Study Finds No Link To Autism, ADHD In Offspring From Antidepressant Use In Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program Women’s Mental Health Program Women’s College Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Vigod

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program
Women’s Mental Health Program
Women’s College Hospital
Toronto, ON

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

Response: Depression is one of the most common problems that can complicate a pregnancy. Untreated, or incompletely treated, it can be associated with significant harm to mother and child. While psychotherapies alone may be effective for women with mild (or even moderate) severity symptoms, sometimes antidepressant medication is required. In these cases, the benefits of treatment must be weighed against potential risks. Previous research suggested that there may be an increased risk for autism in children exposed to antidepressant medication during pregnancy. However, previous studies were limited in their ability to account for other potential causes of autism in their analyses. In our study, we used several different strategies to try to compare children whose pregnancy exposures were very similar, except for exposure to an antidepressant.

The main finding was that after using these strategies, there was no longer a statistically significant association between in-utero antidepressant exposure and autism.

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Review of Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders According to Period of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florence Gressier MD PhD

Insermk Department of psychiatry
CHU de Bicêtrem Le Kremlin Bicêtre
France

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

Response: Results from recent studies have suggested an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in children exposed to antidepressants in utero.

We performed a systematic review of and a meta-analysis of published studies to assess the association between ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester of pregnancy and preconception.

Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a significant association between increased ASD risk and maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy; however, it appears to be more consistent during the preconception period than during each trimester. In addition, the association was weaker when controlled for past maternal mental illness. Maternal psychiatric disorders in treatment before pregnancy rather than antenatal exposure to antidepressants could have a major role in the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Maternal Obesity Linked To Increased Risk of Epilepsy in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Neda Razaz-Vandyke, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Reproductive Epidemiology Unit
Karolinska Institutet  

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

Response:   There is a growing concern about long-term neurological effects of prenatal exposure to maternal overweight and obesity.

The etiology of epilepsy is poorly understood and in more than 60% of cases no definitive cause can be determined. We found that maternal overweight and obesity increased the risks of childhood epilepsy in a dose-response pattern.

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Antibiotics in Pregnancy Increase Children’s Risk of Otitis Media and Ventilation Tubes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc

Professor of Pediatrics
The Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Copenhagen
Copenhagen University Hospital, Gentofte
Copenhagen, Denmark

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

Response: The consumption of antibiotics is increasing worldwide. Antibiotics alter the maternal bacterial colonization and by vertical transmission this can affect the offspring. An unfavorable microbiome may increase the disease propensity of the offspring.
Otitis media is one of the most common infections in early childhood. We hypothesized that antibiotic consumption in pregnancy can increase the children’s risk of otitis media.
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Tridimensional Visualization and Analysis of Early Human Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alain Chedotal, PhD Group Leader, Institut de la Vision (Inserm/UPMC/CNRS), Paris

Dr. Chedotal

Alain Chedotal, PhD
Group Leader, Institut de la Vision (Inserm/UPMC/CNRS), Paris and

Sylvain Berlemont, PhD CEO & Founder of Keen Eye Technologies, Incubateur Institut de la Vision, Paris

Dr. Berlemont

Sylvain Berlemont, PhD
CEO & Founder of Keen Eye Technologies, Incubateur Institut de la Vision, Paris

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

Response: What was known about human embryo development was based on histological techniques developed at the beginning of the twentieth century and no significant progress had been made for about fifty years. A few years ago our team found a method allowing to perform immunostaining on whole-mouse embryos and adult mouse brains. Complete 3D images of the intact samples could be obtained after they were cleared with solvents and imaged with a light sheet microscope.

In this new study we have adapted this method to human embryos during the first trimester of gestation. We provide for the first time high-resolution 3D images of the developing peripheral nervous, muscular, vascular, cardiopulmonary, and urogenital systems. We found evidence for important in differences in the embryonic pattern of nerve branches between the right and left hands. We also present evidence for a differential vascularization of the male and female genital tracts concomitant with sex determination.
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Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Improves Luteal Function in Obese Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

Dr. Polotsky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Quadrivalent HPV Vaccination and the Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anders Hviid

Senior Investigator, M.Sc.,Dr.Med.Sci.
Department of Epidemiology Research
Division of National Health Surveillance & Research

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

Response: HPV vaccination targeting girls and young women has been introduced in many countries throughout the world. HPV vaccines are not recommended for use in pregnancy, but given the target group, inadvertent exposure will occur in early unrecognized pregnancies. However, data on the safety of HPV vaccination in pregnancy is lacking.
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Women With Health Insurance for IVF More Likely To Have Successful Live Birth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

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

Dr. Jungheim

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

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

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

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

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

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Birth Outcomes Among Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hazel B. Nichols, PhD, UNC, assistant professor Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. Nichols

Hazel B. Nichols, PhD, UNC
Assistant professor
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

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

Response: Each year more than 45,000 adolescent and young adult women (AYA, ages 15-39 years) are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. While many of these women may wish to have children in the years following diagnosis, there is currently little information available to address their concerns about the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on future pregnancy.

We identified >2,500 women who had a child after their cancer diagnosis using data from the North Carolina Central Cancer registry and statewide birth certificate files. We investigated whether adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight, were more common among AYA cancer survivors compared to women without cancer. We also looked at infant Apgar scores, which measure newborn health, and a calculation called small-for-gestational age, which can indicate restricted growth during pregnancy.

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Should Teenagers Be Able To Get Oral Contraceptives Over The Counter?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krishna K. Upadhya, M.D., M.P.H. Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Department of Pediatrics Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287

Dr. Upadhya

Krishna K. Upadhya, M.D., M.P.H.
Division of General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD 21287

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

Response: Our study reviewed medical literature to examine the question of whether minor teens should be treated differently from older women with regard to a future over the counter oral contraceptive product.  Our analysis found that oral contraceptive pills are safe and effective for teens and there is no scientific rationale to restrict access to a future oral contraceptive pill based on age.

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Human Placenta May Be Most Vulnerable To Zika In First Trimester

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

R. Michael Roberts

Dr. R. Michael Roberts

R. Michael Roberts PhD
Curators’ Distinguished Professor
240b Bond Life Sciences Center
Columbia, Missouri 65211-7310

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

Response: My background in placental biology and in communication between the embryo and the mother in early pregnancy made me curious about how the zika virus (ZIKV) crossed the placenta in early pregnancy to cause microcephaly. My group had been working on a laboratory model for placental trophoblast for over 10 years. We generate trophoblast from human pluripotent cells (embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells) by exposing them to the growth factor BMP4 and two pharmaceuticals that inhibit the signaling pathways necessary to maintain pluripotency. I was curious to determine whether or not ZIKV could infect these cells, replicate, and release infectious virus, because work from my collaborator Yoel Sadovsky at the University of Pittsburgh indicated that the mature placenta was likely to be resistant to infection.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: There are, I believe two striking outcomes from this work.

One is that the results indicate that the human placenta is likely most vulnerable to infection by Zika during the first trimester. We also suggest that women whose fetus is affected from an infection occurring later in pregnancy likely had a past dengue infection. The second striking result is that the African strain of Zika may have greater virulence towards early placenta than the Asian strains, such as the ones that have spread in the New World.

The work with the virus only began when we realized that term trophoblasts lacked expression of the genes that encode the protein factors that promote flavivirus infection (ZIKV is a flavivirus, like dengue, West Nile virus), e.g. TYRO3, AXL, MERTK, and also had a poised innate immune system that would counteract virus replication. Conversely, the trophoblasts we create from embryonic stem cells had the factors that would promote virus uptake, but seemed ill-prepared to counteract virus replication once infection occurred. In other words, the early placental trophoblasts were potentially more susceptible to infection. We confirmed this hypothesis with two strains of ZIKV (an Asian strain related to the one encountered in Brazil, and an African strain often considered to be relatively benign). What was unexpected was the African strain appeared to be more virulent than the Asian strain.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Whether the early placenta could be protected by some sort of immune therapy or by prior vaccination of the mother is clearly uncertain at present. Vaccination programs have not been altogether successful when used to protect against Dengue, which is a virus related to ZIKV.

There is evidence that the early placenta is also permissive to other viruses, such as Rubella. Also there is a very interesting paper in the Journal of the American medical Association by Honein et al. that was published on December 15, 2016. In this study, the overall risk for microcephaly and other brain abnormalities in infants born to a large cohort of U.S. women exposed to ZIKV while traveling (n = 442) was 5.9 % (18), and, of these, there were no cases noted among the women known to have been infected during their second or third trimesters. In Brazil, women appear to be at risk for fetal infections by ZIKV throughout their pregnancies but this may be because they had experienced an earlier infection by Dengue. I have discussed this puzzle in the paper.

I have no disclosures to make, nor conflicts of interest regarding the research or this response to your queries.

Citation:

PNAS Plus – Biological Sciences – Applied Biological Sciences:
Megan A. Sheridan, Dinar Yunusov, Velmurugan Balaraman, Andrei P. Alexenko, Shinichiro Yabe, Sergio Verjovski-Almeida, Danny J. Schust, Alexander W. Franz, Yoel Sadovsky, Toshihiko Ezashi, and R. Michael Roberts
Vulnerability of primitive human placental trophoblast to Zika virus PNAS 2017 114 (9) E1587-E1596; published ahead of print February 13, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1616097114

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Maternal Cancer During Pregnancy Linked To Stillbirths and Infant Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donghao Lu. PhD student Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institute

Dr. Donghao Lu

Donghao Lu PhD student
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institute

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

Response: Cancer during pregnancy is a rare event. Whether prenatal exposure to a maternal malignancy and its treatment during pregnancy impair fetal development and neonatal health is, however, of great clinical concern. The risks of fatal outcomes such as stillbirth and infant mortality, however, have rarely been successfully explored in pregnancies complicated with cancer, in either clinical or population-based studies.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of stillbirth (Incidence Rate Ratio, IRR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.2 to 5.0), mainly stillbirths assessed as small for gestational age (SGA), and with increased risk of preterm SGA births (relative risk 3.0; 95% CI, 2.1 to 4.4). Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy or the year after pregnancy were associated with increased risks of both neonatal mortality (deaths within 0 to 27 days; IRR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.3 to 5.6 and IRR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.2, respectively) and preterm birth (IRR, 5.8; 95% CI, 5.3 to 6.5 and IRR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 1.8, respectively). The positive association with preterm birth was due to iatrogenic instead of spontaneous preterm birth. Preterm birth explained 89% of the association of maternal cancer during pregnancy with neonatal mortality.

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

Response: Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy was associated with increased risks of stillbirths assessed as SGA and preterm SGA live birth, suggesting that cancer and its treatment during pregnancy may impair fetal growth. Maternal cancer diagnosed during or shortly after pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of neonatal mortality, largely attributable to iatrogenic preterm birth. Although stillbirth and neonatal death are rare outcomes, the absolute risks of SGA and preterm birth are not small in pregnancies complicated with cancer. Careful monitoring of fetal growth and cautious decision making on the choices as well as the timing of preterm delivery should therefore be reinforced in these pregnancies.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Sweden is among the high-income countries with the lowest stillbirth and infant mortality rates, and these rates have decreased over time in many populations. Future studies in other populations are warranted to confirm our findings. Our data have also highlighted several cancer types, such as blood cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer, which entail highly increased risk of SGA or preterm birth and might be worthy of further exploration. 

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Maternal Cancer During Pregnancy and Risks of Stillbirth and Infant Mortality

Donghao Lu, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Karin E. Smedby, Katja Fall, Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, Sven Cnattingius, and Fang Fang

Journal of Clinical Oncology
DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.69.9439 Journal of Clinical Oncology – published online before print March 6, 2017

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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