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An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. The most common site is within a fallopian tube. More rarely an embryo may implant within an ovary, in the cervix, or on the abdominal wall


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Study Looks at Suspected Link Between Corn Mycotoxin and Birth Defects

ChildbirthOct 26 10

A Creighton University School of Medicine researcher has been awarded a $2.7 million grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to investigate a possible link between the ingestion of tortillas and corn-based food products contaminated with a fungal toxin and increased risk for birth defects.

The three-year award is a collaborative effort among investigators at Creighton, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in Athens, Georgia; Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and Centro de Investigaciones en Nutricion y Salud (CIENSA) in Guatemala.

Janee Gelineau-van Waes, D.V.M., Ph.D., principal investigator and associate professor in Creighton’s Department of Pharmacology, will use the grant to continue her research studying a potential connection between exposure to fumonisin during early pregnancy and an increased risk for having a baby with a neural tube defect (NTD).

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Pregnancy outcome affected by immune system genes

Immunology • • PregnancyOct 26 10

A team of researchers, led by Ashley Moffett, at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, has shed new light on genetic factors that increase susceptibility to and provide protection from common disorders of pregnancy, specifically recurrent miscarriage, preeclampsia, and fetal growth restriction.

A key step in the initiation of a successful pregnancy is the invasion of the lining of the uterus by fetal cells known as trophoblasts, which become the main cell type of the placenta. Recurrent miscarriage, preeclampsia, and fetal growth restriction are thought to result from inadequate trophoblast invasion of the uterus lining. Interactions between maternal cells known as uterine NK cells and fetal trophoblasts — specifically interactions between HLA-C molecules on the fetal trophoblasts and KIRs on the maternal uterine NK cells — are key to determining the extent of trophoblast invasion. Previous data from Moffett’s lab indicated that a particular combination of fetal HLA-C and maternal KIR was associated with increased risk of preeclampsia. In this study, the team has extended this correlation to recurrent miscarriage and fetal growth restriction. Furthermore, they have determined that the presence of other maternal KIRs that combine with the same HLA-C molecule provides protection against the same common disorders of pregnancy.

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The bonus of the fitness buddy

Public HealthOct 26 10

Fitness loves company, whether it’s a running buddy, a spotter in the weight room, or a pal to bolster your courage as you tackle that first yoga class.

Experts say buddying up can make your workout easier to stick with and harder to miss.

“People don’t necessarily work out for social reasons, but that social factor can keep them working out,” said Kerri O’Brien of Life Fitness, the equipment manufacturer.

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