Nolasiban Phase 3 IMPLANT 2 Trial: IVF Live Birth Rate Increased Up to 35%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ernest Loumaye, MD, PhD
Co-Founder and CEO
ObsEva SA  

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this announcement? How does Nolasiban work to decrease contractions and improve uterine blood flow?

Response: The WHO has recognized infertility as a global health issue, and many couples undergo IVF treatment: there are more than 700,000 annual IVF treatment cycles in Europe and more than 200,000 in the U.S. However, more than 50% of IVF procedures do not result in pregnancy, and failure has tremendous emotional and financial costs to patients.  ObsEva is dedicated to improving fertility outcomes in IVF while also supporting the use of single embryo transfer to minimize multiple births that are associated with significant health risks to mother and baby, as well as significant health costs from premature delivery.

Nolasiban works by blocking the hormone oxytocin, which is known to induce uterine contractions.  Nolasiban reduces uterine contractions and could improve uterine blood flow, both effects being favourable for the embryo to properly implant. Continue reading

Moderate Drinkers Had Higher Sperm Count

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“sperm” by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Elena Ricci, ScD, PhD
Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico,
Milano

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The role of alcohol drinking on male fertility is still controversial. A negative association between alcohol intake and semen quality has been suggested by some authors, although other studies did not confirm this finding. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a cohort study on subfertile couples, and found that men with a moderate alcohol intake (4 to 7 units of ethanol per week – 1unit=12.5 grams ) had higher semen volume and sperm total count than men with both lower and higher intake.

Abstainers had a better sperm concentration, but the small size of this group prevented us from drawing any significant conclusions. Alcohol was not associated to sperm motility.  Continue reading

Possible Sperm Related Cause of Male Infertility Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Ph.D.  Professor, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department of Biological Sciences University of Toledo Toledo, OH 43606

Dr. Avidor-Reiss

Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Ph.D. 
Professor, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Toledo
Toledo, OH 43606

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most dividing cells in the body need exactly two centrioles for normal cell division and development. Abnormalities in centriole number can cause cancer and devastating developmental defects. Because of this importance of centriole number and because all cells originate from the zygote – the product of the sperm and egg – it makes sense that the zygote should possess two centrioles, as well.

However, the egg does not contain any centrioles, so the sperm is the sole contributor of the centrioles; and yet, it is currently thought that the sperm contains only one centriole. This is problematic because supposedly that leaves the zygote with only one centriole, even though it must propagate cells with two centrioles. In the past, we found that insect sperm have an atypical centriole that escaped discovery because it is so different. We therefore hypothesized that humans may also have an atypical sperm centriole.

Our new paper shows that in human sperm there exists, in addition to the known centriole, a second centriole that deviates from the typical structural and composition that is expected from a centriole. Although it looks very different from any centriole ever described, we found that it functions in an in vitro functional assay. Furthermore, during fertilization, it performs the functions traditionally associated with centrioles. Together, this resolves a 50-year-long debate regarding the centrioles of human sperm; the sperm contains two functional centrioles, despite that one is atypical.  Continue reading

Does Acupuncture Increase Live Births For Women Undergoing IVF?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Acupuncture Needle” by Acid Pix is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Caroline Smith, PhD
Professor Clinical Research
Western Sydney University Research Theme Champion Health and Wellbeing

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Despite technological improvements to IVF the success of IVF treatment remains low. Consequently, new drugs, laboratory techniques and other treatments need to be developed and rigorously tested to explore their effects on producing healthy babies for women undergoing IVF.  In 2002, the first randomised controlled trial of acupuncture administered a specific form of IVF acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer.

The results indicated the chance of achieving a pregnancy from acupuncture was twice that to women undergoing IVF treatment alone. From mid 2000s many women have started to use adjunctive treatments such as acupuncture whilst undergoing IVF.  We conducted and reported on a  pilot study in 2006 which produced results suggesting a benefit. It is important that these findings were rigorously examined in a larger trial.

Findings are presented from our trial presented in JAMA. Our study of over 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle has failed to confirm significant difference in live birth rates.

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New Male Contraceptive May Make Pregnancy An Uphill Swim

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Michael O'Rand

Dr. O’Rand

Michael O’Rand, PhD
Retired professor of cell biology and physiology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and president/CEO of Eppin Pharma, Inc

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: My lab at the UNC School of Medicine discovered the protein Eppin in 2004. It coats the sperm cell. Through our subsequent research, we learned it is essential for sperm protection in the female. We thought it could make an excellent target for a male contraceptive.

Subsequently we developed a compound called EP055 that would bind to Eppin and as a result stop sperm from swimming. In our latest study published in PLOS One, we show that EP055 substantially limits sperm motility in non-human primates. And we showed the effect of EP055 is temporary, which would make it a good contraceptive.

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Intake of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages By Both Partners Appears To Harm Fertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Elizabeth-Hatch

Dr. Hatch

Dr. Elizabeth E. Hatch, PhD
Professor, Epidemiology
School of Public Health
Boston University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  

Response: We are conducting a large, ongoing, preconception cohort study, PREgnancy STudy Online or PRESTO http://sites.bu.edu/presto/   in the U.S. and Canada of couples who are planning a pregnancy.  The overall goal of the study is to identify factors that affect fertility, measured by the time taken to conceive, and factors that affect the risk of miscarriage.  Since many women are postponing pregnancy until the later reproductive years, we would like to help find behavioral and environmental factors that might either help or harm fertility so that couples can avoid the stress and expense of infertility workups and treatment.  As part of the larger study, we looked at consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) by both the male and female partner, since some previous research suggested that sugar-sweetened beverages might harm semen quality and ovulation.

For this analysis, we included 3,828 women aged 21 to 45 and 1,045 of their male partners. We asked both males and females (in separate baseline questionnaires) about their usual consumption of SSBs over the last month, and we had a drop-down menu with names of individual sodas (both sugar-sweetened and diet) and energy drinks.  We also asked general questions about the frequency of fruit juice and ‘sports drink’ consumption.   In our analysis, we controlled for multiple factors that might ‘confound’ the associations, such as body mass index, education, caffeine, smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as a measure of overall diet quality.

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Thyroid Treatment Did Not Improve IVF Miscarriage Rate in Women With Thyroid Antibodies But Normal Thyroid Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Tianpei Hong, MD, PhD
Of behalf of Prof. Jie Qiao and all the coauthors,
Director, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism
Director, Department of Laboratory Medicine
Peking University Third Hospital
Beijing, China

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

  • Ÿ           Women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies have been reported to be at 2- to 3-fold higher risk of spontaneous miscarriage than those who test negative. However, the effect of levothyroxine on miscarriage among women with positive thyroid autoantibodies and normal thyroid function has been documented in limited studies with conflicting results.
  • Ÿ           Given the substantial difficulty achieving successful pregnancy among infertile women, identifying optimal treatment for infertile women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies is particularly important. There are a few randomized clinical trials showing a beneficial effect of levothyroxine treatment on pregnancy outcomes among women undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET). However, the sample size of those trials was rather small which may weaken the quality of the evidence.
  • Ÿ           Therefore, the Pregnancy Outcomes Study in euthyroid women with Thyroid Autoimmunity after Levothyroxine (POSTAL) study was conducted in Peking University Third Hospital to evaluate whether levothyroxine treatment initiated before IVF-ET could decrease the miscarriage rate and improve the live birth rate in infertile women who tested positive for antithyroperoxidase antibody but had normal thyroid function.

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IVF Linked To Increased Risk of Congenital Heart Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine - development of the in vitro fertilization procedure” by Solis Invicti is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Paolo Cavoretto MD PhD
San Raffaele Scientific Centre
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department
Milan Italy

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common forms of congenital disorders and a relevant cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality involving about 0.8% of pregnancies. IVF pregnancies are very common nowadays with increasing rates in the developed countries worldwide. There is no consensus in current practice guidelines whether IVF/ICSI conception represents an indication for performing a fetal echocardiogram according to different eminent scientific societies due to differences in the estimations of the risk for CHD in the available literature.

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Poor Functional Status Predicts Increased Mortality After Dialysis Initiation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN Assistant Professor, Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH

Dr. Shah

Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN|
Assistant Professor
Division of Nephrology
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Elderly represent the fastest growing segment of incident dialysis patients in Unites States. The annual mortality in end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients is very high ~ 20%.

Since most of the deaths occur in the first year of dialysis, it is possible that health conditions present prior to initiation of dialysis may impact long-term outcomes. In this study, we determined the impact of poor functional status at the time of dialysis initiation and pre-dialysis health status on type of dialysis modality, type of hemodialysis access and one-year mortality in elderly dialysis patients. We evaluated 49,645 adult incident dialysis patients (1/1/2008 to 12/31/2008) from the United Data Renal Data System (USRDS) with linked Medicare data for at least 2 years prior to dialysis initiation. Mean age of our study population was 72 years. At dialysis initiation, 18.7% reported poor functional status, 88.9% has pre-dialysis hospitalization, and 27.8% did not receive pre-dialysis nephrology care. Patients with poor functional status had higher odds of being initiated on hemodialysis than peritoneal dialysis, lower odds of using arteriovenous access as compared to central venous catheter for dialysis and higher risk of one-year mortality.

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Uterine Fibroid Embolization Helps Restore Fertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD Radiologia de Intervenção Hospital Saint Louis - Rua Luz Soriano Portugal
Prof. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD
Radiologia de Intervenção
Hospital Saint Louis – Rua Luz Soriano
Portugal

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The background for the study is the good results I started to check in patients with uterine fibroids who could conceive a successful pregnancy with live birth following embolization.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The readers should know that fertility can be restored following embolization of uterine fibroids, particularly if the embolization is partial. The wish of conception in patients with uterine fibroids is not a contraindication for fibroids embolization.

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Fetal Reduction in Multifetal Pregnancies Results in Fewer Preterm Births and Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow Reproductive Epidemiology Unit Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Razaz

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Reproductive Epidemiology Unit
Karolinska Institutet

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Multiple births of twins and triplets – and the associated health risks – have increased in many high-income countries, with a respective two-fold and three-fold increase in recent decades.

In Canada, triplet births or higher have increased from 52.2 per 100 000 live births to 83.5 between 1991 and 2009, mainly because of an increase in fertility treatments for older women of child-bearing age. In this study we found that among twin and triplet pregnancies that were reduced to singleton or twin pregnancies, there was a substantial reduction in complications such as preterm birth and very preterm birth. Although rates of death and serious illness were not lower among all multifetal pregnancies that were reduced, pregnancies that resulted from fertility treatments did show a significant reduction in rates of death or serious illness following fetal reduction.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Improves Luteal Function in Obese Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex J. Polotsky, MD Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Colorado Denver Practice homepage

Dr. Polotsky

Alex J. Polotsky, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of Colorado Denver
Practice homepage

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: It has been well established that profound dietary changes occurred over the past 100 years. The type and amount of fat consumed has changed quite a bit over the course of 20th century. Intake of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), previously consumed in large quantities by humans from vegetable and fish sources, has dropped significantly. The typical Western diet (sometimes also called the typical American diet) provides an omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio of as high as 25:1, which is quite different from what it used to up until about the 19th century (believed to be about 1:1 ratio).

In animal studies, diets enriched with omega-3 PUFA enhance early embryonic development and boost progesterone secretion. Obesity is well known to be associated with decreased progesterone production in women (even if a obese woman ovulates). The reasons for this are not clear. Obesity is also a state of low-grade chronic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known to have anti-inflammatory properties.

We sought to test whether dietary supplementation with omega-3 PUFA favorably affects reproductive hormones in women and whether this effect includes normalization of progesterone production in obesity.

All women in the study tolerated supplementation well, and had significantly decreased their omega-6 to omega-3 ratios (they were normalized much closer to a 1:1 ratio). Omega-3 supplementation resulted in a trend for increased progesterone in obese women, thus enhancing ovulatory function. A 16 to 22 percent increase was observed. Additionally, the supplementation resulted in reduced systemic inflammation.

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Women With Health Insurance for IVF More Likely To Have Successful Live Birth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily S. Jungheim, MD, MSCI Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Washington University St. Louis, Missouri

Dr. Jungheim

Emily S. Jungheim, MD, MSCI
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
Washington University
St. Louis, Missouri

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Many women with health insurance lack coverage for fertility treatment so they end up being self-pay for fertility treatments which can be expensive and limit access to care.

15 states have responded with mandates for employers to include fertility coverage in their employee insurance benefits, and 5 of these have comprehensive mandates that include IVF. Illinois is one of these states. Washington University is located on the border between Illinois and Missouri so our fertility center treats a number of women with coverage for fertility treatment and a large number of women who are self-pay for fertility treatment. We suspected that women requiring IVF to conceive were more likely to follow through with treatments if they had coverage so we decided to look at our data.

Ultimately we confirmed our suspicions. Women with coverage were more likely to come back for additional cycles of IVF if they didn’t conceive. Ultimately this ability to come back for additional treatment cycles led to a higher chance of live birth.

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Newly Recognized Connection Between Immune System and Sperm Opens Window to Some Male Infertility and Cancer Vaccine Failures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kenneth S. K. Tung, M.D.
Professor of Pathology and Microbiology
Director of UVA Research Histology Core
Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research
University of Virginia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The immune system needs to see tissue antigens to avoid responding to them in order to prevent autoimmune disease development. The current dogma, stated in all Immunology and Reproductive Biology textbooks, considers the sperm antigens in the testis to be exempted from this process. They are considered totally hidden behind a tissue barrier, and are invisible to the immune system.

Because sperm antigens are treated as foreign molecules, they should stimulate strong immune response when employed in cancer vaccines against antigens common to sperm and cancers. It is also believed that sperm molecules are protected by local factors that inhibit inflammation, whereas systemic mechanisms such as regulatory T cells would not exist.

The paradigm has restrained ongoing research on systemic tolerance to sperm, and the need to understanding systemic regulation in infertility research

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Oral Dydrogesterone May Become Preferred Treatment Option for IVF

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthias Straub
Senior Director, Clinical Development
Abbott

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Lotus I study provides clinical evidence that oral dydrogesterone is a treatment option for women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. The current standard of care for IVF globally is micronized vaginal progesterone (MPV), which is administered vaginally.

The Lotus I study concludes that oral dydrogesterone is similarly well-tolerated and efficacious compared to MVP, while being easier to administer than MVP.

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Failed Fertility Therapy Linked To Increased Risk of Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob A. Udell MD MPH FRCPC Cardiovascular Division Women's College Hospital Toronto General Hospital University of Toronto

Dr. Jacob Udell

Jacob A. Udell MD MPH FRCPC
Cardiovascular Division
Women’s College Hospital
Toronto General Hospital
University of Toronto 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We’ve noticed for a long time that fertility drug treatment can cause short-term complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes in pregnancy. We recently started wondering whether there may be long term consequences for these women years after a baby was or was not born.  To do this, we looked at all women who were treated with fertility therapy in Ontario for the last 20 years, from what we could determine this amounted to more than 28,000 women. We then followed up years later to examine every woman’s cardiovascular health.

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Frequent Cause of Infertility, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Often Goes Unrecognized

Dr. Kirsten Kreise

Dr. Kristen Kreisel

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kristen Kreisel PhD
Epidemiologist at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), an infection of the female reproductive tract often associated with STDs, is putting millions of women at risk for infertility, ectopic pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain. Our study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to estimate the national burden of PID. Findings show an estimated 4.4 percent of sexually-experienced women aged 18-44, or approximately 2.5 million woman nationwide reported a history of PID.

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Almost 40% of Assisted Reproductive Infants Are Multiple Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Saswati Sunderam, PhD

Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
CDC.

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance – United States, 2014, the surveillance summary published this week in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), presents state-specific data on assisted reproductive technology (ART) use and outcomes.

The report compares ART infant outcome data with outcomes for all infants born in the U.S. in 2014, and provides data on the contributions of  Assisted Reproductive Technology to total infants born, multiple birth infants, low birth weight infants, and preterm infants for each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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Does IVF Raise Risk of Malignancies in Offspring?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Tamar Wainstock, PhD

Department of Public Health; Faculty of Health Sciences
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
ISRAEL

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is a controversy in the medical literature regarding the possible association between infertility or infertility treatments, and the long-term offspring neoplasm risk: while some studies have found such an association, others have not.
Since the number of offspring conceived following treatments are growing, and as they age, it is critical to clarify this possible association.

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National Trends and Outcomes of Embryo Donation

Jennifer F. Kawwass, MD, FACOG Assistant Professor, Emory Reproductive Center Director of Third Party Reproduction, Emory Reproductive Center

Dr. Jennifer F. Kawwass

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jennifer F. Kawwass, MD, FACOG

Assistant Professor, Emory Reproductive Center
Director of Third Party Reproduction, Emory Reproductive Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: With the increasing use of assisted reproductive technology (ART), the number of cryopreserved embryos in storage has increased, as residual viable embryos from an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle may be frozen for future use. Each embryo maintains attributes reflective of the age of the female at time of the original oocyte retrieval. Embryo donation, a form of third-party reproduction, involves donation without compensation of previously formed embryos to another couple for implantation.

Limited published data exist detailing outcomes of donor embryo cycles. Patients and clinicians would benefit from information specific to donor embryo cycles to inform fertility treatment options, counselling, and clinical decision-making. We sought to quantify trends in donor embryo cycles in the United States, to characterize donor embryo recipients, and to report transfer, pregnancy, and birth outcomes of donor embryo transfers.

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New Online Fertility Calculators Predict Chance of IVF Success

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David McLernon PhD MPhil BSc Research Fellow in Medical Statistics Medical Statistics Team Institute of Applied Health Sciences University of Aberdeen Foresterhill Aberdeen

Dr. David McLernon

David McLernon PhD MPhil BSc
Research Fellow in Medical Statistics
Medical Statistics Team
Institute of Applied Health Sciences
University of Aberdeen
Foresterhill Aberdeen

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Normally when a couple attend a fertility clinic to begin IVF treatment they are only informed about their chances of having a baby for the first attempt of IVF. In actual fact the first treatment is often unsuccessful and many couples will go on to have several complete cycles of the treatment– each involving the transfer of one or two fresh embryos potentially followed by one or more frozen embryo transfers. We felt that a prediction model that could calculate the chances of having a baby over the complete package of treatment would provide better information for couples.

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High Cortisol Levels in Hair May Be Linked To Lower IVF Success

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kavita Vedhara FAcSS Professor of Health Psychology Division of Primary Care School of Medicine University Park,N ottingham

Prof. Kavita Vedhara

Kavita Vedhara FAcSS  
Professor of Health Psychology
Division of Primary Care
School of Medicine
University Park,Nottingham

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There has been a longstanding interest in the role of the hormone cortisol in fertility, because of its potential to affect the functioning of the biological systems that influence both conception and pregnancy.

This interest has extended to IVF, with researchers exploring the relationship between levels of the hormone and pregnancy since the advent of the treatment in the late 1970s.

However, a recent review showed that the relationship between cortisol and pregnancy in IVF was unclear. A number of reasons were highlighted for this, including that all of the studies to date had relied on short-term measures of the hormone measured in blood, saliva, urine and sometimes follicular fluid. Such measures can only capture hormone levels over a matter of minutes and hours. Such ‘snapshots’ are unable to give us an accurate picture of the levels of hormone over longer periods of time. This is important because any clinically relevant effects of cortisol on fertility are only likely to occur in the context of long-term changes in the hormone.

In recent years it has become possible to measure long-term levels of cortisol in hair. Cortisol is deposited in the hair shaft and because human hair grows, on average, 1cm per month, a 3cm sample of hair closest to the scalp can tell us about levels of cortisol in the previous 3 months.

We used the development of this technique to examine whether long term levels of cortisol (as measured in hair), or short term levels of cortisol (as measured in saliva) could predict whether or not women going through IVF would become pregnant.

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Chemical Sunscreens May Reduce Male Fertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anders Rehfeld MD, PhD Student
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Human fertility is declining in many areas of the world and the reason is largely unknown. Our study shows that 44% of the tested chemical UV filters can induce calcium signals in human sperm cells, thereby mimicking the effect of progesterone. Progesterone-induced calcium signals, and the sperm functions it triggers, is absolutely essential for the human sperm cell to normally fertilise the human egg.

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Step Closer To Treating Mitochondrial Diseases by Understanding How Embryos Digest Sperm

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Peter Sutovsky PhD Professor of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources University of Missouri Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the School of Medicine University of Missouri Health System

Dr. Peter Sutovsky

Peter Sutovsky PhD
Professor of Animal Science in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
University of Missouri
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the School of Medicine
University of Missouri Health System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Strictly maternal inheritance of mitochondria, the cellular power stations, and mitochondrial genes that mitochondria harbor, is a major biological paradigm in mammals. Propagation of paternal, sperm-contributed mitochondrial genes, resulting in a condition called heteroplasmy, is seldom observed in mammals, due to post-fertilization elimination sperm mitochondria, referred to as “sperm mitophagy.” Our and others’ recent results suggest that this process is mediated by the synergy of ubiquitin–proteasome system (UPS) pathway that recycles outlived cellular proteins one molecule at a time, and autophagic pathway capable of engulfing and digesting an entire mitochondrion.

Here we demonstrate that the co-inhibition of the ubiquitin-binding autophagy receptor proteins SQSTM1, GABARAP, and UPS, and the UPS protein VCP dependent pathways delayed the digestion of sperm mitochondria inside the fertilized pig egg. By manipulating said proteins, we created heteroplasmic pig embryos with both the paternal and maternal mitochondrial genes. Such animal embryos that could be used as a biomedical model to research and alleviate certain forms of mitochondrial disease.

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Is There an Increased Risk of Breast Cancer in Women Who Have IVF?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexandra W. van den Belt-Dusebout, PhD Department of Epidemiology The Netherlands Cancer Institute The Netherlands

Dr. Alexandra van den Belt-Dusebout

Alexandra W. van den Belt-Dusebout, PhD
Department of Epidemiology
The Netherlands Cancer Institute
The Netherlands

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In vitro fertilization (IVF) is commonly used, but because of the relatively recent use of IVF, long-term breast cancer risk is not yet known. Female sex hormones have been shown to affect breast cancer risk. Because sex hormone levels during hormonal stimulation of the ovaries for IVF are up to 10 times higher than in natural cycles, IVF was expected to increase breast cancer risk.
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