Women Surgeons at Greater Risk of Pregnancy Loss, Study Finds


Dr. Eveline Shue had always been a standout surgeon, but her most joyful moment at the hospital came when she could finally share some personal good news with her colleagues: After five cycles of in vitro fertilization, she was pregnant with twins. At 24 weeks of pregnancy, she her husbbegan to make plans for their future family, purchasing car seats picking out names. All the while Dr. Shue kept working 60-hour weeks in the hospital.

At 34 weeks, she realized that the operating room shifts were wearing on her body took a brief leave. Two days later, her mother walked into her home found her unable to speak. Dr. Shue, 39, had suffered pre-eclampsia a stroke. She was rushed to the hospital, got an emergency cesarean section then underwent brain surgery.

Her babies survived, as did Dr. Shue, but it was a wake-up call to her surgery team. “I began to ask myself, What could we as a group have done to prevent this from happening?” said her colleague Dr. Eugene Kim, a professor of surgery pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine.

Last year, Dr. Kim set out with a group of physicians researchers to study the factors contributing to pregnancy complications in American female surgeons. The paper he co-authored, published in JAMA Surgery on Wednesday, showed that female surgeons are more likely to delay pregnancy, use assisted reproductive technology, undergo nonelective C-sections suffer pregnancy loss compared to women who are not surgeons.

The study, which surveyed 692 female surgeons, found that 42 percent had suffered a pregnancy loss, more than twice the rate of the general population, nearly half had experienced major pregnancy complications.

As American medical schools approach gender parity, even the stubbornly male specialties like surgery are starting to more closely resemble the broader population. Women now make up 38 percent of surgical residents 21 percent of practicing surgeons. But the challenges in balancing the professional demands of surgery with the process of starting a family remain deeply entrenched.

Between the stigma associated with pregnancy during surgical training the paltry options for maternity leave, many women delay pregnancy until after their residency, at which point their age makes them more vulnerable to adverse pregnancy outcomes. In medical school, said Brigham Women’s surgeon Dr. Erika Rangel, the running joke among would-be women surgeons was that they would nearly all face “geriatric pregnancies.” The new JAMA Surgery study found that the median age for female surgeons to give birth was 33, compared to a national median of 30 for women with advanced degrees, one-quarter of female surgeons surveyed used assisted reproductive technology like I.V.F. Less than 2 percent of infants born in the U.S. each year are conceived from assisted reproductive technology.

That increased reliance on I.V.F. among female surgeons, the study’s authors noted in interviews, comes at significant financial cost — often more than $12,000 per cycle for up to six cycles. It is also associated with risks like placental dysfunction.

Female surgeons most at risk for pregnancy complications were those who kept operating for 12 or more hours a week through their final trimester, according to the study. Performing surgeries is more physically intense than other clinical tasks because it means being on your feet with little access to food water. More than half of female surgeons surveyed worked over 60 hours per week during pregnancy, 37 percent took over 6 overnight calls each month only 16 percent reduced their working hours.

“There’s a bravado that goes along with the surgical personality,” said Dr. Rangel, 44, one of the paper’s co-authors. “There’s a culture of not asking for help, but this tells us there’s a health risk in it.”

Surgical residents often fear that asking for help could breed resentment because colleagues must provide coverage on top of their own demanding schedules. Dr. Rangel her co-authors recommend a number of hospital policy changes that would allow female surgeons to ask for help without fear of blowback, such as good compensation for those who provide coverage an increased commitment to bringing on moonlighting physicians, nurse practitioners physician assistants who can assist when trainees are overburdened.

But the culture change necessary to better support female surgeons won’t come without broad-scale policy change, the study’s authors emphasized. Parental leave now varies across residency programs. Many female residents take six weeks (which includes some allotted for vacation whereas male residents often take only one week. The paper called for at least six weeks of paid parental leave, not counting vacation time, for both men women. The authors also noted that when residents use their vacation time as parental leave, they are left with an increased risk of burnout.

Fields like surgery that are built on rigid norms grueling training rites can be resistant to broad-scale change. But the paper’s authors noted that in the last two decades, the field did what was once considered impossible in capping resident work hours at 80 hours per week; residents had previously sometimes worked more than 100 hours weekly.

“People said it couldn’t be done, but then leadership implemented it from the top down,” Dr. Rangel said. “And culture change follows that policy change.”

In some cases, that culture change is already being modeled by the authors themselves. Dr. Sarah Rae Easter, one of the paper’s authors, became pregnant during her I.C.U. fellowship. Her water broke one day while she was leading rounds. She stepped outside, put on new scrubs got ready to return to work. But then she bumped into her supervisor — Dr. Rangel.

“Erika Rangel was standing there with her arms crossed she said, ‘I think labor delivery is the other way,” Dr. Easter recalled. “She said, ‘Go take care of yourself, this is important not just for you but for the example you set.”

That sort of leadership, Dr. Easter continued, could help make the field more accommodating to women: “It illustrates the kind of culture change we need in order to optimize outcomes for our specialty for our patients.”


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Google begins showing what its new Play Store safety listings will look like


There’s still half a year to go before you start seeing Google Play’s new safety section, which will show you an Android app’s privacy information, in listings within the store. Google announced the upcoming feature that’s similar to the Apple App Store’s nutrition labels back in May. In a new post on the Android Developer blog, though, Google has given us a glimpse of what that section may look like. 

Within a listing, you will see a summary from the developer on what kind of data an app collects, so you can make a decision whether to install it or not. You’ll also see safety details the developer chooses to highlight, such as whether an app encrypts your data, whether it’s suitable for children families whether it’s been independently validated against a global security standard.


Further, you can tap the summary to see more details about the type of data an app collects how it’s used. It can show you whether an app collects location contact data, personal information such as name email address, as well as financial information. The section can also tell you whether the app uses your data for its features, for personalization or for other purposes. In addition, it can let you know whether you can opt out of getting your data collected or if giving an app access to your information really is necessary to be able to use it.

Google says the details might still change before the feature goes live, but all developers are required to provide a privacy policy for their apps must provide accurate information for the safety section. Developers can start declaring privacy information in October have until April 2022 to do so, but you’ll start seeing the section pop up on Google Play sometime within the first quarter of next year. 

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Twitter tests new shopping features for businesses


Twitter is the latest social media platform to experiment with new shopping features. The company is allowing a handful of brands to place a “Shop Module” at the top of their profiles that links to products their followers can buy.

While it’s not the first time Twitter has tried out shopping features, it’s the first time the company has incorporated shopping directly into the profile. With the change, businesses can highlight a handful of products in a carousel in between the main profile info their timeline. The feature is limited to only a few brands, including GameStop bag-maker Arden Cove, in the US for now.

While up until now Twitter hasn’t pursued shopping as aggressively as some other platforms, the company has recently signaled that could soon change. A “shop” button for tweets has also been spotted, the company recently introduced new “business profiles.” Shopping features could also have interesting implications for creators, a demographic Twitter has also made a recent push to pursue with new money-making features. Allowing creators to showcase their existing merch shop from their profile could provide an additional boost, help the company compete with Facebook’s creator shops.

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Sony has sold 10 million PS5 consoles


The PlayStation 5 just crossed a significant milestone. Sony has revealed that it has sold 10 million PS5 consoles as of July 18th, eight months after the system’s November 12th debut. The company considered that no mean feat between the pandemic ongoing chip shortages that reportedly held sales back. It’s now Sony’s fastest-selling console to date, outpacing the PS4 by nearly a month.

Sales have slowed down since launch. Sony racked up 4.5 million PS5 sales in 2020, but sold 3.3 million in the first quarter of 2021 — it took another four months to add 2.2 million to the tally. That’s not surprising between supply constraints the usual mid-year slump, but you might not see sales climb until the holidays.

PlayStation chief Jim Ryan told GamesIndustry.biz in an interview that it was “too early to tell” which markets were the hottest given widespread demand, but pointed out that China was a pleasant surprise. The company sold out its PS5 launch stock “very, very quickly” despite a local market focused on mobile games the free-to-play model.

The PS5 doesn’t have an easy road ahead. Even if Sony could quickly overcome hardware shortages, it still has a dearth of PS5-exclusive titles outside of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Returnal. The biggest games tend to be enhanced versions of games available for the PS4, like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, even upcoming blockbusters like Horizon Forbidden West will have PS4 releases. While demstill appears to be brisk, there might not be much added incentive to buy a PS5 until Gran Turismo 7 other system exclusives arrive in force.

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Meteor Shower in July: Time for the Southern Delta Aquarids to Peak


All year long as Earth revolves around the sun, it passes through streams of cosmic debris. The resulting meteor showers can light up night skies from dusk to dawn, if you’re lucky you might be able to catch a glimpse.

The next shower you might be able to see is the Southern Delta Aquariids, which is sometimes also known as the Southern Delta Aquarids. Active from July 12 to Aug. 23, it is expected to be at its peak from Wednesday night into Thursday morning, or July 28 to 29.

They come from Comet 96P Machholz, which passes by the sun every five years. Its meteors, which number between 10 20 per hour, are most visible predawn, between 2 a.m. 3 a.m. It tends to be more visible from the Southern Hemisphere.

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If you spot a meteor shower, what you’re usually seeing is an icy comet’s leftovers that crash into Earth’s atmosphere. Comets are sort of like dirty snowballs: As they travel through the solar system, they leave behind a dusty trail of rocks ice that lingers in space long after they leave. When Earth passes through these cascades of comet waste, the bits of debris — which can be as small as grains of s— pierce the sky at such speeds that they burst, creating a celestial fireworks display.

A general rule of thumb with meteor showers: You are never watching the Earth cross into remnants from a comet’s most recent orbit. Instead, the burning bits come from the previous passes. For example, during the Perseid meteor shower you are seeing meteors ejected from when its parent comet, Comet Swift-Tuttle, visited in 1862 or earlier, not from its most recent pass in 1992.

That’s because it takes time for debris from a comet’s orbit to drift into a position where it intersects with Earth’s orbit, according to Bill Cooke, an astronomer with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.

The best way to see a meteor shower is to get to a location that has a clear view of the entire night sky. Ideally, that would be somewhere with dark skies, away from city lights traffic. To maximize your chances of catching the show, look for a spot that offers a wide, unobstructed view.

Bits pieces of meteor showers are visible for a certain period of time, but they really peak visibly from dusk to dawn on a given few days. Those days are when Earth’s orbit crosses through the thickest part of the cosmic stream. Meteor showers can vary in their peak times, with some reaching their maximums for only a few hours others for several nights.

It is best to use your naked eye to spot a meteor shower. Binoculars or telescopes tend to limit your field of view. You might need to spend about half an hour in the dark to let your eyes get used to the reduced light. Stargazers should be warned that moonlight the weather can obscure the shows. But if that happens, there are usually meteor livestreams like the ones hosted by NASA by Slooh.


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