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World Health Organization Technical Report Series. 1981; (670):1-120.This report includes the collective views of a World Health Organization (WHO) Scientific Group on Research on the Menopause that met in Geneva during December 1980. It includes information on the following: 1) the endocrinology of the menopause and the postmenopausal period (changes in gonadotropins and estrogens immediately prior to the menopause and changes in gonadotropin and steroid hormone levels after the menopause); 2) the age distribution of the menopause (determining the age at menopause, factors influencing the age at menopause, and the range of ages at menopause and the definition of premature and delayed menopause); 3) sociocultural significance of the menopause in different settings; 4) symptoms associated with the menopause (vasomotor symptoms, psychological symptoms, disturbances of sexuality, and insomnia); 5) disorders resulting from, or possibly accelerated by, the menopause (osteoporosis, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and arthritic disorders); 6) risks, with particular reference to neoplasia, of therapeutic estrogens and progestins given to peri- and postmenopausal women (endometrial cancer, breast cancer, and gallbladder disease); 7) fertility regulating methods for women approaching the menopause (fertility and the need for family planning in women approaching the menopause, problems of family planning in perimenopausal women, and considerations with regard to individual methods of family planning in women approaching the menopause); and 8) estrogen and the health care management of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. At this time some controversy exists as to whether there is a menopausal syndrome of somatic and psychological symptoms and illness. There are virtually no data on the age distribution of the menopause and no information on its sociocultural significance in the developing countries. The subject of risks and benefits of estrogen therapy in peri- and postmenopausal women is of much importance in view of the large number of prescriptions issued for this medication in developed countries, which indicates their frequrnt use, and the different interpretations and opinions among epidemiologists and clinicians on both past and current studies on this subject. Specific recommendations made by the Scientific Group appear at the end of each section of the report. The following were among the general recommendations made: WHO sponsored research should be undertaken to determine the impact on health service needs of the rapidly increasing numbers of postmenopausal women in developing countries; uniform terminology should be adopted by health care workers with regard to the menopause; uniform endocrine standards should be developed which can be applied to the description of peri- and postmenopausal conditions and diseases; and descriptive epidemiological studies of the age at menopause should be performed in a variety of settings.
Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 2000 Aug; 36(4):799-809.Drinking of arsenic-contaminated tubewell water has become a serious health threat in Bangladesh. Arsenic contaminated tubewells are believed to be responsible for poisoning nearly two-thirds of this country's population. If proper actions are not taken immediately, many people in Bangladesh will die from arsenic poisoning in just a few years. Causes and consequences of arsenic poisoning, the extent of area affected by it, and local knowledge and beliefs about the arsenic problem - including solutions and international responses to the problem - are analyzed. Although no one knows precisely how the arsenic is released into the ground water, several contradictory theories exist to account for its release. Initial symptoms of the poisoning consist of a dryness and throat constriction, difficulty in swallowing, and acute epigastric pain. Long-term exposure leads to skin, lung, or bladder cancer. Both government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh, foreign governments, and international agencies are now involved in mitigating the effects of the arsenic poisoning, as well as developing cost-effective remedial measures that are affordable by the rural people. (author's)
Lancet. 2006 Aug 19; 368(9536):629-630.The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) was founded by a Resolution of the World Health Assembly in September, 1965. At that time, although data were sparse, cancer was widely considered to be a disease of developed high-resource countries. Now, the situation has changed dramatically with the majority of the global cancer burden found in low-resource and medium-resource countries. It is estimated that in 2000 almost 11 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed worldwide, 7 million people died from cancer, and 25 million persons were alive with cancer. The continued growth and ageing of the world's population will greatly affect the future cancer burden. By 2030, it could be expected that there will be 27 million incident cases of cancer, 17 million cancer deaths annually, and 75 million persons alive with cancer. The greatest effect of this increase will fall on low-resource and mediumresource countries where, in 2001, almost half of the disease burden was from non-communicable disease. (excerpt)