Author Interviews, Fertility, Sexual Health / 22.04.2018 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 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 Interview with: Dr. Elizabeth E. Hatch, PhD Professor, Epidemiology School of Public Health Boston University What is the background for this study?   Response: We are conducting a large, ongoing, preconception cohort study, PREgnancy STudy Online or 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 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 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.
Author Interviews, Fertility, Heart Disease, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 30.11.2017 Interview with: “2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine - development of the in vitro fertilization procedure” by Solis Invicti is licensed under CC BY 2.0Paolo Cavoretto MD PhD San Raffaele Scientific Centre Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department Milan Italy 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Geriatrics, Kidney Disease / 06.11.2017 Interview with: Silvi Shah, MD, FACP, FASN| Assistant Professor Division of Nephrology University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 15.06.2017 Interview with: Prof. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD Radiologia de Intervenção Hospital Saint Louis - Rua Luz Soriano PortugalProf. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD Radiologia de Intervenção Hospital Saint Louis - Rua Luz Soriano Portugal 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. 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Fertility, Karolinski Institute, OBGYNE / 08.05.2017 Interview with: Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow Reproductive Epidemiology Unit Karolinska Institutet 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Weight Research / 04.04.2017 Interview with: Alex J. Polotsky, MD Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Colorado Denver Practice homepage 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Fertility, OBGYNE / 29.03.2017 Interview with: Emily S. Jungheim, MD, MSCI Assistant Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Washington University St. Louis, Missouri 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. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Cancer Research, Fertility, Immunotherapy / 27.03.2017 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 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 (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Fertility / 15.03.2017 Interview with: Matthias Straub Senior Director, Clinical Development Abbott 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Fertility, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 13.03.2017 Interview with: Jacob A. Udell MD MPH FRCPC Cardiovascular Division Women's College Hospital Toronto General Hospital University of Toronto 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Fertility, Sexual Health, STD / 01.03.2017 Interview with: Dr. Kristen Kreisel PhD Epidemiologist at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Fertility, OBGYNE / 11.02.2017 Interview with: Saswati Sunderam, PhD Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC. 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Fertility, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 30.01.2017 Interview with: Tamar Wainstock, PhD Department of Public Health; Faculty of Health Sciences Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ISRAEL 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Fertility, OBGYNE / 01.12.2016 Interview with: Jennifer F. Kawwass, MD, FACOG Assistant Professor, Emory Reproductive Center Director of Third Party Reproduction, Emory Reproductive Center 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Fertility, OBGYNE / 21.11.2016 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Fertility, OBGYNE / 21.10.2016 Interview with: Kavita Vedhara FAcSS Professor of Health Psychology Division of Primary Care School of Medicine University Park,Nottingham 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. If you are trying to obtain a perfect cortisol balance, I use this product that helps to do just that. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Endocrinology, Fertility / 03.09.2016 Interview with: Anders Rehfeld MD, PhD Student Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine University of Copenhagen Copenhagen Denmark 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE, PNAS / 23.08.2016 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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Fertility, JAMA, OBGYNE / 20.07.2016 Interview with: Alexandra W. van den Belt-Dusebout, PhD Department of Epidemiology The Netherlands Cancer Institute The Netherlands 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, HPV, OBGYNE, STD / 12.07.2016 Interview with: Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil What is the background for this study? Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) share the same route of sexual transmission and possess similar risk factors, indicating that co-infection may act synergistically in the induction of epithelial cell abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, Herpes Viruses, Infections, PLoS / 09.07.2016 Interview with: Roberta Rizzo PhD Department of Medical Sciences Section of Microbiology University of Ferrara Ferrara, Italy What is the background for this study? Response: Infertility affects approximately 6% of 15-44 year old women or 1.5 million women in the US, according to the CDC. Approximately 25% of female infertility cases are unexplained, leaving women with few options other than expensive fertility treatments. Researchers are trying to identify factors and mechanisms at the basis of this condition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, Fertility / 04.07.2016 Interview with: Jessica Datta Department of Social & Environmental Health Research London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London What is the background for this study? Response: The paper presents an analysis of data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). Natsal-3 is a survey of more than 15,000 women and men aged 16-74 resident in Britain, conducted in 2010-2012, which includes a wide range of questions about sexual relationships and behaviour and reproductive history. In this paper we analysed responses to the questions: ‘Have you ever had a time, lasting 12 months or longer, when you and a partner were trying for a pregnancy but it didn’t happen?’ and ‘Have you (or a partner) ever sought medical or professional help about infertility?’. As well as calculating the prevalence of experience of infertility and help seeking, we looked at associated factors e.g. education, employment, relationship status. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Fertility, Social Issues / 21.06.2016 Interview with: Ghenet Besera, MPH National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC What is the background for this study? Response: The Title X program, established in 1970, offers confidential family planning and related preventive services to both men and women. While most clients are women, Title X also promotes use of services by men through delivery of male-focused services. Men’s family planning needs include services not only related to contraception, but also related to preconception care, infertility, and STD/ HIV services, which affect their reproductive health and overall health. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Fertility, OBGYNE / 09.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Scott Sills MD, PhD Medical Director at the Center for Advanced Genetics an IVF program based in Carlsbad, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sills: Often regarded as a miracle procedure by many infertile couples, in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be financially difficult for those without insurance coverage for the treatment. This prohibitive cost leads many would-be parents who pursue IVF to transfer multiple embryos at once, to increase their chances of getting a baby and minimize the need for additional attempts. This new study now reports that the economic impact of IVF deserves a closer look. As corresponding author E. Scott Sills, MD PhD noted, rates of cesarean-section deliveries, premature births, and low birth weight of babies are all greater with two or more embryos transferred to the mother at once, compared to a lower risk, single-embryo pregnancy. The data derived from a comprehensive analysis of all IVF cases in Vermont (UVM) and was recently published in the journal Applied Health Economics & Health Policy. It is believed to be the first effort to calculate the difference in infant hospital costs based on the number of embryos transferred. Sills and his team had access to UVM Medical Center records of patients who conceived through IVF and delivered at least 20 weeks into their pregnancies between 2007 and 2011. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, FASEB, Fertility / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Paola Grimaldi, PhD Associate Professor of Anatomy Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, School of Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata Rome, Italy What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Grimaldi: Our previous studies reported that mouse mitotic germ cells, spermatogonia, express type 2 cannabinoid receptor (CB2) and its stimulation promoted differentiation and meiotic entry of these cells in vitro. In this study we demonstrate that CB2 plays a role of in regulating the correct progression of spermatogenesis in vivo and we found that the use of exogenous agonist or antagonist of this receptor disrupts the normal differentiation of germ cells. This suggests that a basal and finely regulated level of endocannabinoids in male germ cells activate CB2, thus maintaining the homeostasis of spermatogenesis. Another important novelty of our study is that CB2 activation in developing germ cells determines the appearance of modifications in DNA-bound proteins, which are known to impact on gene expression and inheritance of specific traits in developing germ cells. An exciting idea could be that these modifications might be maintained in the mature spermatozoa and transmitted to the offspring. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 15.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Kieron Barclay PhD Department of Social Policy London School of Economics What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Barclay: Mean age at childbearing has been increasing in most countries in the OECD since the early 1970s. A wealth of research has shown that childbearing at advanced ages is associated with greater difficulty in terms of getting pregnant, higher rates of miscarriage, stillbirth, and increased risk of poor peri-natal outcomes such as pre-term birth and low birth weight. Studies also indicate that the offspring of older mothers have a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and mortality in adulthood. However, from the perspective of any individual woman, delaying childbearing to an older age necessarily also means that she will give birth in a later birth year. The last 40 to 50 years have seen substantial improvements in educational opportunities, and better public health conditions and medical knowledge. As a result, these positive secular trends may outweigh or counterbalance the negative effects of reproductive aging for the child. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Fertility, Gender Differences, Karolinski Institute, Mammograms, Radiology / 14.04.2016 Interview with: Frida Lundberg | PhD Student Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Fertility treatments involve stimulation with potent hormonal drugs that increase the amount of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. These hormones have been linked to breast cancer risk. Further, as these treatments are relatively new, most women who have gone through them are still below the age at which breast cancer is usually diagnosed. Therefore we wanted to investigate if infertility and fertility treatments influences mammographic breast density, a strong marker for breast cancer risk that is also hormone-responsive. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that women with a history of infertility had higher absolute dense volume than other women. Among the infertile women, those who had gone through controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) had the highest absolute dense volume. The results from our study indicate that infertile women, especially those who undergo COS, might represent a group with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the observed difference in dense volume was relatively small and has only been linked to a modest increase in breast cancer risk in previous studies.  As the infertility type could influence what treatment the couples undergo, the association might also be due to the underlying infertility rather than the treatment per se. (more…)