Author Interviews, Education, Fertility, JAMA / 20.05.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kathryn S. Smith, BS M.D. Candidate, Class of 2023 Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study  Response: There are studies that show women in medicine do not achieve promotion at the same rate as men and that only a minority of women are in the upper levels of leadership such as Department Chairs and Medical School Deans. Since peak fertility coincides with peak career building years, we wanted to explore themes related to career advancement, physician burnout and ultimately whether women were being held back from their potential by the burden of fertility, family building, childcare, and household responsibilities. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Fertility, Heart Disease / 27.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pensée Wu, MBChB, MD(Res) Senior Lecturer, Honorary Consultant Obstetrician Subspecialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine School of Medicine, Keele University Staffordshire, UK MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We looked at outcomes in pregnancies conceived with assisted reproductive technology and compared those with pregnancies that were conceived naturally. Using a hospital admissions database in the U.S. called the National inpatient sample between 2008 and 2016, we included >100,000 pregnancies conceived with assisted reproductive technology and 34 million naturally conceived pregnancies. We found that women with assisted reproductive technology-conceived pregnancies had doubled the risk of acute kidney injury and arrhythmias (irregular heart beats). These women also had a 1-3-1.6-fold risk of preterm birth, Caesarean delivery and placental abruption (placenta separating from the womb). We concluded that women should be informed of these risks during pre-pregnancy counselling.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, Heart Disease, JACC / 19.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Lau, MD, MPH Cardiologist Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Director, Menopause, Hormones & Cardiovascular Disease Clinic Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Emerging data suggest that a woman’s reproductive history influences her future risk of heart disease. Infertility is a reproductive risk factor that affects ~14% of women but has not been rigorously studied with respect to its relationship with cardiovascular disease risk. We studied over 38,000 women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative and found that infertility was associated with greater risk of heart failure. In particular, we found that the association was driven by greater risk of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a form of heart failure that is far more common among women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 15.03.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Lora Shahine MD FACOG Host of the fertility podcast Baby or Bust https://www.lorashahine.com/ Dr. Shahine is double board-certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility as well as obstetrics and gynecology Clinical assistant professor at the University of Washington Pacific NorthWest Fertility MedicalResearch.com: How did you become interested in reproductive medicine? Response: I love the combination of technology, women’s health, and helping people during a vulnerable time with all the emotions that come with it. I knew becoming a reproductive endocrinologist would mean a career of learning and helping people build families. MedicalResearch.com: When should women consider freezing their eggs?   Response: There is no one perfect age. The younger someone freezes eggs (in their 20s), the higher quality the eggs will be and the higher success in the future but the more likely someone may not need the. The older someone freezes eggs (in their late 30s and 40s), the lower quality and the lower chance of success over time. For many people and in general - the research supports its most cost effect to freeze eggs in your mid 30s. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Fertility, OBGYNE / 08.02.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gang Chen, MD, PhD Deputy chief of cardiovascular surgery Children's Hospital of Fudan University Shanghai, Chin  MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Preterm birth is a crucial global health issue. The relation between fertility treatment and preterm birth of singletons have not been fully clarified. In this cohort study of over 14 million pregnant women included in the US National Vital Statistics, fertility treatment, including both assisted reproductive treatment (ART) and non-ART treatment, was found positively correlated with preterm birth in singletons and infants conceived after fertility treatment were more strongly associated with higher rates of very preterm and extremely preterm birth.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Fertility / 30.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kanako Hayashi PhD Associate Professor Associate Director, Center for Reproductive Biology Washington State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There have been several correlative reports showing statistical associations between cannabis use and low sperm counts, dysregulated menstruation, abnormal placentation, preterm birth, stillbirth and offspring psychosis etc. However, the long-term consequences of cannabis use on reproductive functions and how it might impact the next generation have not been examined. In the present study, we examined the generational effects of cannabis vapor exposure on male reproductive function. Vaporization is the most common route of cannabis administration in humans. Therefore, in order to understand the generational effects of cannabis exposure on male reproductive functions, the present study was performed using an inhalation method as an administration route, by which adult male mice were exposed to dry cannabis plants to assess the toxicological effects of cannabis on F0, F1 and F2 male reproductive functions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, JAMA, Menopause / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Duke Appiah, Ph.D., MPH Assistant Professor,Public Health Texas Tech University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Reports from several countries point towards increasing trends in age at natural menopause. However, epidemiological report from the United States on the long-term trends in age at natural menopause or reproductive life span among a nationally representative sample of women is lacking. Understanding changes in the timing of age at natural menopause and length of the reproductive life span and their associated factors are important. For instance, earlier age at natural menopause is reported to be associated with cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases and osteoporosis while later onset of menopause has been associated with the occurrence of breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. Similarly, longer durations of reproductive life span are associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. (more…)
Fertility, OBGYNE / 17.02.2021

Not being able to have biological children is a fear most people hope they never to have to face. fertility-pregnancy-IVFAlthough we might not all have grown up knowing for sure if children were in our future, or already have our baby names picked out - James if it’s a boy Violet if it’s a girl - having the decision whether or not to have children taken away from us, due to biological issues inside our bodies, can be devastating. When trying to have children, it can of course, become very frustrating when you aren’t getting pregnant. If you find this is the case, it is recommended that you go to the doctor after one year of failing to conceive. It’s always a good idea to get tested to really understand what is happening in your body. The main signs a woman may be infertile is if her menstrual cycles are too long (35 days or more) or are too short (21 days or less). When going for fertility tests, it is good to have an idea of what to expect. For women, samples of blood will most likely be tested to check for the presence of the hormone Progesterone. For men, a semen sample is obtained for analysis, checking its quality and quantity. Sitting in a waiting room waiting for the results of yet more testing takes its toll, and it’s easy to feel helpless as the image of the life you had planned drifts further out of reach. Luckily nowadays, these results don’t have to be so final as we finally have other options. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Fertility, Genetic Research / 12.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Skinner,  PhD Eastlick Distinguished Professor Founding Director, Center for Reproductive Biology School of Biological Sciences Washington State University Pullman WA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over twenty years ago we identified the existence of a non-genetic form of inheritance through analysis of environmentally induced epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease, now well established in a number of species including humans.  I was giving a talk on this topic at a meeting in Spain.   This study was initiated following the scientific meeting in Spain with an in vitro fertilization clinical group that said they had access to sperm from males with and without autistic children.  It took several years to collect and characterize the samples, and find financial support for the study.  Once this was done then we did the molecular analysis to see if the sperm from fathers with autistic children had epigenetic, DNA methylation alterations, that associated with them having offspring with autism. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, OBGYNE / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Yland Doctoral Student in Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Worldwide, about 22% of reproductive-aged women used hormonal contraception last year. Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods, which include intrauterine devices (IUDs), implants, patches, and injectable contraceptives, have become increasingly popular. However, little is known about the return to fertility after use of different contraceptives, particularly LARC methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Genetic Research, OBGYNE, Technology / 29.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: PGT-A & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IMPROVES PREGNANCY OUTCOMES FOR PATIENTS UNDERGOING IVF MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Large, PhD Senior Director, Research at CooperGenomics CooperSurgical MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Large: Independent study results, presented at the recent the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Virtual Scientific Congress, demonstrated a 13 percent relative increase in ongoing pregnancy and live birth rates associated with the use of CooperSurgical’s PGTaiSM 2.0 technology to screen embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The single-center study was conducted by NYU Langone Fertility Center (NYULFC), part of The Prelude Network. Preimplantation Genetic Testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) is performed on embryos produced through IVF; it provides genetic information to help identify embryos that are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy. PGTai 2.0 technology is an advancement in PGT-A testing platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to increase objectivity of this screening process. The study compared results from three next generation sequencing (NGS) genetic tests: Standard NGS, NGS with first generation artificial intelligence (PGTai 1.0 Technology Platform) and NGS with second generation artificial intelligence (PGTai 2.0 Technology Platform). The ongoing pregnancy and live birth rates significantly increased by a relative 13 percent in the PGTai 2.0 group as compared to subjective and prior methodologies. Study results also suggest that the increase in ongoing pregnancy and live births may be linked to improvements in several preceding IVF outcomes (implantation rates, clinical pregnancy rates and pregnancy loss.) MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Dr. Large: This research moves us an important step closer to our goal of increased live births, improved pregnancy outcomes and further reduction of multiples in pregnancy through greater confidence in single embryo transfer. An estimated 48.5 million couples – approximately 15% of couples -- are affected by infertility worldwide. 80,000 babies were born with IVF in 2017 in the United States and more than one million babies were born in the period 1987 to 2015 in the United States as a result of IVF. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research this study? Dr. Large: The goal of PGT-A is to decrease risk and maximize the chances of IFV success by screening for embryos with the highest potential. This was precisely what NYULFC have observed so far with PGTai 2.0 compared to older technologies. To fully appreciate the impact that these improvements are having for patients, we’re excited to hear from additional IVF centers across the world as they utilize this technology. MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures? Dr. Large: The study demonstrates CooperSurgical’s commitment to developing the most advanced technology in the field of genetic testing to advance reproductive medicine and help families. By applying artificial intelligence in the PGTaism2.0 technology, we leverage mathematical algorithms derived from real-world data to achieve objective embryo assessment. I am the Senior Director of Genomics Research and Development at CooperSurgical. Michael Large, PhD, is the Senior Director, Genomics Research and Development at CooperSurgical. His team recently led and continues to develop state-of-the-art analytical methods for interrogating Reproductive Genetics. Dr. Large earned his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Baylor College of Medicine and his Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Michael Large, PhD Senior Director, Research at CooperGenomics CooperSurgical   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Large: Independent study results, presented at the recent the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Virtual Scientific Congress, demonstrated a 13 percent relative increase in ongoing pregnancy and live birth rates associated with the use of CooperSurgical’s PGTaiSM 2.0 technology to screen embryos for in vitro fertilization (IVF).[1] The single-center study was conducted by NYU Langone Fertility Center (NYULFC), part of The Prelude Network. Preimplantation Genetic Testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) is performed on embryos produced through IVF; it provides genetic information to help identify embryos that are more likely to result in a successful pregnancy. PGTai 2.0 technology is an advancement in PGT-A testing platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to increase objectivity of this screening process. The study compared results from three next generation sequencing (NGS) genetic tests: Standard NGS, NGS with first generation artificial intelligence (PGTai 1.0 Technology Platform) and NGS with second generation artificial intelligence (PGTai 2.0 Technology Platform). The ongoing pregnancy and live birth rates significantly increased by a relative 13 percent in the PGTai 2.0 group as compared to subjective and prior methodologies. Study results also suggest that the increase in ongoing pregnancy and live births may be linked to improvements in several preceding IVF outcomes (implantation rates, clinical pregnancy rates and pregnancy loss.) (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 30.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Liron Rozenkrantz Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program in Placebo Studies, Harvard Medical School Former PhD student at Human Olfaction Research group, Department of Neurobiology Weizmann Institute of Science Reut Weissgross Research student Human Olfaction Research group, Department of Neurobiology Weizmann Institute of Science MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A pregnancy loss is not such a rare event as you would think: it is estimated that about 50% of all conceptions (or 15% of the documented pregnancies) end in spontaneous miscarriage. About 1-2% of all couples trying to conceive will experience recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL), meaning 2-3 consecutive miscarriages, and despite going through numerous clinical investigations (hormonal tests, genetics and so) - about half of these cases will remain unexplained. This devastating phenomenon leaves couples with no explanation as to why they cannot bear a child. While most research in this field is focused on the reproductive organs (mainly the uterus), hormones and genes, we set out to look for new possible routes. The literature regarding the tight connection between olfaction and reproduction, mainly by social body-odors (or pheromones), is heavily documented, especially in rodents. Body-odors emitted from males affect pubertal development of juvenile female rodents and estrus cycle, and females body odors affect other females’ fertility state. The most robust phenomenon in this relation is the Bruce effect, in which pregnant female mice who are exposed to body-odors from a non-stud male - will experience impanation failure in 80% of exposures! Since there is growing evidence for the involvement of the olfactory system in human reproduction, we asked whether the olfactory system is also involved in human reproductive disorders such as unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss (uRPL). To answer this question, we recruited 40 women experiencing uRPL and 57 matched controls (who never experienced a miscarriage, and are at similar age to the uRPL women), and compared their olfactory profile, mainly in response to men’s body-odors. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Fertility, Technology / 16.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hadi Shafiee, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are some of the characteristics that AI uses to identify blastocysts witha better chance of successful implantation?  Response: In-vitro fertilization (IVF), while a solution to many infertile couples is still extremely inefficient with a success rate of nearly 30% and is both mentally, physically, and economically taxing to patients. The IVF process involves the insemination of eggs and the culture of embryos externally in a fertility lab before transferring the developed embryo to the mother. A major challenge in the field is deciding on the embryos that need to be transferred during IVF, such that chances of a healthy birth are maximal and any complications for both mother and child are minimal. Currently, the tools available to embryologists when making such are extremely limited and expensive, and thus, most embryologists are required to make these life-altering decisions using only their observational skills and expertise. In such scenarios, their decision-making process is extremely subjective and tends to be variable. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility / 10.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julia Stern (Jünger) Georg-August-University Göttingen Georg-Elias-Müller-Institute of Psychology Biological Personality Psychology Göttingen  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The main background for this study was the Good Genes Ovulatory Shift Hypothesis. This Hypothesis is quite famous in evolutionary social sciences. It claims that women’s mate preferences should shift across their ovulatory cycle, regulated by changing hormone levels (mainly estradiol and progesterone). More precisely, when fertile, women should be sexually attracted to men who displayed assumed indicators of genetic quality, e.g. dominant behavior, whereas when not fertile, women should prefer to mate with potential long-term partners. This Hypothesis has received criticism in the recent years, because of studies not finding any evidence for it, studies with positive evidence were criticized for methodological problems, and studies claiming that previously presumed indicators of good genes do not really display good genes at all. All this criticism led to a debate about the existence of mate preference shifts across women’s ovulatory cycle. My colleagues and I wanted to contribute to this debate by conducting a large study with strong research methods. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE / 27.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shi Wu Wen PhD Senior Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology University of Ottawa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have shown that having a baby as a result of using assisted procedures such as IVF nearly doubles the chance that a baby will have heart problems. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, NIH, Supplements / 08.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Enrique Schisterman, Ph.D. Chief, Epidemiology Branch, DIPHR Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NICHD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Small studies indicated that zinc and folic acid supplements for men might improve semen quality as both zinc and folic acid are involved in DNA transcription and have antioxidant functions. But no large-scale randomized trials have been done to assess efficacy, which is important since dietary supplements are largely unregulated, and FDA cannot regulate supplements until after they come to market. Some male fertility-targeted supplements are already among the most commonly sold supplement products, despite the lack of data to guide their use.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Fertility, OBGYNE / 11.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marie Hargreave, PhD Senior Researcher Danish Cancer Society Research Center Copenhagen MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Very few studies have examined the association between frozen embryo transfer and the risk of childhood cancer and most of them have been too small to show any effects. In our large nationwide population based study we found that frozen embryo replacement was associated with an increased risk of childhood cancer and especially for leukemia and neuroblastomas. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Yale / 10.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emma Xiaolu Zang, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Sociology, Yale University New Haven, CT MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the past decade, Generation Xers—individuals born between the early or mid-1960s and early 1980s—have outnumbered Baby Boomers (i.e. individuals born 1946-64) and currently make up a larger segment of the United States (US) labour force. There is a debate on whether college-educated women in Generation X have spawned a major shift in labor and fertility behaviors compared with their Baby Boomer counterparts because they are less ambitious in balancing family and career and tend to prioritize child-rearing. This study finds some support for this argument. Results reveal that Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) are increasing across cohorts for all educational groups and the increase is greatest for college-educated women. The increase in cohort TFR among college-educated women is being primarily driven by an increasing proportion of those with two children transitioning to a third birth.  (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 15.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nancy Phillips, MD Clinical Assistant Professor Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Women's Health Institute New Brunswick, NJ MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background of this article was as an interest piece prompting a literature review. We both felt it represented an underserved clinical need. The main findings are that the paternal age at conception does impact pregnancy outcomes,  including pregnancy complications, fetal chromosomal anomalies and childhood cancers and psychological disorders. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 19.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Daniel R Brison PhD, FRCPath Scientific Director Department of Reproductive Medicine Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust Old St. Mary's Hospital Manchester U.K and Catherine M Castillo PhD Maternal & Fetal Health Research Centre Division of Developmental Biology and Medicine School of Medical Sciences, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health The University of Manchester  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: IVF conceived children have been known to have poorer birth outcomes when compared to spontaneously conceived children. Even when excluding twins and triplets, which result from more complicated pregnancies, IVF singletons have an increased risk of low birth weight and being born small for “dates” (length of gestation).  This is important as studies carried out in non-IVF children show that low birth weight is associated with slightly higher risk of disease in later life. We knew from the literature that birth outcomes differed within the IVF population depending on the type of treatment used; for example, singletons conceived from frozen/thawed embryos are born with higher average birth weights when compared to their fresh embryo conceived counterparts. Our research team wanted to investigate whether IVF practices and technologies per se (which have advanced quite rapidly over the years since 1978 when the first IVF baby was conceived) were associated with differences in singleton birth weight. In attempting to quantify historical changes in laboratory practice going back as far as we could, we discovered that our outcome of interest – birth weight – had indeed increased notably throughout the time period covered by the available data. Besides observing an increase in birth weight of almost 180g over the study period (when accounting for child gender, gestational age and maternal parity), we also observed that frozen embryo transfer was associated with higher birth weight, and spontaneous fetal reduction and longer duration of infertility were associated with lower average birth weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility / 19.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Simone Immler PhD School of Biological Sciences University of East Anglia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sperm produced by one male vary substantially both in their genetic content as well as their swimming ability including speed and duration. In a previous study in the zebrafish, we showed that sperm swimming duration is at least partly determined by the underlying haploid genetic content carried by the different sperm within an ejaculate (alavioon et al. 2017 PNAS). If sperm with different swimming ability differ in their genetic content, we expect to see differences among the offspring sired by sperm that vary on their swimming ability. In our new study, we tested how selection on  sperm swimming duration affects offspring fitness. We performed in vitro fertilisation assays mimicking natural conditions in the externally fertilising zebrafish. We split the ejaculate of one male into two halves and in one half we added the sperm straight away to the eggs, allowing all motile sperm to have a go at fertilising an  egg. In the second half, we activated the sperm but delayed the moment of fertilisation by 25 seconds and thus selected for the longer swimming sperm. In this treatment only sperm that were still swimming after this period of time (about 50%) were able to fertilise an egg. We then reared the offspring to adulthood and measured number of offspring produced throughout life and measured lifespan. We found that sperm that were able to swim for longer sired offspring that not only produced more and healthier offspring but also lived for longer than their full siblings sired by sperm with reduced swimming ability. Our previous research (Alavioon et al. 2017 PNAS) suggests that these differences are caused at least partly by genetic differences among sperm. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Fertility, McGill, OBGYNE / 04.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Natalie Dayan MD MSc FRCPC General Internal Medicine and Obstetric Medicine, Clinician-Scientist, Research Institute Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) McGill University Health Centre Montréal QC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infertility treatment is rising in use and has been linked with maternal and perinatal complications in pregnancy, but the extent to which it is associated with severe maternal morbidity (SMM), a composite outcome of public health importance, has been less well studied. In addition, whether the effect is due to treatment or to maternal factors is unclear. We conducted a propensity matched cohort study in Ontario between 2006 and 2012. We included 11 546 women who had an infertility-treated pregnancy and a singleton live or stillborn delivery beyond 20 weeks. Each woman exposed to infertility treatment was then matched using a propensity score to approximately 5 untreated pregnancies (n=47 553) in order to address confounding by indication. Poisson regression revealed on overall 40% increase in the risk of a composite of SMM (one of 44 previously validated indicators using ICD-10CA codes and CCI procedure codes) (30.3 per 1000 births vs. 22.8 per 1000 births, adjusted relative risk 1.39, 95% CI 1.23-1.56). When stratified according to invasive (eg., IVF) and non-invasive treatments (eg. IUI or pharmacological ovulation induction), women who were treated with IVF had an elevated risk of having any severe maternal morbidity, and of having 3 or more SMM indicators (adjusted odds ratio 2.28, 95% CI 1.56 – 3.33), when compared with untreated women, whereas women who were treated with non-invasive treatments had no increase in these risks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Fertility, OBGYNE / 05.10.2018

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. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Fertility / 19.07.2018

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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Nature / 09.06.2018

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 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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, JAMA, OBGYNE / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Acupuncture Needle” by Acid Pix is licensed under CC BY 2.0Caroline 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Sexual Health / 22.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Sugar / 15.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Fertility, JAMA, OBGYNE, Thyroid Disease / 13.12.2017

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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