recently. If you have a cool one — or a suggestion for a new use of big data within the healthcare space — share it in the comments:

Genomics. This is the epitomic case for big data and health care. Genome sequencing isgetting cheaper by the day and produces mountains of data. Companies such asDNAnexusBina TechnologiesAppistry and NextBio want to make analyzing that data to discover cures for diseases faster, easier and cheaper than ever using lots cutting-edge algorithms and lots of cloud computing cores.
BI[definition of business intelligence] for doctors. Doctors and staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital are using Tableau to analyze and visualize terabytes of data dispersed across the institution’s servers and databases. Not only does visualizing the data help reduce medical errors and help the hospital plan trials but, as of this time last year, its focus on data had saved the hospital $3 million on supply chain costs….
..Semantic search. Imagine you’re a doctor trying to learn about a new patient or figure out who among your patients might benenfit from a new technique. But patient records have been scattered throughout departments, vary in format and, perhaps worst of all, all use the ontologies of the department that created the record. A startup called Apixio is trying to fix this by centralizing records in the cloud and applying semantic analysis to uncover everything doctors need, regardless who wrote it…
..Getting ahead of disease. It’s always good if you figure out how to diagnose diseases early without expensive tests, and that’s just what Seton Healthcare was able to dothanks to its big data efforts…
and more!

July 17, 2012 Posted by | health care, Medical and Health Research News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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