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Weekly News Round-Up, Inside Until September Edition

June 20, 2010

It’s going to be almost 100 degrees here tomorrow; I may melt. If I didn’t have to work, I’d only go outside long enough to make a trip to Las Paletas. In the meantime, the CDC has some tips for preventing heat-related illness.

Pinched Nerves has a great guest post, Gay teen blogger/book reviewer takes librarians to task over LGBT lit.

The Tennessean (Nashville newspaper) has today – Nashville police drop thousands of domestic violence cases – reporting on findings of an investigation into this bit of data: “in 2005, police cleared 211 cases without making an arrest. One year later, the number jumped to 3,866, and by 2009, it was 5,600.” It examines whether officers appropriately followed up on abuse cases and whether they may have inappropriately claimed victims refused to cooperate and used that as an excuse to close cases. Worth a read, and troubling at best. To avoid clicking through eight pages, click on “print this page” – a new window will pop up containing the full text of the article.

The New England Journal of Medicine has a (freely available) perspective piece – Enrolling Pregnant Women in Research — Lessons from the H1N1 Influenza Pandemic – advocating for the inclusion of pregnant women in biomedical research.

Katie’s post describing how she and her son were treated on on occasion when he needed emergency medical help is a reminder to those of us who work in any capacity in a healthcare facility that our forgettable single moment of bad customer service can have a lasting impact on a family’s memory.

Renee points out that the date chosen for the “Helen Keller Mythbusting Blogswarm” is already an observation of the end of slavery in the United States (wrt an announcement in Texas a couple of years *after* the Emancipation Proclamation) – Juneteenth – and this is something I did not notice when I previously linked to info on the HKMB thing, either. Despite being in the U.S., I don’t think I learned about this particular event until sometime in the last couple of years, although I now see that there are local celebrations here in Nashville.

In the New York Times, Drug for Sexual Desire Disorder Opposed by Panel.

From the CDC, Perceived Health Needs and Receipt of Services During Pregnancy — Oklahoma and South Carolina, 2004–2007:

In both states, substantial differences were observed between the percentages of women who perceived needs for services and the percentages of that group who received those services. In Oklahoma and South Carolina, the widest differences were regarding help to reduce violence in the home. Of the 2.9% of women in Oklahoma and 1.7% of women in South Carolina who identified that need during pregnancy, 21.0% and 12.8% reported receiving the service, respectively.

Finally, on the whole Dix Poppas/Cornell/clitoris surgery and stimulation story. For those who would like to read the papers resulting from this research, I found the following citations – they’re from 2007, so I’m not sure why attention has come to it just now, although it is certainly worth attention:

  • Poppas DP, Hochsztein AA, Baergen RN, Loyd E, Chen J, Felsen D. Nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty preserves dorsal nerves in congenital adrenal hyperplasia. J Urol. 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 2):1802-6; discussion 1806. Epub 2007 Aug 17.PMID: 17707008

Technical description of the surgical procedure, “nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty”; retrospective review of 27 cases of patients ages 1.5 months to 18 years 11 months (22 of the 27 were two years or younger). The rationale for the procedures was “masculinization of the female genitalia observed in patients with CAH [Congenital adrenal hyperplasia, that] often results in clitorimegaly.” The article does not discuss what exactly constitutes clitorimegaly, or the ethics of this surgery or the decision-making for what seems to be a cosmetic choice made on behalf of young girls or intersex individuals not for a medical reason. Because let’s be clear – there is no indication in either of the articles below that there was any medical problem with any clitoris – each was simply “masculinized” or too large, whatever that might have been decided to mean by a person who was not the owner of that clitoris.

  • Yang J, Felsen D, Poppas DP. Nerve sparing ventral clitoroplasty: analysis of clitoral sensitivity and viability. J Urol. 2007 Oct;178(4 Pt 2):1598-601. Epub 2007 Aug 16.PMID: 17707043

Describes results in 51 patients undergoing the same procedure. Specifically refers to “genital ambiguity” and includes discussion of the controversy around these procedures as centered on nerve preservation, surgical experience, and long-term function, rather that the ethics of performing genital surgery on young girls in order to resolve a cosmetic “ambiguity” or to control the appearance of intersex individuals. [Before anybody starts in on it, I don’t support routine male circumcision, either]. For research (not patient care) purposes, some patients ages 5 and older were subjected to sensitivity testing including being asked to report sensation as a q-tip was applied to the inner thigh and parts of the genitalia, and application of a vibrating device to the inner thigh, clitoris, labia, and vaginal opening. So not only are the surgeries and the attitudes and ethics accompanying them hugely problematic, but it is not at all apparent that it’s appropriate to “stimulate” the genitalia of young children for the purposes of research, especially without a clear ability to consent or withdraw consent from those patients.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 29, 2010 9:59 am

    Nice blog !

    Our magazine covers soemthing similar in Canada. They are look for new stories and ideas all the time. Anything and everything that is non mainstream and everything that gets people thinking.



  1. At Our Bodies Our Blog: A Medical Ethics Challenge « Women's Health News

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