KHN Morning Briefing

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Flushing Fallopian Tubes With Poppyseed Oil May Help Infertile Women Conceive

A small study shows a "clear" difference between oil-based and water-based solutions. In other public health news: breast cancer survival rates, pelvic exams, cancer treatments, internet addiction and gun safety.

Stat: Can Poppyseed Oil Help Infertile Couples Conceive?
Here’s something you don’t see in the New England Journal of Medicine every day: Flushing fallopian tubes with a poppyseed oil-based solution may help a woman to conceive — and one of the key researchers of the paper thinks he’s likely living proof of the technique’s efficacy. For decades, doctors have noticed that some couples who had previously been struggling to conceive became pregnant shortly after an imaging study of the woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes. Now, a randomized study strongly suggests a particular chemical used in that procedure may be to thank. (Sheridan, 5/18)

The Washington Post: Women With Advanced Breast Cancer Are Surviving Longer, Study Says
The number of women living with advanced breast cancer is rising substantially in the United States, reflecting improved survival among all ages, according to a study published Thursday. The study found that between 1992 and 1994, and 2005 and 2012, the five-year survival rate among women under age 50 initially diagnosed with advanced disease doubled from 18 percent to 36 percent. The median survival time for that group increased from 22.3 months to almost 39 months. For women ages 50 to 64, the survival time grew from a little more than 19 months to almost 30 months. (McGinley, 5/18)

NPR: Women Skip Pelvic Exams When Told They Have Little Health Benefit
This is a story about conflicting medical advice. One group of doctors, represented by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, recommends yearly pelvic exams for all women 21 years of age and older, whether they have symptoms of disease or not. But the American College of Physicians, representing doctors of internal medicine, says that potential harms of the exam outweigh benefits and recommends against performing pelvic examinations unless a woman is pregnant or has symptoms of disease such as bleeding, pain or signs of infection. (Neighmond, 5/18)

KCUR: MU Researcher Explores Cancer Treatments Inspired By Traditional Indian Medicine 
In some ways, the consultation isn’t that different from a regular doctor’s checkup. [Sarah] Kucera asks about the patient’s health history, diet and exercise regimen while typing notes on a laptop. But there are differences. The Ayurvedic remedies that Kucera prescribes are mostly plant-based – things like herbs and oils which are thought to be beneficial to various parts of the body. Ayurveda isn’t typically used to treat critical illness or injury. Kucera explains that it focuses more on prevention and wellness. (Smith, 5/18)

NPR: Is Internet Addiction A Thing?
When her youngest daughter, Naomi, was in middle school, Ellen watched the teen disappear behind a screen. Her once bubbly daughter went from hanging out with a few close friends after school to isolating herself in her room for hours at a time. (NPR has agreed to use only the pair's middle names, to protect the teen's medical privacy.) "She started just lying there, not moving and just being on the phone," says Ellen. "I was at a loss about what to do." (McClurg, 5/18)

Los Angeles Times: When States Have Strong Guns Laws, They Also Have Fewer Fatal Police Shootings
Fatal shootings of civilians by police officers are less common in states with stricter gun laws than they are in states that take a more relaxed approach to regulating the sale, storage and use of firearms, new research says. A study published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health has found that fatal police shootings were about half as common in states whose gun laws place them in the top 25% of stringency than they were in states where such restrictions ranked in the bottom 25%. (Healy, 5/18)

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