Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Fertility, OBGYNE, Technology / 19.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kutluk Oktay, MD, PhD. Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Medicine, and Cell Biology & Anatomy Director, Division of Reproductive Medicine & Institute for Fertility Preservation Innovation Institute for Fertility and In Vitro Fertilization New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Oktay: Cancer treatments cause infertility and early menopause in a growing number of young women around the world and US. One of the strategies to preserve fertility, which was developed by our team, is to cryopreserve ovarian tissue before chemotherapy and later transplant it back to the patient when they are cured of the cancer and ready to have children. However, success of ovarian transplantation has been limited due to limitation in blood flow to grafts. In this study we described a new approach which seems to improve graft function. The utility of an extracellular tissue matrix and robotic surgery seems to enhance graft function. With this approach both patients conceived with frozen embryos to spare and one has already delivered. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, OBGYNE, STD / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Virginia Bowen PhD Epidemic Intelligence Service Division of STD Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention,CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bowen: Congenital syphilis (CS) occurs when a mother infected with syphilis transmits the infection to her child during the course of pregnancy. Our study looked at recent trends in CS between 2008 and 2014. After four years of decline, Congenital syphilis rates increased by 38% from 2012 to 2014. The findings from this report show we are missing opportunities to screen and treat pregnant women for STDs. Syphilis in pregnant women can cause miscarriages, premature births, stillbirths, or death of newborn babies. We have effective tests and treatment for syphilis – there’s no excuse for allowing it to resurge. Every case of CS is one too many. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Toxin Research, Weight Research / 13.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph M. Braun PhD Assistant Professor Department of Epidemiology in the Program in Public Health Brown University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Braun: Perfluoroalkyl substances are a class of chemicals used to produce stain/water repellent textiles, fire fighting foams, and non-stick coatings. Virtually all people in the US have measurable levels of several different perfluoroalkyl substances in their blood. There is concern that early life exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of obesity by reducing fetal growth or promoting adipogenesis. What are the main findings? Dr. Braun: Pregnant women in our study had perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) concentrations in their blood that were over 2-fold higher than pregnant women in the United States (median: 5.3 vs. 2.3 ng/mL) during the same time period (2003-2006). Children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy had a higher body mass index, greater waist circumference, and more body fat at 8 years of age compared to children born to women with lower serum PFOA concentrations. In addition, children born to women with higher serum PFOA concentrations during pregnancy gained more fat mass between 2 and 8 years of age than children born to women with lower PFOA concentrations. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, UCLA / 10.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edward R. B. McCabe, MD, PhD Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Professor Adjunct of Pediatrics Yale University School of Medicine Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Pediatrics & Inaugural Mattel Executive Endowed Chair of Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine Inaugural Physician-in-Chief, Mattel Children's Hospital Chief Medical Officer March of Dimes Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McCabe: The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign was launched in 2003. The goal of the campaign is to lower the rate of premature birth to 8.1 percent of live births by 2020 and to 5.5 percent by 2030. Premature birth is the leading cause of death for newborns, and a major cause of childhood disabilities. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm, and nearly one million die due to complications of an early birth. The U.S. preterm birth rate ranks among the worst of high-resource nations. Babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems, including breathing problems, jaundice, vision loss, cerebral palsy and intellectual delays. The US earned a “C” on the 8th annual March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card which revealed persistent racial, ethnic and geographic disparities within states. The report card provided preterm rates and grades for each state and the largest cities. The report card showed that although some progress is being made in reducing preterm births, not all families are sharing in the success. State specific information is available at marchofdimes.org/reportcard Portland, Oregon has the best preterm birth rate of the top 100 cities with the most births nationwide, while Shreveport, Louisiana has the worst, according to the 2015 Report Card. The U.S. preterm birth rate was 9.6 percent in 2014. The report card shows more than 380,000 babies were born too soon last year. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, OBGYNE / 06.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pedram Gerami, MD Department of Dermatology Northwestern University Chicago, IL Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gerami: The influence of pregnancy on the prognosis of melanoma has been debated for decades. Even in the last ten years, population-based and cohort studies have given us mixed results, with some suggesting no adverse influence of pregnancy, and others reporting poorer outcomes and increased cause-specific mortality. The conflicting data leave many clinicians uncertain of how to advise patients to proceed with family planning after a diagnosis of melanoma. Since one-third of all new cases of melanoma diagnosed in women will occur during childbearing age, this represents a fairly common clinical dilemma for physicians and their patients. We suspected that the different results from different investigators maybe related to the melanoma stage of the patients being studied. We investigated the impact of pregnancy on tumor proliferation in women with primarily early stage melanoma. In comparing melanomas from a group of women with pregnancy-associated melanoma (PAM) and a non-PAM group, we found that women with pregnancy-associated melanoma actually had a significantly greater proportion of in situ disease, and for cases of invasive melanoma there was no significant difference in proliferative activity, as assessed by mitotic count or two immunohistochemical markers of cell proliferation. In a comparison of additional prognostic features such as Breslow depth and ulceration, we found no significant differences between groups to suggest more aggressive tumor behavior in association with pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 04.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Dr. Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS Founder, Center for Human Reproduction Background: What’s My Fertility and the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, have announced the first screening for Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) in young women, based on new research that the FMR1 gene can be predictive of POA. Medical Research: What is Premature Ovarian Aging (POA)? How does POA differ from Premature Ovarian Failure? Dr. Gleicher: Premature Ovarian Aging (POA) is a condition that causes a young woman’s ovaries to age faster than normal. It affects roughly 10% of all women, regardless of race or ethnic background. POA typically causes no symptoms until the ovarian reserve is already very low. Women are born with all their egg cells (called oocytes). Scientists refer to this as a woman’s original “ovarian reserve.” From birth on, significant numbers of these eggs are constantly lost until menopause. As women age, their ovarian reserve, therefore, depletes and fertility declines. In most women, fertility begins to decline around age 35 – but for women at risk for POA, fertility declines can begin as early as in their teens or 20s. POA in early stages typically has no symptoms. Most women until now, therefore, are usually only diagnosed after troubles conceiving become apparent, which brings them to a fertility specialist. At that point, most require stressful and costly infertility treatment to have children. Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), sometimes also called premature menopause of primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) is the end stage of POA, when women reach menopause under age 40. Fortunately, this happens only to 10% of the 10% of women with Premature Ovarian Aging, - which means to 1% of the total female population. In those unfortunate few, even routine IVF can usually no longer help, and most of these women will only conceive with use of young donor eggs. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Social Issues / 03.11.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susan Cha, PhD Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Population Health School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cha: We used data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth to evaluate the association between couple pregnancy intentions and rapid repeat pregnancy (RRP) in women. Results indicated that the odds of RRP was primarily influenced by paternal rather than maternal desire for pregnancy. For instance, couples where the father intended the pregnancy but not the mother were 2.5 times as likely to have rapid repeat pregnancy than couples who both intended their pregnancy. Furthermore, more than 85% of women in the study reported no contraceptive use between pregnancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 01.11.2015

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQ-S 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 Montreal Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQ-S 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 Montreal Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine Medical Research: Should we have any reservations about prescribing these macrolides during pregnancy? Dr. Bérard: With penicillin, macrolides are amongst the most used medications in the general population and in pregnancy. However, debate remained on whether it is the infections or in fact the macrolides used to treat them that put women and their unborn child at greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including birth defects. Our study was performed within the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort, one of the largest pregnancy cohorts in the World, and did not find a statistically significant association between macrolide use (a widely used class of antibiotics) during pregnancy and the risk of malformations. When looking at specific types of macrolides, no association was found between azithromycin, clarithromycin or erythromycin use during the first trimester of pregnancy and the risk of major malformations or cardiac malformations. This is reassuring when treating infections during pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, OBGYNE, Primary Care / 30.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alfred Sacchetti, M.D. Department of Emergency Medicine Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Camden, NJ Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sacchetti: Much of the value of the "Affordable Care Act" is based on the concept that a primary care provider will limit the need for Emergency Department visits. Unfortunately, this has never been proven, particularly for women's health issues. The purpose of our study was to determine if a relationship with a primary care provider did limit the need to access Emergency Department services. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sacchetti: What our results demonstrated was that patients with a primary care Obstetrical / Gynecologic provider utilized the emergency department to the same extent as patients without a documented primary OB/GYN relationship. Patients with women's health issues still required the services of the ED, even with an established primary care provider. What was very interesting was that Emergency Department use was not restricted to off hours in the evenings and on weekends. In fact the use of the ED occurred as much during the 9-5 hours on the weekdays as it did during other times. The majority of the ED visits were for ambulatory complaints, with most patients being discharged to home after their care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 26.10.2015

Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth M. Widen, PhD, RD Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Nutrition & Department of Epidemiology Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health New York, NY 10032 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Widen: The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health Mothers and Newborns Study was started in 1998 and is based in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. Pregnant African American and Dominican mothers were enrolled from 1998 to 2006, and mothers and their children have been followed since this time. Pregnancy weight gain and maternal size and body fat was measured at seven years postpartum, allowing us to examine the role of nutrition in pregnancy on long-term maternal health. We found that high pregnancy weight gain, above the Institute of Medicine 2009 guidelines, was associated with long-term weight retention and higher body fat at seven years postpartum among women who began pregnancy with underweight, normal weight and modest overweight body mass index (BMI). These findings suggest that prepregnancy BMI and high pregnancy weight gain have long-term implications for maternal weight-related health, especially among mothers who begin pregnancy with lower prepregnancy BMI values. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM, OBGYNE / 24.10.2015

Alfredo Mayor Aparicio PhD Associate Research Professor Barcelona Institute for Global Health MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alfredo Mayor Aparicio PhD Associate Research Professor Barcelona Institute for Global Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mayor: The malaria parasite is a well-adapted pathogen which can persist and reappear in areas where infection is no longer circulating or at very low levels. Prevention of such reinfections and resurgences is critical for the current goal of malaria eradication. However, little is known about the determinants and consequences of malaria declines and resurgences. For this reason, understanding the relationship between malaria transmission, immunity and disease burdens is essential to rationalise malaria interventions aimed at reducing host-parasite encounters. We have described changes in prevalence among pregnant women delivering between 2003 and 2012 at antenatal clinics in Southern Mozambique, and showed that a reduction of malaria-specific immunity associated with drops in transmission is accompanied with an increase the severity of malaria infection among those women becoming infected. These results suggest that success of control and elimination activities may lead through a transitional period where infrequent infections will likely slowdown the rate of acquisition of host defenses and will be thus associated with more deleterious effects during pregnancy, thus requiring more precise diagnosis and surveillance methods, as well as improved prevention. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, OBGYNE, Vaccine Studies / 21.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.Lakshmi Sukumaran MD, MPH Immunization Safety Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sukumaran: Pertussis (whooping cough) is a vaccine-preventable disease that has been increasing in incidence over the past decade in the United States. Newborns and infants are at increased risk of pertussis-related hospitalization and death compared with older children and adults. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that pregnant women receive a tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine (Tdap) during each pregnancy to protect her infant from pertussis disease, regardless of prior immunization status. However, there is limited data on the safety of repeated Tdap vaccines in pregnant women. Our study evaluated medically attended (associated with doctor visit or hospitalization) adverse events in mothers, such as fever, allergy and local reactions, and adverse birth outcomes, such as prematurity and low birth weight in newborns, in women receiving Tdap in pregnancy who had received a prior tetanus-containing vaccine. We found no significant differences in rates of these adverse outcomes in women who received Tdap in pregnancy following a prior tetanus-containing vaccine less than 2 years before, 2 to 5 years before, and more than 5 years before. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 21.10.2015

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Crémazie Est Montréal, Québec MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Crémazie Est Montréal, Québec Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Auger: Congenital heart defects are the most common defects found in infants, but the causes are for the most part unknown. Only about 15-20% can be linked to a clear cause, such as a genetics or maternal infection. Recently, certain imbalances of angiogenic signaling proteins that control blood vessel development have been identified in individuals with congenital heart defects. Similar imbalances in the same biomarkers have been observed in women with preeclampsia, a serious complication of pregnancy that occurs in 3-5% of pregnant women. Because of this similarity, we sought to determine the relationship that preeclampsia has with the presence of congenital heart defects in infants. What we found was that there was a significant association between preeclampsia and congenital heart defects. In particular, preeclampsia that was diagnosed before 34 weeks of pregnancy was significantly associated with critical and noncritical heart defects and seemed to be the driving factor. There was increased risk for defects involving all general structures of the heart, although the absolute risk of congenital heart defects was low (16.8 per 1,000 infants). (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Medical Imaging, OBGYNE / 14.10.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alex Ure MPsych(Clin) PhD Psychologist & Postdoctoral Fellow, CRE in Newborn Medicine Research Officer, VIBeS Group, Clinical Sciences Murdoch Childrens Research Institute The Royal Children’s Hospital Flemington Road Parkville Victoria 3052 AUS Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ure: Children born very preterm (<30 weeks gestation) are at increased risk of autism spectrum symptoms and disorder (ASD) compared with their term born peers. It has been suggested that this increased prevalence is due to abnormal brain development or injury associated with preterm birth. But, until now, there has been limited research using neonatal brain imaging, a period of key brain development, and later ASD diagnosis. Our study included 172 children born very preterm who were recruited at birth and underwent structural brain imaging at term equivalent age (40 weeks gestation). We used a standardized diagnostic interview with parents to diagnose children with autism spectrum symptoms and disorder during their 7 year follow up visit. The diagnoses were confirmed via an independent assessment. Our results suggest there are subtle differences in the brain structure of very preterm newborns later diagnosed with autism spectrum symptoms and disorder, compared with very preterm children without autism spectrum symptoms and disorder. Specifically, we found newborns later diagnosed with ASD had more cystic lesions in the cortical white matter and smaller cerebellums. This latter result is consistent with findings from previous research, including studies that have used positive ASD screening tools with very preterm toddlers, and others who have reported reduced cerebellar volumes in older children with ASD. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Exercise - Fitness, OBGYNE / 12.10.2015

Katrine M. Owe PhD Department of Psychosomatics and Health Behaviour Norwegian Institute of Public Health Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Women's Health Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet OSLO, Norway MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katrine M. Owe PhD Department of Psychosomatics and Health Behaviour Norwegian Institute of Public Health Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Women's Health Oslo University Hospital, Rikshospitalet OSLO, Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Owe: Pelvic girdle pain affects 20-45% of all pregnancies and may lead to functional disability, higher levels of depression, reduced quality of life and higher prevalence of sick leave during pregnancy. Many women with pelvic girdle pain often have difficulties performing daily life activities such as walking, standing, sitting and turning over in bed. The aetiology and pathogenesis of pelvic girdle pain are still unknown but some modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors have been identified. Our results showed that women who exercised before they became pregnant with their first child, had the lowest risk of developing pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. Even those women who reported low frequencies of exercise had a reduced risk of pelvic girdle pain compared with non-exercisers. Exercising up to five times weekly before pregnancy was protective against pelvic girdle pain and no further benefits were reached with higher frequencies of exercise. It seems that women who are running, jogging, playing ballgames/netball, doing high impact aerobics or orienteering before pregnancy, has the lowest risk of pelvic girdle pain. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 11.10.2015

Joan A. Casey, PhD, MA Health and Society Scholar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joan A. Casey, PhD, MA Health and Society Scholar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation UC San Francisco/UC Berkeley Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Casey: ​Eighteen percent of global gas production now comes from unconventional sources. Pennsylvania, in particular, has seen huge increases in unconventional natural gas development (i.e., "fracking") over the past decade. In 2006, there were fewer than 100 unconventional wells, by 2013, there were over 7,000. Developing a single unconventional well takes hundreds to thousands of diesel truck trips to bring in materials, millions of gallons of water mixed with chemicals and sand, and hydraulic fracturing and production, which can release air pollutants and create noise and other community disturbances. We evaluated whether exposure to unconventional natural gas development activity in Pennsylvania was associated with adverse birth outcomes in those living nearby. Mothers who lived near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania were at an increased risk for preterm birth and for having a high-risk pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 02.10.2015

Marte Handal PhD Division of Epidemiology Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marte Handal PhD Division of Epidemiology Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Handal: The prevalence of depression during pregnancy is estimated to be as high as between 7 and 15%. It is well understood that untreated maternal depression may be harmful to both the mother and the child. When medical treatment of pregnant women is necessary, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is the most common treatment. However, limited information is available on the potential effect of prenatal exposure to SSRIs on the child’s motor development. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Handal: We did find a week association between prolonged maternal use of SSRIs during pregnancy and delayed motor development in the child even after we had taken the mothers history of depression and her symptoms of anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy into account. However, only a few children were in the least developed category, corresponding to clinical motor delay, indicating that clinical importance is limited. (more…)
Author Interviews, NIH, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 01.10.2015

Dr. Louis Germaine Buck Senior Investigator and Director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Germaine Louis Buck PhD Senior Investigator and Director of the Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) National Institutes of Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Germaine Buck: We wanted to develop intrauterine standards for ultrasound measured fetal growth, given that none currently exist for contemporary U.S. pregnant women. Moreover, we wanted to determine if a single standard would be possible for monitoring all pregnant women, or if the standard needed to be tailored to pregnant women’s race/ethnicity. This added step attempted to address the equivocal data about whether or not race/ethnicity is an important determinant of optimal fetal growth. Analyzing data from 1,737 low risk pregnant women with uncomplicated pregnancies who had 5 ultrasounds done at targeted times during pregnancy, we found significant differences in estimated fetal weight across the 4 maternal race/ethnic groups. These differences were apparent beginning about 16 weeks gestation and continuing throughout pregnancy. The differences in these curves were apparent when assessing infant’s birthweight, as well. Overall, estimated fetal weights while women were pregnant were highest for White mothers followed by Hispanic, Asian, and Black mothers. A 245 gram difference in estimated fetal weight was observed at 39 weeks gestation between pregnant White and Black women. This pattern was then observed for measured birth weight, with highest birthweights for White then Hispanic, Asian, and Black infants. Other differences emerged by maternal race/ethnicity for individual fetal measurements: longest bone (femur & humerus) lengths were observed for Black fetuses emerging at 10 weeks gestation, larger abdominal circumference for White fetuses emerging at 16 weeks gestation, larger head circumference for White fetuses emerging at 21 weeks gestation, and larger biparietal diameter for White fetuses emerging at 27 weeks gestation in comparison to other groups. The race/ethnic differences in fetal size were highly significant and across gestation. If a single White standard was used for estimating fetal weight for non-White fetuses in pregnant women, between 5% and 15% of their fetuses would have been misclassified as being in the <5th percentile of estimated fetal weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, OBGYNE, Rheumatology / 30.09.2015

Jane E. Salmon, MD Division of Rheumatology Hospital for Special Surgery, and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jane E. Salmon, MD Division of Rheumatology Hospital for Special Surgery, and Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY Medical Research: Background on lupus and antiphospholipid antibodies - what are they? Dr. Salmon: Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a multi-system autoimmune disease that predominantly affects women and presents during their childbearing years. In SLE, the immune system which normally protects one from infection, turns reacts against the self and can cause damage of multiple organs. Antiphospholipid antibodies (APL) occur in some people with SLE and some without SLE. They are autoantibodies that can damage the placenta and cause arterial and venous thromboses. Patients with APL can have fetal deaths, miscarriages, preeclampsia and/or growth restricted babies. Pregnancy in patients with SLE, particularly those with antiphospholipid antibodies (APL), and in patients with APL alone, is associated with an increased risk for maternal and fetal morbidity due to preeclampsia (PE) and insufficient placental support of the developing fetus. PE and placental insufficiency are, in turn, associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes (APOs), including maternal complications of PE, intrauterine fetal death, and fetal growth restriction, as well as indicated preterm delivery. Given that APOs affect over one fifth of pregnancies in SLE and/or APL, the ability to identify patients early in pregnancy who are destined for poor outcomes would significantly impact care of this high risk population. Medical Research: Two bullets about your PROMISSE study: Dr. Salmon: The PROMISSE Study (Predictors of pRegnancy Outcome: bioMarker In antiphospholipid antibody Syndrome and Systemic lupus Erythematosus). PROMISSE is the largest multi-center, multi-ethnic and multi-racial study to prospectively assess the frequency of APO, clinical, laboratory and biomarker variables that predict APO, in women with SLE and/or APL with inactive or mild/ moderate activity at conception. Pregnant patients with SLE and/or APL were enrolled at <12 weeks gestation into PROMISSE between September 2003 and August 2013 at 7 sites (n=497) along with matched healthy controls (n=207) and followed every month of pregnancy. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE / 25.09.2015

Cheryl H. Tan, M.P.H. Epidemiologist and lead author of the study National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl H. Tan, M.P.H. Epidemiologist and lead author of the study National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One in 10 pregnant women in the United States aged 18 to 44 years reports drinking alcohol in the past 30 days and 3.1 percent of pregnant women report binge drinking – defined as 4 or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion. That means about a third of pregnant women who consume alcohol engage in binge drinking. This is concerning because women who are pregnant or who might be pregnant should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of birth defects and developmental disabilities in babies, as well as other pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and prematurity. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy causes Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), which are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These conditions include physical problems, behavioral problems, and leaning disabilities. FASDs are completely preventable: if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy, her child has zero risk of an FASD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, OBGYNE / 25.09.2015

Richard S. Legro, MD Vice Chair of Research and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences Penn State College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard S. Legro, MD Vice Chair of Research and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health Sciences Penn State College of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Legro: Weight loss is recommended for obese women with PCOS, but there are no randomized studies to show that it improves fertility outcomes. Both Lifestyle modification and oral contraceptives are also recommended for chronic treatment of women with PCOS so that this study has relevance to all obese women with PCOS. We designed this study to prospectively examine the effects of these common treatments on reproductive, metabolic and quality of life parameters, as well as on fertility in women seeking pregnancy. The main findings are summarized in the abstract and conclusion to the study. I would repeat those here. I would highlight that quality of life improved in all treatment groups, but the group that had both oral contraceptives and lifestyle modification had a significant improvement in their physical well-being compared to the oral contraceptive group. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, OBGYNE, Women's Heart Health / 22.09.2015

Barbara A. Cohn, PhD Director of the Child Health and Development Studies at the Public Health Institute. Berkeley, California MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara A. Cohn, PhD Director of the Child Health and Development Studies at the Public Health Institute. Berkeley, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cohn: I guessed that pregnancy complications would be an early warning sign of cardiovascular problems because of the extraordinary demands that pregnancy places on a woman’s cardiovascular system. Medical Research: What data were used for this study? Dr. Cohn: The Child Health and Development Studies is a large pregnancy cohort that enrolled more than 20,000 pregnancies in the 1960’s. Women and their families have been followed now for more than 50 years. Information on pregnancy complications was captured from medical records as they occurred, long before cardiovascular disease developed. These data are the basis for the current study. Medical Research: Why hasn’t this study already been done? Dr. Cohn: Long-term, large studies of pregnancy are rare. I first tried to do this study forty years ago when I was in graduate school. At that time, Dr. Bea van den Berg, the late, second director of the Child Health and Development Studies advised that the study mothers were still too young to observe their cardiovascular disease experience. Now 40 years later, my colleague Piera Cirillo and I have been able to test the idea that combinations of pregnancy complications are linked to cardiovascular disease death for women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, OBGYNE / 10.09.2015

Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Audrey J. Gaskins, Sc.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115     Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gaskins: Infertility, defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse, is a common reproductive disorder affecting ~15% of couples who attempt to become pregnant. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART), which include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), have become the main treatment modalities for couples facing infertility. Pre-conceptional folate and vitamin B12 have been linked to many beneficial early pregnancy outcomes among couples undergoing assisted reproductive technologies treatment in Europe but mixed results have been found in regards to clinical pregnancy and live birth rates. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether higher levels of serum folate and vitamin B12 could increase reproductive success in a cohort of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies at an academic medial center in the United States. We found that high concentrations of folate and vitamin B12 in serum are associated with increased chance of live birth following assisted reproduction. Moreover, women with higher concentrations of both serum folate and vitamin B12 had the greatest likelihood of reproductive success. Analysis of intermediate endpoints suggests that folate and vitamin B12 may exert their favorable effects on pregnancy maintenance following implantation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, OBGYNE / 08.09.2015

Dr. Martin N. Mwangi Researcher Division of Human Nutrition, Nutrition and Health over the lifecourse International Nutrition Unit Wageningen University The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Martin N. Mwangi Researcher Division of Human Nutrition, Nutrition and Health over the lifecourse International Nutrition Unit Wageningen University The Netherlands   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Mwangi : Anemia in pregnancy is a moderate or severe health problem in more than 80 percent of countries worldwide, but particularly in Africa, where it affects 57 percent of pregnant women. Iron deficiency is the most common cause, but iron supplementation during pregnancy has uncertain health benefits. There is some evidence to suggest that iron supplementation may increase the risk of infectious diseases, including malaria. Our main objective was to measure the effect of antenatal iron supplementation on maternal Plasmodium infection risk, maternal iron status, and neonatal outcomes. We randomly assigned 470 pregnant Kenyan women living in a malaria endemic area to daily supplementation with 60 mg of iron (n = 237 women) or placebo (n = 233) until 1 month postpartum. All women received 5.7 mg iron/day through flour fortification during intervention and usual intermittent preventive treatment against malaria. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Mwangi : Overall, we found no effect of daily iron supplementation during pregnancy on risk of maternal Plasmodium infection. Iron supplementation resulted in an increased birth weight [5.3 ounces], gestational duration, and neonatal length; enhanced maternal and infant iron stores at 1 month after birth; and a decreased risk of low birth weight (by 58 percent) and prematurity. The effect on birth weight was influenced by initial maternal iron status. Correction of maternal iron deficiency led to an increase in birth weight by [8.4 ounces]. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 04.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jianying Hu Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes College of Urban and Environmental Sciences Peking University, Beijing People’s Republic of China Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Early pregnancy loss or first-trimester miscarriage is the most common complication of human reproduction, and the miscarriage incidence is increasing around the world in the recent decades. Though there are many causes for miscarriage, approximately 40% of early pregnancy loss remains unexplained. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been considering one of major risk factor to affect female reproduction. Of these EDCs related to reproductive toxicity, phthalates is of concern due to their wide usage and contamination in environment, and the reproductive toxicity in the female mouse. Our study found that the levels of phthalates in the women who underwent miscarriage were statistically significantly high, and the risk of clinical pregnancy loss was associated with urinary concentration of phthalate metabolites. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis, OBGYNE / 01.09.2015

PD Dr. Kerstin Hellwig Neurologische Abteilung Universitätsklinikum St. Josef Hospital Bochum MedicalResearch.com Interview with: PD Dr. Kerstin Hellwig Neurologische Abteilung Universitätsklinikum St. Josef Hospital Bochum Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hellwig: The relapse risk is elevated in women with Multiple Sclerosis after delivery. We found that women with Multiple Sclerosis who breastfed exclusively had a significant lower relapse risk, than women who did not breastfed at all or breastfed some but not exclusively. After the introduction of supplemental feedings, the relase risk was similar between both groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 19.08.2015

Jennifer B. Kane PhD Assistant professor of Sociology University of California, Irvine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer B. Kane PhD Assistant professor of Sociology University of California, Irvine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kane: We know that low-birth-weight babies are more susceptible to later physical and cognitive difficulties and that these difficulties can sharpen the social divide in the U.S. But knowing more about what causes low birth weight can help alleviate this intergenerational perpetuation of social inequality through poor infant health. This study was designed to expand our knowledge of these causes. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kane: This study found that risk factors for low birth weight extend far beyond pregnancy—dating all the way back to women’s early life environment as well as to conditions dating back three generations. For example, a woman’s own weight at birth, as well as her education level and marital status pre-pregnancy can have repercussions for two generations, putting her children and grandchildren at higher risk of low birth weight. This study also discovered new pathways of risk that contribute to poor infant health. For example, intergenerational transmissions of maternal education, potentially reflecting parent-child socialization or role modeling, appear to have a long-term influence on birth outcomes of future generations. In addition, this study showed that intra-generational and inter-generational processes work in conjunction with one another to place some infants at higher risk of low birth weight. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor University Medical Center Dallas, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 17.08.2015

Arpitha Chiruvolu MD FAAP Neonatologist Baylor University Medical Center Department of Neonatology Dallas, TX 75246 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arpitha Chiruvolu MD FAAP Neonatologist Baylor University Medical Center Department of Neonatology Dallas, TX 75246 MedicalResearch: What is the background and main findings of the study? Dr. Chiruvolu: There is growing evidence that delaying umbilical cord clamping (DCC) in very preterm infants may improve hemodynamic stability after birth and decrease the incidence of major neonatal morbidities such as intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH) and necrotizing enterocolitis. Recently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) published a committee opinion that supported delaying umbilical cord clamping in preterm infants, with the possibility for a nearly 50% reduction in IVH. However, the practice of DCC in preterm infants has not been widely adopted, mainly due to the concern of a delay in initiating resuscitation in this vulnerable population. Furthermore, there is uncertainty regarding the magnitude of published benefits in very preterm infants, since prior trials were limited by small sample sizes, wide variability in the technique and inconsistent reporting of factors that may have contributed to clinical outcomes. We recently implemented a delaying umbilical cord clamping quality improvement (QI) process in very preterm infants at a large delivery hospital. The objective of this cohort study was to evaluate the clinical consequences of a protocol-driven delayed umbilical cord clamping implementation in singleton infants born £ 32 weeks gestation. We hypothesized that DCC would not compromise initial resuscitation and would be associated with significant decrease in early red blood cell transfusions and IVH compared to a historic cohort. Delayed umbilical cord clamping was performed on all the 60 eligible infants. 88 infants were identified as historic controls. Gestational age, birth weight and other demographic variables were similar between both groups. There were no differences in Apgar scores or admission temperature, but significantly fewer infants in theDelayed umbilical cord clamping cohort were intubated in delivery room, had respiratory distress syndrome or received red blood cell transfusions in the first week of life compared to the historic cohort. A significant reduction was noted in the incidence of IVH inDelayed umbilical cord clamping cohort compared to historic control group (18.3% versus 35.2%). After adjusting for gestational age, an association was found between the incidence of IVH and Delayed umbilical cord clamping with IVH significantly lower in the DCC cohort compared to historic cohort with odds ratio of 0.36 (95% CI 0.15 to 0.84, P <0.05). There were no significant differences in mortality and other major morbidities. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 12.08.2015

Scott A. Adler, Ph.D. Associate Professor Coordinator Developmental Science Graduate Program Dept. of Psychology & Centre for Vision Research Visual and Cognitive Development Project York University Toronto, Ontario Canada MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott A. Adler, Ph.D. Associate Professor Coordinator Developmental Science Graduate Program Dept. of Psychology & Centre for Vision Research Visual and Cognitive Development Project York University Toronto, Ontario Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Adler: Experiences that we have early in life clearly have an impact on our brain development and behavior as we get older. Numerous studies have detailed these experiences, ranging from how we were fed as a baby to how many languages we hear to traumatic events. These experiences have been shown to influence formation, maintenance, and pruning of the networks of synaptic connections in our brain's that impact all manner of thought and behavior. Yet, the impact of one of the earliest experiences, that of being born, on brain and psychological behavior has not before been explored. A recent study with rat pups has strongly suggested that the birth process has a definite impact on initial brain development. If that is the case, what happens if the infant's birth is one in which she does not experience the natural birth process, such as occurs with caesarean section births? Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Adler: There were two main findings from this study. We measured the speed and timing of infants' saccadic eye movements, which are overt indicators of attention, relative to the onset of visual events on a computer monitor. Moving attention and eye movements can occur through two general classes of processes. The first is bottom-up mechanisms in which attention is moved reactively and automatically to the appearance or existence of unique and salient events in the world. In this case, where attention goes is essentially controlled by the events in the world. The second is top-down mechanisms in which we move attention voluntarily to what we determine to be relevant event in the world based on our own cognitive biases and goals. This study found that 3-month-old infants born by caesarean section were significantly slower to move attention and make eye movements in reaction to the occurrence of visual events on the basis of bottom-up mechanisms than were infants born vaginally. In contrast, there was difference between infants in moving attention and making eye movements in anticipation of the appearance of visual events on the basis of top-down mechanisms. Additionally, maternal age, which has been shown to be related to the occurrence of caesarean sections, was found not to be related to the current effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, OBGYNE / 12.08.2015

Prof. Hanns-Ulrich Marschall Professor of clinical hepatology Wallenberg Laboratory Sahlgrenska Academy Göteborg, Sweden MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Hanns-Ulrich Marschall Professor of clinical hepatology Wallenberg Laboratory Sahlgrenska Academy Göteborg, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Marschall: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, or ICP, is the most common liver disease during pregnancy, affecting 1.5% of all pregnancies in Sweden. ICP is characterized by otherwise unexplained pruritus with elevated bile acids and/or transaminases in the late second and third trimester of pregnancy. It is well established that ICP is associated with risks for the unborn child, in particular preterm delivery, but also stillbirth. In contrast, for the mother, ICP has for a long time only been considered as an annoying but not serious condition that spontaneously resolves after delivery. However, ICP obviously is not such a benign condition for the mother: We have recently shown that women with ICP have a 3- to 5-times increased risk of hepatobiliary diseases, such as hepatitis C, cirrhosis and gallstones. Here we extended our study to investigate the association between ICP and later cancer, diabetes mellitus and other autoimmune-mediated diseases, and cardiovascular diseases. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Marschall: Our study showed that women with ICP were at about 25% increased risk to be later diagnosed with immune-mediated diseases, in particular diabetes mellitus and Crohn’s disease but not ulcerative colitis. There was also a small increased risk of later cardiovascular disease, in particular if the woman with ICP also suffered from preeclampsia. Most important were the data on the risk of later malignancy: We found a 2.5-times higher risk for cancer in the biliary tree and even a 3.5-times increased risk of liver cancer. Even after adjusting for a diagnosis of hepatitis C, which is very strongly associated with liver cancer, more than 30-times, women with ICP were still at 2.5-times increased risk of later liver malignancy. (more…)