USPSTF Recommends Interventions to Prevent Perinatal Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Karina Davidson, PhD Professor of Behavioral Medicine (in Medicine and Psychiatry) Executive Director, Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Davidson

Dr. Karina Davidson, PhD
Professor of Behavioral Medicine (in Medicine and Psychiatry)
Executive Director, Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health
Columbia University Medical Center

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

Response: Perinatal depression, which includes depression that develops during pregnancy or after childbirth, is one of the most common complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting as many as 1 in 7 pregnant women. The Task Force found that counseling can help those who are at increased risk of developing perinatal depression, and clinicians should provide or refer pregnant and postpartum individuals who are at increased risk to counseling. Clinicians can determine who might be at increased risk of perinatal depression by looking at someone’s history of depression, current depressive symptoms, socioeconomic risk factors, recent intimate partner violence, and other mental-health related factors.

Continue reading

Risk of Spontaneous Abortion & Birth Defects with Oral Yeast Drug During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQS on Medications and Pregnancy Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM) Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montrealand Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine

Dr. Bérard

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Research chair FRQS on Medications and Pregnancy
Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament
Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montrealand
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center
CHU Ste-Justin

 

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

Response: Yeast infections are common during pregnancy (10%). Although topical treatments are first-line therapies, yeast infections during gestation are often more severe and are resistant to topical options. Hence, low dose oral fluconazole is often the treatment of choice for pregnant women (1 dose for 1 day).

Human and animal studies have shown that high dose of fluconazole is teratogenic.Few studies are available for the risk associated with low dose of fluconazole (the most used during pregnancy). Also, no one has studied the combined effect of low- and high-dose fluconazole use during pregnancy on overall adverse pregnancy outcomes (spontaneous abortions, stillbirths and major malformations).  Continue reading

Ultrasensitive DNA Screening for Down Syndrome Offers Potential for Early Detection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhiyong Zhang PhD Key Laboratory for the Physics and Chemistry of Nanodevices and  Department of Electronics Peking University Beijing China

Prof. Zhang

Zhiyong Zhang PhD
Key Laboratory for the Physics and Chemistry of Nanodevices
Department of Electronics
Peking University
Beijing China

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

Response: Down syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome within the genome and is the most common birth defect (occurring in approximately 1 in 800 births). In the absence of a multiplexed quantitative diagnostic device, pregnant women have been examined with the ultrasound and the indirect biochemical markers (Alpha-fetoprotein, chorionic gonadotropin and free estriol) which are accompanied with a high misdiagnosis rate. And the diagnostic test (such as amniocentesis) following the wrong screening test results will bring harm to both the pregnant women and the fetuses.

Through PCR (polymerization chain reaction) amplification of the fetal DNA in the pregnant mother’s peripheral blood and fluorescence read-out, whole-genome sequencing (WGS)-based non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) sequences all the genomic DNA segments in parallel and quantitatively compares the percentage of different chromosomes, which increases the sensitivity for prenatal detection of Down syndrome. However, the complex instrumental setups and the resulted high processing cost present challenges for the large-scale application of WGS-based diagnosis at the point of care in the urban and rural areas of developing countries. Hence, beside the costly WGS method, there is an urgent need to develop a cost-effective NIPT biochip with simple instrumental setting, fast detection speed, high sensitivity, and programmable to multiple disease markers.

Taking advantages of we have developed a novel field effect transistor (FET) based biosensor that reveals a fast, ultra-sensitive, highly specific and cost-effective methods and someday can be used to detect fetal Down syndrome in NIPT.  Continue reading

HPV Testing for Primary Cervical Cancer Screening

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matejka Rebolj, PhD King’s College London, London, UK

Dr. Rebolj

Matejka Rebolj, PhD
King’s College London, London, UK

Henry Kitchener, MD FRCOG FRCS University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Dr. Kitchener

 

Professor Henry Kitchener, MD FRCOG FRCS
University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

 

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

Response: We now have reliable and affordable technologies to detect human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus which is universally accepted as the cause of cervical cancer. Various large trials confirmed that cervical screening could be improved by replacing the smear (cytology) test that has been in use for decades, with HPV testing. Many countries are now making the switch. In England, this is planned for the end of 2019. To test how to run HPV testing within the English National Health Service, a pilot was initiated in 2013 in six screening laboratories. We also wanted to determine whether the encouraging findings from the trials could be translated to everyday practice. This is important not only because we will be using different HPV tests, but also because women undergoing screening in trials are much more selected than those who are invited to population-based screening.  Continue reading

Birth Control Pills May Make It Harder for Women To Identify Complex Emotions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych. Universität Greifswald Institut für Psychologie Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie University of Greifswald, Germany

Dr. Lischke

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych.
Universität Greifswald
Institut für Psychologie
Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie
University of Greifswald, Germany

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

Response: We know for a long time that cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels affect their emotion recognition abilities by modulating neural activity in brain regions implicated in emotion processing. We also know that oral contraceptives suppress cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels. We, thus, assumed that oral contraceptives would affect womens’ emotion recognition abilities due to the aforementioned suppression of cylic variations in estrogen and progesterone levels that modulate neural activity in brain regions during emotion processing. To test this assumption, at least with respect to the behavioral effects of oral contraceptive use on emotion recognition, we performed the current study.

We recruited regular cylcling women with and without oral contraceptive use for our study. None of the women were in psychotherapeutical or psychopharmacological treatment at the time of the study. During the study, women performed a emotion recognition task that required the recognition of complex emotional expressions like, for example, pride or contempt.
Continue reading

Adverse Outcomes More Likely in Infants Born to Mothers Who Get the Flu

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kim NewsomeCDC

Kim Newsome

Kim Newsome, MPH
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
CDC 

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

Response: This study supports data from previous studies that have shown increased risks for infants born to pregnant women who are severely ill with flu.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our study found that severely ill women with 2009 H1N1 influenza during pregnancy were more likely to have adverse birth outcomes (such as their baby being born preterm or of low birth weight) than women without influenza. 

Continue reading

Life in the Womb Can Program Future Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Dino A. Giussani PhD ScD FRCOG Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine Department of Physiology Development & Neuroscience University of Cambridge UK Director of Studies in Medicine College Lectureship in Medicine '1958' Gonville & Caius College

Prof. Giussani

Professor Dino A. Giussani PhD ScD FRCOG
Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine
Department of Physiology Development & Neuroscience
University of Cambridge
Director of Studies in Medicine
College Lectureship in Medicine ‘1958’
Gonville & Caius College
UK

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

Response: Heart disease kills 1 in 3 people worldwide.  When we hear about heart disease, the first thing we think of is a gene-environent interaction.  That is to say, how our genes interact with traditional lifestyle factors, such as smoking, obesity and/or a sedentary lifestyle to promote an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  However,  it has also become established that the gene-environment interaction early in life may be just as, if not more, important in ‘programming’ future heart health and heart disease. That is to say, how the quality of the intrauterine environment in which we develop may also shape our future heart risk.  Evidence from human sibling-pair studies suggests that these relationships are causal, that they occur independently of genotype and that they are significantly influenced by the quality of the intrauterine environment during pregnancy.  For instance, bariatric surgery to decrease the weight of obese women reduced the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and raised blood pressure in children born after surgery compared to those born before. Therefore, these studies highlight a disproportionate risk of disease in offspring born from the same mother but under different in utero conditions, providing strong evidence in humans that the environment experienced during this critical period of development directly influences long-term cardiovascular health.

One of the most common outcomes of complicated pregnancy in humans is chronic fetal hypoxia, as can occur during placental insufficiency or preeclampsia.

The main findings of our study show that prenatal hypoxia can programme future heart disease in the offspring and that maternal treatment with the antioxidant vitamin C can be protective (see paper attached). Continue reading

Absolute Risk Low, but Increased Maternal Morbidity Linked to IVF

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

Dr. Dayan

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.

Continue reading

Emergency C-Section Raises Depression Risk For New Moms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Valentina Tonei, PhD  British Academy Research Associate Department of Economics and Related Studies University of York, UK

Dr. Tonei

Valentina Tonei, PhD
British Academy Research Associate
Department of Economics and Related Studies
University of York, UK

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

Response: There has been a growing utilisation of Caesarean sections in the past decades. To put it in a perspective, in the United Kingdom, the caesarean section rate was about 26% in 2015, while in 1990s it was about 12-15%. A similar increase has been observed in other countries, for example in the USA. So, while this study focuses on the United Kingdom, I believe that the evidence from this research can apply also to other countries.

I study the health consequences for mothers who give birth through an emergency caesarean. Thanks to previous studies, we are well-aware of the implications for mothers’ physical health; instead, this research sheds light on the impact on new mothers’ mental health. I find that new mothers who have an emergency caesarean delivery are at higher risk of developing postnatal depression in the first 9 months after the delivery.  Continue reading

Maternal Obesity Raises Risk of Congenital Heart Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Martina Persson, M.D, PhD Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Persson

Martina Persson, M.D, PhD
Karolinska Institute

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

Response: It is well known that maternal obesity increases risks of adverse fetal outcomes, including congenital malformations of the heart. However, it is unclear if maternal overweight and obesity associate with risks of specific and more complex congenital heart defects. We conducted a population-based cohort study in Sweden using data from several health registries. The study included more than 2 million live, singletons born between 1992-2012. Risks (prevalence rate ratios) of complex heart defects (Tetralogy of Fallot, transposition of the great arteries (TGA), atrial septal defects (ASD), aortic arch defects, and single ventricle heart) and several specific heart defects were estimated in infants to mothers with overweight and increasing degree of obesity.

We found that risks of aortic arch defects, ASD and patent ductus arteriosus (in term infants) increased with maternal obesity severity. On the other hand, we found no clear associations between maternal BMI and risks of several other complex and specific heart defects.  Continue reading

Breastfeeding Linked to Less Belly Fat and Smaller Waist Size

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Breast feeding... Like its her job." by Jason Lander is licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Gabrielle G. Snyder, MPH
Department of Epidemiology
Graduate School of Public Health
University of Pittsburgh

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

Response: Although previous studies have investigated the association between breastfeeding duration and maternal weight change, we still do not know if there is an optimal duration of breastfeeding for mothers in order to realize potential health benefits. Furthermore, these studies were unable to determine whether health outcomes were due to breastfeeding or other health-promoting behaviors, like better diet and more physical activity.

Our study aims to address both points. To test the association between breastfeeding duration and maternal waist circumference, we used traditional regression models as well as two additional statistical methods that allowed us to control for factors that may influence if a woman would breastfeed and for how long. We found that women who breastfed more than 6 months had smaller waist circumference, as well as lower body mass index, one decade after delivery compared to women who breastfed 6 months or less. These results were consistent across all statistical methods.  Continue reading

Breast Cancer Risk Remains Elevated 20-30 years After Childbirth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D.  Chief, Epidemiology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences NIH

Dr. Sandler

Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D.
Chief, Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIH

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

Response: Not having children is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer, but most of this evidence comes from studies of postmenopausal women since breast cancer before menopause is relatively uncommon. There is growing evidence that some risk factors differ for premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer – for example obesity which increases risk for breast cancer after menopause but appears to be protective before menopause.

There was some evidence that breast cancer risk increased shortly after pregnancy. It was thought that this risk lasted for 5 to ten years. Studies were unable to fully characterize the duration of this increase in risk or evaluate factors such as breast feeding, age at birth, or family history of breast cancer that could modify the relationship between recent pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer before menopause or age 55 is relatively rare, and few individual studies are large enough to answer these questions.

To answer these questions, we formed the Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, a pooling project involving 20 prospective cohort studies. We included 890,000 women from 15 of these long-term studies across three continents, including over 18,000 incident breast cancer cases.  Continue reading

Less Time in the Womb Linked to Less Education and Income in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
"Pregnancy 1" by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0Josephine Funck Bilsteen, MSc
Department of Pediatrics, Hvidovre University Hospital, Hvidovre,
Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen, Denmark

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

Response: The background of this study is that there is increasing recognition of the longer-term health and social outcomes associated with preterm birth such as independent living, quality of life, self-perception and socioeconomic achievements. However, much less is known about differences in education and income among adults born at different gestational weeks in the term period.

In this study shorter gestational duration, even within the term range, was associated with lower chances of having a high personal income and having completed a secondary or tertiary education at age 28 years. This is the first study to show that adults born at 37 and 38 completed weeks of gestation had slightly lower chances of having a high income and educational level than adults born at 40 completed weeks of gestation.  Continue reading

Does Zofran (ondansetron) for Nausea & Vomiting Cause Birth Defects?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120 

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

Response: Pregnant women often experience nausea and vomiting, particularly during the first trimester.  Early treatment is recommended to relieve symptoms and prevent progression to hyperemesis gravidarum.  Although not formally approved for this indication, ondansetron is the most frequently prescribed treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy in the US: 22% of pregnant women reportedly used ondansetron in the US in 2014. Despite this common use, the available evidence on the fetal safety of ondansetron is limited and conflicting, and the possibility of a doubling in risk of cleft palate and cardiac malformations has been raised.

We therefore evaluated the association between ondansetron exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy, the period of organogenesis, and the risk of congenital malformations in a cohort of 1,816,414,publicly insured pregnancies using the nationwide Medicaid Analytic eXtract data for 2000-2013.  A total of 88,467 women (4.9%) were exposed to ondansetron during the first trimester.  After adjusting for a broad range of potential confounding variables, we found no association with cardiac malformations (RR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.93 – 1.06)  and congenital malformations overall (RR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.98 – 1.05). For oral clefts, we found a 24% increase in risk (RR=1.24; 95% CI, 1.03 – 1.48), which corresponds to an absolute risk of 2.7 per 10,000 births (95% CI, 0.2 – 5.2 per 10,000 births).  These findings were consistent across sensitivity analyses, conducted to address potential misclassification and confounding bias. 

Continue reading

How Do Pregnant Women Decide Which Foods To Avoid To Prevent Food Allergies in Their Children?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Karen Robbins

Dr. Robbins

 Karen Robbins, M.D.
Allergist at Children’s National Health System 

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

Response: The background is that mothers are often concerned that something they did contributed to their children developing food allergies. Many will relate that they ate a lot of one specific food allergen while pregnant, and question how this could have impacted their unborn child. We realized that we hear a lot of anecdotal stories in clinic, but were not sure how frequently mothers try to alter their diet in the hopes of preventing food allergy in their children. We also were not sure where families get information or guidance on this topic. Continue reading

Hysterectomy Can Impair Short Term Memory (at least in rats)

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Ph.D. Professor, Barrett Honors Faculty Department of Psychology Arizona State University

Dr. Bimonte-Nelson

Heather A. Bimonte-Nelson, Ph.D.
Professor, Barrett Honors Faculty
Department of Psychology
Arizona State University

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

Response: The dogma in the field is that the nonpregnant uterus is dormant, and therefore it has not necessarily been of interest to study. Textbooks have described the nonpregnant uterus as “quiescent,” “dormant,” and “useless.” When I was in graduate school studying endocrinology, I read statements in books saying that the sole purpose of the uterus is for gestation.

However, all women aging into midlife will experience some type of menopause, and some of these women will undergo surgical menopause via removal of all, or a part of, their reproductive tracts. Research evaluating reproductive tract-brain connections has grown quite a bit in the last few decades. For example, the ovary-brain connection has been focused on quite a bit, and we now know that hormones coming from the ovaries (such as estrogens and progesterone) can affect more than reproduction, and can impact brain functioning. While the uterus-brain connection is not well understood, there is research indicating that the uterus and autonomic nervous system communicate directly.

We also know that hormones released from the ovaries impact the uterus. Therefore, there is a uterus-ovary-brain triad system. This uterus-ovary-brain triad has undergone little scientific investigation for functions outside of reproduction. Given that by age 60 one in three women experience hysterectomy, thereby interrupting this uterus-ovary-brain triad system, we believe it is important to understand the effects of variants of surgical menopause including hysterectomy.

This led to our current evaluation testing multiple variations in surgical menopause using a rat model, where we tested the effects of uterus removal alone (hysterectomy), ovarian removal alone, or uterus plus ovarian removal.

Continue reading

Kicking in Womb Helps Babies Develop Sense of Their Own Body

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"38 week fetus" by Zappys Technology Solutions is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kimberley Whitehead

Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology
University College London

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

Response: Fetuses move a lot! Very similar movement patterns are seen in both pre-term and full-term newborn infants, but their function is unclear. In animals such as rats, spontaneous movement and consequent feedback from the environment during the early developmental period trigger specific patterns of electrical activity in the brain that are necessary for proper brain mapping.

Continue reading

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Linked to Increased Risk of Some Cancer Types

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Weimin Ye, MD MSC, PhD Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institue

Prof. Ye

Dr. Weimin Ye, MD MSC, PhD
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institue

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

Response: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common endocrine    disorder affecting 5-10% of women of reproductive age. Characterized by hyperandrogenism and metabolic abnormalities, PCOS is known to be related to various long-term health consequences, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and endometrial cancer. Besides, inconsistent results have been reported for the associations between PCOS and the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Studies addressing the risks of other cancers are scarce. Thus, we conducted a large, population-based cohort study with a long follow-up and rather sufficient confounding adjustment to explore the full picture of associations between PCOS and the risks of various cancer types.

We found that PCOS is a risk factor for certain types of cancer, including cancers of the endometrium, ovary, endocrine gland, pancreas, kidney and skeletal & hematopoietic system. Continue reading

Amphetamine Use Even Higher than Opioids Among Rural Pregnant Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation  University of Michigan

Dr. Admon

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

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

In our previous work (https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2017/12000/Disparities_in_Chronic_Conditions_Among_Women.19.aspx), we identified higher rates of deliveries complicated by substance use among rural women. We knew that some of this difference would be accounted for by opioids.What we didn’t expect was that when we took a closer look, amphetamine use disorder accounted for a significant portion of this disparity as well.

The main findings of this study are that, between 2008-09 and 2014-15, amphetamine and opioid use among delivering women increased disproportionately across rural compared to urban counties in three of four census regions. By 2014-15, amphetamine use disorder was identified among approximately 1% of all deliveries in the rural western United States, which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions.

Compared to opioid-related deliveries, amphetamine-related deliveries were associated with higher incidence of the majority of adverse gestational outcomes that we examined including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality.   Continue reading

Mother’s Milk and Microbiome Affect Babies’ Reaction to Diarrhea Disease from Rotavirus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image

3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image

Sasirekha Ramani, PhD
Assistant Professor
Molecular Virology and Microbiology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

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

Response: This work pertains to Rotavirus, a leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting in children under the age of 5 years. In this paper, we described our work with a rotavirus strain that almost exclusively causes neonatal infections. For many years, we have been trying to understand why this strain primarily infects newborns and why infection in some babies is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms while others are asymptomatic. A few years ago, we showed that this particular virus binds to developmentally-regulated glycans (sugars) in the gut as receptors. As the baby grows, these sugars get modified, and that potentially explains why infection with this virus is primarily restricted to neonates. However, we didn’t really have to answer to why there are differences in association with clinical presentations.

Continue reading

Cochrane Reviews Fish Oil Supplements To Reduce Premature Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Philippa Middelton MPH

Associate Professor
Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children
South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
Adelaide, Australia 

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

Response: For several decades, it has been known that fish or fish oils can lengthen gestation.
In our Cochrane review of 70 studies and nearly 20,000 women we show that fish oil (mainly as omega-3 fatty acid supplements), prevents premature birth, specifically

  • An 11% reduction in premature birth < 37 weeks gestation;
  • And a 42% reduction in premature birth < 34 weeks gestation.

Continue reading

Soy Formula Feeding in Infancy Linked with Menstrual Pain in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Baby Bottle" by brokinhrt2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristen Upson, PhD, MPH and
Donna D. Baird, PhD
Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 

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

Response: Menstrual pain is the most common menstrual complaint and can substantially affect the quality of women’s lives. A prior study in young adults who participated in feeding studies as infants reported an increased risk of greater menstrual pain severity in adulthood with soy formula feeding. Since that study, evidence from laboratory animal studies support the disruptive effects of a phytoestrogen present in soy formula, genistein, on reproductive system development, including aspects involved in menstrual pain. The laboratory animal studies also demonstrate that the developmental changes with genistein can persist into adulthood. Given these results, we were interested in further evaluating the association between infant soy formula feeding and menstrual pain in a cohort of young women.

In our study of women ages 23-35 years old, we observed that soy formula feeding during infancy was associated with several indicators of severe menstrual pain in reproductive-age women. This included a 40% increased risk of ever using hormonal contraception for menstrual pain and 50% increased risk of moderate/severe menstrual discomfort with most periods during early adulthood.  Continue reading

Severe Maternal Morbidity Can Be Identified, and Sometimes Prevented

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joel Ray MD, MSc, FRCPC Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto, Toronto

Dr. Ray

Joel Ray MD, MSc, FRCPC
Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto, Toronto

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

Response: Many women who die within childbirth or soon thereafter experience rapid onset of morbidity/illness before succumbing. Thus, severe maternal morbidity (SMM) offers a detectable (or set of detectable) conditions that might be dealt with before they progress to a fatality. Even so, severe maternal morbidity alone can be non-fatal, but create disability for a new mother (e.g., a stroke), or prolong separation of mother and newborn.

So, we showed that, as the number of severe maternal morbidity indicators rises, so does the probability of maternal death. This relation was exponential in nature.   Continue reading

More Postnatal Depression with Baby Boys?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Sarah Myers PhDDr Sarah Myers PhD

Honorary Research Associate
UCL Department of Anthropology

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

Response: Postnatal or postpartum depression is unfortunately common after giving birth; a figure often quoted is 15%, but some studies have found much higher numbers. Postnatal depression is associated with a range of poorer outcomes for mothers and their infants, and the financial costs of treating maternal mental ill health put health services under considerable strain. Studies have found that providing additional emotional support to at risk mothers, for instance via peer support programmes or regular phone calls with health visitors, can reduce the likelihood of them developing the condition. Therefore, it is really important that we understand the full range of risk factors that put women at greater risk of becoming depressed after giving birth.

There is increasing evidence for a link between inflammation and depression, with factors that trigger an inflammatory immune response also increasing the likelihood of depressive symptoms. The opens up the possibility of finding new risk factors for postnatal depression based on known associations with inflammation.

Continue reading

Prenatal Heavy Cannabis Exposure May Diminish Cognitive Functioning Into Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620

Dr. McLaughlin

Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-7620

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

Response: The use of cannabis during pregnancy is a growing health concern, yet the long-term cognitive ramifications for developing offspring remain largely unknown. Human studies exploring the long-term effects of maternal cannabis use have been sparse for several reasons, including the length and cost of such studies, as well as the fact that experimentally assigning mothers to smoke cannabis during pregnancy is obviously ethically impractical. Animal models of maternal cannabis use have been advantageous in this respect, but they have been limited by the drugs used (synthetic cannabinoids vs. THC vs. cannabis plant) and the way that they are administered. In our study, we used a more translationally relevant animal model of maternal cannabis use that exposes pregnant rat dams to whole plant cannabis extracts using the intra-pulmonary route of administration that is most common to human users. Our preliminary data indicate that twice-daily exposure to a high-dose cannabis extract during pregnancy may produce deficits in cognitive flexibility in adult rat offspring. Importantly, these rats did not experience general learning deficits, as they performed comparably to non-exposed offspring when required to follow a cue in their environment that dictate reinforcer delivery. Instead, deficits were observed only when rats were required to disregard this previous cue-based strategy and adopt a new egocentric spatial strategy in order to continue receiving the sugar reinforcers.

Continue reading