Penn Medicine News Blog Archive: OB/GYN

Beating Cancer Cells at Their Own Game

By Karen Kreeger | November 9, 2016 | Comments Cartwheel Ben Aston Flickr Creative Commons

Most cells do metabolic somersaults to survive under stressful a condition – which is to say, they enlist the most expedient biochemical pathways to produce essential molecules in order to survive. By comparison, cancer cells perform high-wire cartwheels to recruit alternative pathways to thwart cancer drugs. As cancer cells do... Read more

Mysteries and Controversies of the Placenta

By Karen Kreeger | July 29, 2016 | Comments Pregnancy bump with heart John Hope

For an organ the female body makes and then sheds all within less than a year, the placenta has long held a place of reverence in human culture. But for scientists, the placenta still holds some mysteries and now some scholarly controversy. The organ, which supplies a developing baby oxygen... Read more

The Dickens Tradition

By John Shea | May 6, 2016 | Comments Helen Dickens

Helen O. Dickens, left, in 1975 Trailblazer. Heroine. Exemplar. These are just some of the descriptive names that can be applied to Helen O. Dickens, MD, who joined Penn’s department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1956 and was the first female black board-certified OB/GYN practitioner in Philadelphia. Among her other... Read more

Pregnancy and Heart Disease – Expanding the SCOPE of our Understanding

By Katie Delach | February 29, 2016 | Comments Preeclampsia

Today marks the last day of Heart Month, an annual campaign raising awareness about cardiovascular disease, a condition including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure that is responsible for one out of every three deaths, and is the leading cause of death in both men and women. In all... Read more

Is Bowel Leakage the New Erectile Dysfunction?

By Katie Delach | February 8, 2016 | Comments ABL blog post_image

Millions of men in America suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED), but until a decade or so ago, talking about ED was about as taboo as religion and politics at the dinner table. Then, along came those commercials we’ve all come to know so well. You know the ones I’m talking... Read more

The Placenta: Our Least Understood Organ

By Katie Delach | January 11, 2016 | Comments image from

The placenta, commonly referred to as the afterbirth, is a disc of tissue that connects a mother’s uterus to the umbilical cord, and is ultimately responsible for delivering nutrients and oxygen to a fetus. It plays a critical role in fetal development and yet, researchers know very little about how... Read more

Shedding More Light on Postpartum Depression

By Olivia Fermano | January 4, 2016 | Comments Ppd

Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow suffered from it. “Friends” and “Cougar Town” star Courteney Cox did too. Brook Shields and Marie Osmond both penned memoirs about their experiences with it. “Nashville” star Hayden Panettiere openly admitted seeking treatment for it in real time in the hopes of helping other sufferers. Just as... Read more

Does Your Infant Have a Safe Sleep Environment?

By Sally Sapega | December 18, 2015 | Comments SIDS pic

Each year, approximately 4,500 infants in this country die in their sleep, from SIDS (sudden infant deaths) or other sleep-related causes. Although some of these deaths can’t be explained, studies have shown that in nearly 90 percent of these cases, the infant was in an unsafe sleep environment, which led... Read more

Providing PEACE of Mind

By Katie Delach | December 11, 2015 | Comments Wbaby_smaller

Bleeding and cramping early in pregnancy are common symptoms, which can in some cases signal a serious problem, such as an ectopic pregnancy or the beginning of a miscarriage, a common complication despite often being treated as taboo. In fact, according to the March of Dimes, miscarriage during the first... Read more

Penn’s Tiniest Patients Celebrate Halloween in the Intensive Care Nursery (photos)

By Greg Richter | November 2, 2015 | Comments

On Friday, nurses, family, and friends celebrated Halloween a day early in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Intensive Care Nursery (ICN). Although many of these babies were born with very low birth weight or health problems and need special attention before they can go home, their parents and... Read more

Looking to Ancient Symbionts for New Cancer Therapies

By Karen Kreeger | October 26, 2015 | Comments Mitochondria Courtesy NICHD

Talk about a eureka moment: Andrea Facciabene, PhD, a research assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, was taking a walk one day on the Penn campus when it hit him: What do we really need to make immunotherapy a reality for everybody? The answer, he thought, was in the mitochondria,... Read more

Keeping Our Most Vulnerable Patients Safe

By Sally Sapega | October 7, 2015 | Comments Amber alert photo

Infant abduction from a hospital is not a common event but when it happens, the results can be devastating. Most often, news reports highlight stories of babies taken by non-custodial family members, or by women or couples who are desperate to have a baby. In the last 20 years, only... Read more

Exercise: It does a pregnant body good!

By Olivia Fermano | August 18, 2015 | Comments Pregnant-woman-exercising_2

The Internet – particularly social media – is cyber proof of the truth behind the phrase, “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” It’s all about shaming and more often than not, women are the victims of said shaming. It doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re a celebrity... Read more

Empowerment and Self-Esteem

By Sally Sapega | August 14, 2015 | Comments Joy Cooper CAREs cropped

Black females in this country are twice as likely to become pregnant in their teens as their white counterparts and they have a higher rate of sexually transmitted infections -- seven times the rate of chlamydia as white women nationally. And the rates in Philadelphia are equally grim, if not... Read more

A Very Special Tea for Two

By Olivia Fermano | May 27, 2015 | Comments 5 Preston Tea_1

You can change someone’s world with one simple act of kindness. Earlier this month Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH) maternity nurse, Lynne Dever, RNC, was going about her work day when she noticed her patient – Alison Paymer of Philadelphia – was in great distress. Other than being pregnant with twins, Paymer’s... Read more

Individual Stories, Global Impact

By Olivia Fermano | May 7, 2015 | Comments HWHC_1

If there is a prominent reason for a woman to be grateful she lives in the 21st century, it’s health care. Over a dozen speakers – scholars from the humanities and health care professionals – gathered at Pennsylvania Hospital last week to help illustrate this fact at the 10th Annual... Read more

Removing Barriers to Breast Cancer Care

By Olivia Fermano | February 13, 2015 | Comments image from

I overheard a breast cancer patient once say: There is only one thing worse than having cancer – not being able to afford it. Sobering. Financial cost remains a barrier to cancer screenings - let alone cancer treatment - among lower income women. While multiple factors contribute to racial and... Read more

The Best Way to a Woman’s Heart

By Sally Sapega | February 9, 2015 | Comments image from

Chileshe Nkonde-Price (third from left) with members of Penn Medicine's cardiovascular team on "Go Red" Friday. Most women fear breast cancer more than heart disease but, in fact, cardiovascular disease is the more deadly. Indeed, more women die from a cardiac condition than all cancers combined. “More men are diagnosed... Read more

The New Nightingale

By Olivia Fermano | January 8, 2015 | Comments Deb Ferrarello_1

The image of the nurse is synonymous with hospitals and doctors’ offices. But in 2015, that sure is one old school point of view. Today’s nurses defy old stereotypes. Both male and female, many earn multiple advanced degrees, working out of uniform and beyond the bedside to all areas of... Read more

50 Years of Miracles on 34th Street

By Katie Delach | December 26, 2014 | Comments image from

This year, Penn Fertility Care (PFC) celebrated its 50th anniversary, and as part of that, we’re reflecting on how the program has grown and how our Penn fertility experts have helped couples create and grow their families for decades. Penn's team of reproductive endocrinologists helped pioneer the development of new... Read more

Subscribe to Penn Medicine News Blog by Email




About This Blog