In 2011, Inga Kristen, Julius Sewangi, Andrea Kunz, Festo Dugange, Judith Ziske, Brigitte Jordan-Harder, Gundel Harms, and Stefanie Theuring published the article, “Adherence to Combination Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-to-Child-Transmission of HIV in Tanzania,” in PLoS ONE. Hereafter, “Adherence to Combination Prophylaxis,” the article details the authors’ investigation into the efficacy of a medication regimen called combination prophylaxis to prevent mother-to-child, or MTC, transmission of Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, before, during, and after delivery. They included pregnant women who had HIV, in Kyela, Tanzania. However, through interviews and surveys, the authors found that many women had difficulty adhering to the regimen, which made the medication less effective. Kristen and colleagues suggest that healthcare professionals who treat HIV-positive pregnant women increase hospital resources and prescribe medication to those women early in the pregnancy to reduce MTC transmission of HIV.

In October 2017, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City, New York, and the International Rescue Committee published A Toolkit for Integrating Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) into Humanitarian Response. Researchers Marni Sommer, Margaret Schmitt, and David Clatworthy collaborated on the Toolkit to benefit women and girls in Lebanon, Myanmar, and Tanzania. The Toolkit serves as a guideline for humanitarian organizations to ensure better menstrual hygiene management, or MHM, in low and middle-income countries. MHM includes clean water, private hygiene facilities for women and girls, materials such as sanitary pads, and accurate literature on menstruation. The authors of the Toolkit provide ways in which humanitarian organizations can work in communities to address social and physical barriers to managing menstrual health in low and middle-income countries.

In “Beyond Menstrual Hygiene: Addressing Vaginal Bleeding Throughout the Life Course in LMICs,” hereafter “Beyond Menstrual Hygiene,” Marni Sommer, Penelope A. Phillips-Howard, Therese Mahon, Sasha Zients, Meredith Jones, and Bethany A. Caruso explored the barriers women experience in managing menstruation and other forms of vaginal bleeding in low and middle-income countries, which the researchers abbreviate to LMICs. The medical journal British Medical Journal Global Health published the article on 27 July 2017. As little literature existed at the time concerning the topic of vaginal bleeding for women in LMICs, Sommer and her team state that they were motivated to assess the topic in order to better understand how issues concerning the health of women and girls are managed in limited-resource contexts. In “Beyond Menstrual Hygiene,” the authors assert that females in LMICs need access to better resources, education, and supplies to manage menstruation.

In May 1953, scientists James Watson and Francis Crick wrote the article “Genetical Implications of the Structure of Deoxyribonucleic Acid,” hereafter “Genetical Implications,” which was published in the journal Nature. In “Genetical Implications,” Watson and Crick suggest a possible explanation for deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, replication based on a structure of DNA they proposed prior to writing “Genetical Implications.” Watson and Crick proposed their theory about DNA replication at a time when scientists had recently reached the consensus that DNA contained genes, which scientists understood to carry information that determines an organism’s identity. Watson and Crick’s replication mechanism as presented in “Genetical Implications” contributed to the two scientists sharing a portion of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. With their suggested DNA replication mechanism in “Genetical Implications,” Watson and Crick explained how genes are copied and passed along to new cells and organisms, thereby explaining how the information contained within genes is preserved through generations.

In April 1953, Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling, published “Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate,” in the scientific journal Nature. The article contained Franklin and Gosling’s analysis of their X-ray diffraction pattern of thymonucleate or deoxyribonucleic acid, known as DNA. In the early 1950s, scientists confirmed that genes, the heritable factors that control how organisms develop, contained DNA. However, at the time scientists had not determined how DNA functioned or its three-dimensional structure. In their 1953 paper, Franklin and Gosling interpret X-ray diffraction patterns of DNA fibers that they collected, which show the scattering of X-rays from the fibers. The patterns provided information about the three-dimensional structure of the molecule. “Molecular Configuration in Sodium Thymonucleate” shows the progress Franklin and Gosling made toward understanding the three-dimensional structure of DNA.

In “Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use,” hereafter “Explaining Recent Declines,” researchers John S. Santelli, Laura Duberstein Lindberg, Lawrence B. Finer, and Susheela Singh discuss what led to the major decline in US adolescent pregnancy rates from 1995 to 2002. Working with the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, they found that the decline in US adolescent pregnancy rates between 1995 and 2002 was primarily due to improved contraceptive use. They published their article in 2007 after the US government had increased funding for abstinence-only education between 1998 and 2007. “Explaining Recent Declines” challenged US policies by asserting that there was minimal evidence to support abstinence-only sex education as the primary strategy to prevent adolescent pregnancy.

In 1976, midwife Ina May Gaskin published Spiritual Midwifery, with other editions published in 1980, 1990, and 2003. Spiritual Midwifery is a book about pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, or the time period after birth. During the 1970s, it was common for women to receive an epidural, a medication that reduces pain during labor, and for physicians to monitor a fetus’s heartbeat while separating women from their infants after birth. However, according to Gaskin, some women wanted to give birth outside of the hospital without medical interventions. Spiritual Midwifery is a collection of birth stories from women, information about pregnancy and giving birth, and instructions to midwives on how to care for women during childbirth and the period that followed. In Spiritual Midwifery, Gaskin introduced homebirth and midwifery to a broader audience, which helped repopularize midwifery in the US.

Hans Peter Dietz and Judy Simpson published, “Levator Trauma is Associated with Pelvic Organ Prolapse,” in the journal BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2008. In their article, Dietz and Simpson estimated the risk of pelvic organ prolapse in women who attained injuries to the pelvic levator muscles. The levator muscles, also known as the levator ani, are a major muscle group that comprise the pelvic floor. Along with other muscles, the pelvic floor supports organs in a woman’s pelvis, such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Vaginal childbirth can cause a weakening of the pelvic muscles. That can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, which results in the descent of the pelvic organs towards a woman’s vaginal opening. In, “Levator Trauma is Associated with Pelvic Organ Prolapse,” Dietz and Simpson found that women were more likely to have pelvic organ prolapse if they had levator trauma, and called for further research to understand the relationship between levator ani trauma and pelvic organ prolapse.

Screening for Breast Cancer with Mammography is a Cochrane systematic review originally published by Peter Gøtzsche and Karsten Jørgensen in 2001 and updated multiple times by 2013. In the 2013 article, the authors discuss the reliability of the results from different clinical trials involving mammography and provide their conclusions about whether mammography screening is useful in preventing deaths from breast cancer. Mammography is an X-ray technique used to detect abnormalities in breast tissue, such as breast cancer, which affects about twelve percent of women in the world and has a significant risk of mortality. The authors concluded that mammography screenings reduced breast cancer mortality, but resulted in problems such as overdiagnosis and overtreatment of screened women. The article Screening for Breast Cancer with Mammography contributed to the then ongoing controversy about the usefulness of mammography and provided accessible information about mammograms in seven languages.

Science fiction works can reflect the relationship between science and society by telling stories that are set in the future of ethical implications or social consequences of scientific advancements. This thesis investigates how the concept of reproduction is depicted in popular science fiction works.

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