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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > ImmunologyPregnancy



Researchers find gene linked to birth defects

Genetics • • PregnancyMay 31 10

An international group of researchers has identified the genetic cause of an inherited condition that causes severe foetal abnormalities.

The work, co-led by geneticists at the University of Leeds, together with colleagues from institutes and universities in Paris, Rome and San Diego, should allow couples at risk of conceiving babies with the profoundly disabling Meckel-Gruber and Joubert syndromes to be identified beforehand through genetic screening.

Their findings, which show how the disease gene stops cells’ finger-like antennae or ‘cilia’ from detecting and relaying information, may ultimately lead to treatments for more common related disorders, such as spina bifida and polycystic kidney disease. The paper is published in Nature Genetics today.

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U.S. Caesarean births hit record high in 2007

Gender: Female • • PregnancyMar 24 10

Nearly 1.4 million babies born in the United States in 2007 were delivered by Caesarean section, a record U.S. high and a larger number than in most other industrialized nations, health officials said on Tuesday.

In 2007, nearly one-third of all births were Caesarean deliveries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report, noting large rises in all racial, ethnic and age groups over 10 years.

The benefits and risks of Caesarean delivery, which involves major abdominal surgery, have been the subject of intense debate for more than a quarter of a century.

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Big first trimester weight gain ups diabetes risk

Diabetes • • Gender: Female • • PregnancyMar 12 10

Women who gain weight too quickly during the first three months of pregnancy are more prone to develop pregnancy-related diabetes, new research shows.

“We found the association was stronger among women who were overweight at the start of pregnancy,” Dr. Monique M. Hedderson of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, California, noted in an email to Reuters Health.

This study, she added, suggests that weight gain in early pregnancy may be a modifiable risk factor for pregnancy-related, or “gestational,” diabetes.

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Genes in mother, baby raise risk of preterm birth

Genetics • • PregnancyFeb 05 10

Genes in the mother and the fetus play a role in the risk of preterm labor, a leading cause of infant death and disability, U.S. government researchers said on Thursday.

They said gene variants in the mother and fetus can make them susceptible to an inflammatory response to infections inside the uterus, raising the risk that a baby will be born early - before 37 weeks of gestation.

A preterm baby has a 120 times greater risk of death than a baby born full term, and survivors are at risk of breathing difficulties, bleeding into the brain, and having a significant neurologic handicap such as cerebral palsy.

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Quantifying the number of pregnancies at risk of malaria in 2007: A demographic study

Infections • • Pregnancy • • Public HealthJan 26 10

Research published this week in PLoS Medicine concludes that at least 125.2 million women at risk of malaria become pregnant each year.

Most malaria deaths are caused by Plasmodium falciparum, which thrives in tropical and sub-tropical regions. But the most widespread type of malaria is P. vivax malaria, which also occurs in temperate regions. Most malaria deaths are among young children in sub-Saharan Africa but pregnant women and their unborn babies are highly vulnerable to malaria. About 10,000 women and 200,000 babies die annually because of malaria in pregnancy, which can cause miscarriages, preterm births, and low-birth-weight births. Estimates on the burden of malaria were previously only available for Africa.

The researchers estimated the sizes of populations at risk of malaria in 2007 by combining maps of the global limits of P. vivax and P. falciparum transmission with data on population densities. They used data from various sources to calculate the annual number of pregnancies (the sum of live births, induced abortions, miscarriages and still births) in each country.

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Postpartum Baby Blues Impact Majority of New Moms

Pregnancy • • Psychiatry / PsychologySep 10 09

Tracy Perkins Rodriguez, 36, thought her life was finally on the upswing. When her husband returned from his third tour of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, the couple purchased their dream home and promptly became pregnant with the child they had always hoped to conceive together. However, as Rodriguez entered her third trimester of pregnancy, she began feeling tired with little enthusiasm for everyday life.

“Before my last trimester of pregnancy, I was an upbeat person who was always on the go,” Rodriguez said. “After I delivered my baby and returned home, I began crying every day and found that I no longer had energy to get out of bed and leave the house.”

Rodriguez is not alone. Postpartum blues impact more than 80 percent of women who give birth. Symptoms include temporarily feeling sad and weepy or anxious and moody. Other signs include being angry at the baby, husband or other children.

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Mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy may be associated with cardiovascular risk

Diabetes • • Heart • • PregnancyAug 24 09

Mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy may be an early identifier of women who are at increased risk of heart disease in the future, found a new study http://www.cmaj.ca/press/cmaj090569.pdf published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca.

In a large population-based cohort study, researchers from the University of Toronto and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) studied data on 435,696 women in Ontario, Canada, who gave birth between April, 1994 and March, 1998. All women were followed until March 31, 2008. The study excluded women with pre-existing diabetes.

As cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Canadian women, it is important to identify early predictors of future vascular risk. While women with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those without, it previously has not been known whether mild glucose intolerance in pregnancy is associated with heart disease. The study sought to answer this question.

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New, less invasive genetic test greatly improves pregnancy rates in older women with poor prognosis

PregnancyJun 29 09

A new test examining chromosomes in human eggs a few hours after fertilisation can identify those that are capable of forming a healthy baby, a researcher told the 25th annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology today (Monday 29 June). Dr. Elpida Fragouli, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Oxford, UK, and Reprogenetics UK, said that her team’s work had already enabled seven ongoing pregnancies in a group of older women with a history of multiple failed IVF attempts.

“Out of 35 patients who had embryo transfers after the test, we achieved a pregnancy rate of 20%, which is exceptional considering the extremely poor prognosis of the women involved.” she said. “This represents a doubling of the usual pregnancy rate for women who fall into this category, which is otherwise, at best, under 10% and, at worst, zero. To date, we have two live births from this group, and all the other women who became pregnant have maintained their pregnancies. The study is continuing, and we believe that we will achieve more pregnancies with the help of this technology in the future.”

The scientists used the Comparative Genomic Hybridisation (CGH) technique to count the chromosomes in each egg. Unlike conventional screening strategies, using the fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH) method, which allows less than half of the chromosomes of an embryonic cell to be examined, CGH enables the evaluation of the entire chromosome complement. CGH was used to examine the fertilised eggs by looking at polar bodies, tiny cells that are a by-product of egg development. The chromosomes of polar bodies provide an indication of whether the corresponding egg is normal or abnormal; if the polar bodies have the wrong number of chromosomes, so does the egg.

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Breast-Feeding Moms Who Consume Too Much Fructose Sweetener More Likely to Have Obese Kids

Diabetes • • Obesity • • PregnancyJun 12 09

Mothers who drink an excessive amount of fructose-sweetened beverages during pregnancy or breast-feeding may be likelier to have children—at least sons—who are more prone to becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes, authors of a new study reported. The results will be presented Thursday at The Endocrine Society’s 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The study, conducted in rats, found that the first male offspring had signs of metabolic endocrine disorders in adulthood, even though the sons ate a normal diet with no extra fructose, said co-author Eduardo Spinedi, PhD. He is head of the Neuroendocrinology Research Unit at the Multidisciplinary Institute of Cell Biology in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Fructose, as in high-fructose corn syrup, is widely found in regular soda pop, fruit juices and other drinks. Many researchers believe that high fructose intake plays a role in the development of prediabetes and the metabolic syndrome, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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Drug helps pregnant drug users to stop smoking

Drug News • • Pregnancy • • Tobacco & MarijuanaApr 30 09

Treatment with an antidepressant drug significantly improves the mood in pregnant substance-dependent women who also smoke cigarettes, according to preliminary results reported at the 2009 Joint Conference of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) and SNRT-Europe.

The data also suggest that the antidepressant - bupropion—helps these women curb their smoking.

“We are encouraged by the findings given that both depression and smoking are highly prevalent in pregnant, substance-dependent patients and are associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes,” said Dr. Margaret S. Chisolm, assistant professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Pregnancy problems up stroke risk in offspring

Pregnancy • • StrokeApr 01 09

Adults whose mothers suffered from “preeclampsia” or “gestational hypertension” while pregnant appear to be at increased risk of suffering a stroke, new research suggests.

Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine, whereas gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy.

In a study, researchers found that people whose mothers had preeclampsia have nearly double the risk of stroke. A similar, albeit smaller, effect was seen with pregnancies complicated by gestational hypertension.

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Migraine ups risk of high BP during pregnancy

Headaches • • Migraine • • PregnancyFeb 13 09

New research suggests that women who suffer migraine headaches are at increased risk for developing high blood pressure during pregnancy, a condition known as gestational hypertension, as well as preeclampsia—a condition of pregnancy marked by high blood pressure, fluid retention and protein in urine.

Several studies have looked at the link between migraine and high blood pressure during pregnancy, but due to their “methodological weaknesses” these studies have provided only weak evidence of the association between migraine and onset of high blood pressure in pregnancy, Dr. Fabio Facchinetti, from the University of Modena, Italy, and colleagues explain in the medical journal Cephalalgia.

To investigate further, they studied 702 pregnant women with normal blood pressure who were seen at clinics in Northern Italy.

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Researchers link obesity to birth defects

Obesity • • PregnancyFeb 11 09

Obese women are more likely to give birth to children with spina bifida, heart problems, cleft palate and a number of other defects, British researchers said on Tuesday.

The findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association underscore obesity’s role as a major health problem and add to evidence that being too heavy while pregnant carries risks for both mother and child.

Katherine Stothard and colleagues from Britain’s Newcastle University combined data from 18 studies to look at the risk of abnormalities of babies whose mothers were obese or overweight.

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Pregnancy has no impact on breast cancer, but can delay diagnosis and treatment

Cancer • • Breast Cancer • • PregnancyFeb 09 09

A new study finds women who develop breast cancer while pregnant or soon afterwards do not experience any differences in disease severity or likelihood of survival compared to other women with breast cancer. The study is published in the March 15, 2009 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

So-called pregnancy-associated breast cancers (PABC), defined as breast cancer that develops either during or within one year following pregnancy, is relatively rare and presents a dilemma for clinicians. An estimated 0.2 to 3.8 percent of pregnancies are complicated by breast cancer, and approximately 10 percent of breast cancer patients under age 40 develop the disease during pregnancy. But as age at the time of pregnancy continues to increase, the incidence of PABC can be expected to increase.

Previous research has suggested that pregnancy is associated with poorer outcomes among women with breast cancer.

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Hormone linked to depression after pregnancy

Depression • • Pregnancy • • Psychiatry / PsychologyFeb 03 09

Increased levels of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which is produced by the placenta, identifies women who are at risk for developing depression after their pregnancy ends, according to a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

“The high incidence and severe consequences of postpartum depression make the identification of women at risk an important research goal,” Dr. Ilona S. Yim at the University of California, Irvine, and co-investigators write in their report. They point out that several lines of evidence link CRH, a key hormone involved in regulating many other hormones, to depressive symptoms following delivery.

To further investigate, the researchers conducted a study in which hormone levels in the blood were measured several times throughout pregnancy in 100 women, starting at week 15. Sixteen women developed postpartum depression.

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