KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Study Links Flu Vaccine And Miscarriages, But Scientists Warn Research Is Preliminary

Experts say the study is too weak to change the advice for who gets flu shots but stress that it's something important to know. “I think it’s really important for women to understand that this is a possible link," says the CDC's Amanda Cohn. In other women's health news: telemedicine and pregnancy, cervical cancer screenings, hormone therapy and breast-feeding.

The Washington Post: Researchers Find Hint Of A Link Between Flu Vaccine And Miscarriage
Researchers studying the impact of the flu vaccine in pregnancy have found a possible link between miscarriage early in pregnancy in women who received the flu vaccine two years in a row. It’s the first study to identify a potential link between miscarriage and the flu vaccine and the first to assess the effect of repeat influenza vaccination and risk of miscarriage. The findings suggest an association, not a causal link, and the research is too weak and preliminary, experts said, to change the advice that pregnant women should get a flu vaccine to protect them from influenza, a deadly disease that can cause serious birth defects. But the study is likely to raise questions about the safety of the vaccine as flu season gets underway. (Sun, 9/13)

The Wall Street Journal: Telemedicine Helps Pregnant Women At Risk
Britney Stewart was nervous at first when her obstetrician told her she’d like her to see a specialist in high-risk pregnancies. “Once I know a doctor I like to stick with that doctor,” says the 27-year-old, whose high blood pressure and weight issues put her and her unborn baby at risk. Now she says those appointments—conducted by video link with the specialist, Anne Patterson in Atlanta, a two-hour drive away—saved her baby’s life. (McKay, 9/12)

NPR: Women May Be Able To Choose How To Get Screened For Cervical Cancer
Women ages 30 to 65 may decide how often they want to get screened for cervical cancer depending on the test they choose, according new draft recommendations for cervical cancer screening from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Testing every three years requires a Pap smear, and testing every five years requires a test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus that causes nearly all cervical cancers. (Haelle, 9/12)

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