Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE / 11.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Joris Vermeesch Hoofd Moleculaire Cytogenetica Coordinator Genomics Core University of Leuven, University Hospitals Leuven, Belgium Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Vermeesch: We developed a novel analysis methodology for Noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT), which not only interrogates the common trisomies, but looks at variations across all chromosomes.  We obtain a kind of genome wide copy number variation plot.  By applying this analysis method for Noninvasive prenatal testing, we have strict quality parameters.  If faulty, we ask for a second sample. In one pregnant woman, the second sample showed exactly the same aberrations as in the first sample.  We excluded this variation to be  caused by a maternal constitutional chromosomal rearrangement and also excluded this aberration to be from fetal origin.  This prompted us to assume a maternal cancer was the cause.  Three such cases were observed, all three women were referred to the oncology unit and all three were proven to show a cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Endocrinology, OBGYNE / 03.06.2015

Dr.Carey Gleason Ph.D School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Madison, WisconsinMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.Carey Gleason Ph.D School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin Dr. Gleason: In this response I refer to hormone therapy (HT), which was formally called hormone "replacement" therapy. In particular, we examined menopausal HT, i.e., the use of HT during the menopausal transition to address menopausal symptoms. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Gleason: The WHI Memory Study (WHIMS) suggested that HT was associated with cognitive harm for women age 65 and older. In contrast, we found that the cognitive performance of women randomized to receive menopausal hormone therapy did not differ from that of women randomized to receive the placebo. On a measure of mood states, women treated with conjugated equine estrogens showed improvements compared to those on placebo. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 01.06.2015

Prof. Michael Breakspear MB BS, Ba(Hons), Bsc(Med), PhD QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Royal Brisbane HospitalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Michael Breakspear MB BS, Ba(Hons), Bsc(Med), PhD QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute Royal Brisbane Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Breakspear: The first 72 hours following complicated full-term or premature delivery of a newborn represents a critical window in which survival and long term brain development hangs in the balance. During this window of time, there does not currently exist a reliable, non-invasive, real-time measure of neuropathology that provides neurologists and neonatologists prognostic indicators of clinical outcome. We developed a tool that draws on techniques in physics used to characterize naturally occurring phenomena, such as earthquakes and avalanches, to analyze brain activity recordings of preterm infants. Our tool allows early identification of preterm infants at significant risk of developing poor long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes, such as cerebral palsy and learning difficulties at two years of age. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE, Pharmacology, Thromboembolism / 27.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yana Vinogradova, Research Fellow Division of Primary Care School of Medicine University of Nottingham Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Combined oral contraceptives are an effective method of birth control but do have measurable side effects.  One – common to all combined contraceptives and sometimes fatal – is an increased risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).  A number of earlier studies investigated VTE risks for different types of hormonal contraceptives, but all were performed some years ago or had insufficient data to analyse newer preparations, while some included only healthy users and others did not adequately control for lifestyle and health issues.  The data used for this study were representative of the UK population and covered all currently prescribed drugs, with results adjusted for the widest possible range of available relevant factors. We found that the venous thromboembolism risks of combined oral contraceptives appear to fall into two distinct groups.  Newer drugs containing gestodene, desogestrel, drospirenone or cyproterone were associated with risks of VTE between 1.5 and 1.8 times higher than both the older compositions containing norethisterone or levonorgestrel and the relatively newer norgestimate.  While our findings are statistical associations between different compositions and venous thromboembolism risks, they do represent more comprehensive and reliable information for doctors making evidence-based prescribing decisions. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 22.05.2015

Katherine Jones, M.A. Research Associate, Department of Research The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Department of Psychology, American UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katherine Jones, M.A. Research Associate, Department of Research The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Department of Psychology, American University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  It is well evidenced that breastfeeding is highly advantageous for the mother, child, and society. Benefits to breastfeeding may be significantly larger for minority women as they are disproportionately affected by numerous adverse health outcomes. The benefits of breastfeeding may help mitigate some of these negative health consequences, and thus, also bridge larger gaps in racial and ethnic health disparities. This article aimed to review the literature on racial and ethnic disparities in breastfeeding rates and practices, conduct a systematic review of breastfeeding interventions, address barriers to breastfeeding among minority women, and provide obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) with recommendations on how they can help improve rates among minority women. Overall, racial and ethnic minority women continue to have lower breastfeeding rates than white women in the United States, with African American women having the lowest rates of breastfeeding initiation and continuation among to all women. Minority women report several unique barriers to breastfeeding, including lack of access to information that promotes and supports breastfeeding, lack of work and cultural acceptance and support, language and literacy barriers, acculturation, and historical, sociopolitical, and economic challenges. Results from the systematic review of breastfeeding interventions among minority women indicated that breastfeeding-specific clinic appointments, enhanced breastfeeding programs, group prenatal education, peer counseling, and hospital policy changes significantly improve breastfeeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS / 18.05.2015

Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola Ph.D. Department of Medical Genetics Faculty of Medicine University of Helsinki Helsinki, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola Ph.D. Department of Medical Genetics Faculty of Medicine University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kaminen-Ahola: The beginning of embryonic development is vulnerable to the effects of  external influences and disruption of these processes can have long-term effects on development. Our previous study demonstrated, for the first time, that alcohol exposure in early pregnancy can cause permanent changes to the epigenetic regulation, gene function and the appearance of mouse offspring. We discovered increased DNA-methylation, transcriptional silencing of an epigenetically sensitive allele Agouti viable yellow (Avy) and darker coat colour in the offspring. In this study we wanted to see whether alcohol consumed in early pregnancy causes long-term changes to the epigenome and gene expression in hippocampus. According to previous studies the phenotype of offspring in this mouse model is highly variable, but reminiscent of human FAS with growth restriction, similar structural changes to corresponding areas of the face and skull, and hyperactivity. In this study we wanted to determine the impact of alcohol on the structures of the central nervous system. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kaminen-Ahola: We observed that early exposure to alcohol caused subtle changes in  the epigenome and altered the function of several genes in the hippocampi of adolescent mice. We also detected alcohol-induced alterations in the brain structure of adult offspring. Interestingly, we also found out that in addition to hippocampus, alcohol caused similar changes to gene function in two different tissues of the infant mouse, bone marrow and the olfactory epithelium of the snout. These results support our hypothesis that early gestational ethanol exposure alters the epigenetic reprogramming of the embryo, which leads to alterations in gene regulation and embryonic development, and causes life-long changes in brain structure, function, and behaviour. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 14.05.2015

Robert A. Meguid, MD MPH FACS Assistant Professor Section of General Thoracic Surgery Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Department of Surgery University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert A. Meguid, MD MPH FACS Assistant Professor Section of General Thoracic Surgery Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Department of Surgery University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Aurora, CO 80045 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Meguid: The surgical literature on adverse outcomes after surgery on pregnant patients is conflicting.  We know that the majority of surgery performed on pregnant patients is not elective (and just over 50% of it in the database studied was emergency surgery).  We expected to find an increased rate of adverse outcomes in those pregnant patients.  However, when we matched the pregnant and non-pregnant women who underwent surgery in the database, with excellent matching on all available preoperative characteristics and on the actual operation performed, we found similar, low rates of 30-day postoperative death and complication.  In this study, pregnant patients had undergone a broad spectrum of different types of operations, including general, vascular, thoracic, head and neck, non-obstetric gynecologic and urologic, orthopedic, reconstructive, and neuro-surgery.  Given the concern that we as surgeons have over operating on pregnant patients, both for the well-being of the patient and her child, our findings are reassuring.  This suggests that we as a medical profession are diligent in minimizing risk to pregnant women who need surgery that cannot be delayed until after the child's birth.  Again, this study faces the limitations of being unable to assess any short term harm done to the fetus and the subsequent long term outcome of the child. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE / 07.05.2015

Dmitry Kissin, MD Health scientist CDC Division of Reproductive HealthMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dmitry Kissin, MD Health scientist CDC Division of Reproductive Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kissin: Due to the frequent transfer of more than one embryo during assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), many ART-conceived children are born as multiples (twins, triplets and higher order). Multiple births, even twins, carry increased risk for both mothers and children. In the U.S., the practice guidelines published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) provide recommendations on how many embryos to transfer in order to balance safety with the effectiveness of assisted reproductive technology. In an effort to reduce multiple births and associated complications, it is important to evaluate embryo transfer practices that contribute to these outcomes. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Kissin: Using data from the CDC’s National ART Surveillance System (NASS), we found that the majority of ART-related multiple births in the U.S. resulted from assisted reproductive technology cycles practiced in accordance with ASRM/SART guidelines and involved the transfer of two embryos. Almost half of ART-related multiple births resulted from transferring two fresh blastocysts (embryos cultured for 5/6 days) to favorable- or average-prognosis patients less than 35 years and donor-egg recipients, or two frozen/thawed embryos to patients less than 35 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 06.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Jonathan McGuane PhD. Robinson Research Institute and Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology School of Paediatrics and Reproductive Health University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. McGuane: Epidemiological studies suggest that endometriosis is present more often in women who report having intercourse during menstruation compared to those who don’t (Filer and Wu, J Reprod Med 1989:887-890). The idea for this study came from our research showing that seminal plasma induces marked changes in the immunology of the female reproductive tract, which are essential for optimal implantation of an embryo and subsequent fetal development. However, some of these immunological changes could increase the likelihood of endometrial tissue developing into an endometriotic lesion if it subsequently ends up in the peritoneum via retrograde menstruation (a la Sampson's hypothesis). This could help to explain the epidemiological findings cited above. Our study was designed to explore "proof-of-principle" of this concept by exposing human endometrial tissue directly to seminal plasma or control medium in vitro, and transplanting it under the skin of receptive mice. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. McGuane: After two weeks, endometrial tissue exposed to seminal plasma was significantly larger than control tissue. This appeared to be the result of increased cell proliferation and tissue survival. Although we hypothesised that an immune-mediated mechanism would underlie the changes induced by seminal plasma, we did not find much evidence to support this idea; however, more work needs to be done on this aspect of the research. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, UCLA / 06.05.2015

Anita L. Nelson, MD Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anita L. Nelson, MD Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Los Angeles BioMedical Research Institute Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Torrance, California Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Nelson: The clinical impact heavy menstrual bleeding has often been expressed in terms of quality of life issues, but many women have heavy and prolonged bleeding that can lead to serious medical problems. The frequency with which women were treated at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center with profoundly low hemoglobin levels prompted us to do a comprehensive review of such women during a recent five year period to remind readers that even in the 21st century, this is not an uncommon problem. Overall 149 woman were treated 168 times for severe anemia (hemoglobin < 5.0 g/dL); 40% had previously been transfused (but not effectively treated). Over a quarter had reactive thrombocytosis which placed them at high risk for thrombosis (DVT, PE, and stroke). Over a third were discharged without therapy to prevent recurrence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, OBGYNE / 27.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanna Kitlinska, PhD Assistant Professor Georgetown University Medical Center Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology Washington, DC 20057 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kitlinska: Neuroblastoma is a pediatric tumor which arises due to defects in normal fetal neuronal development. Although the disease is associated with genetic changes, there are also clinical and experimental data implicating non-genetic factors in its etiology. We hypothesized that maternal stress during pregnancy can be one such factor, as it leads to fetal hypoxia and elevated cortisol levels – the two factors known to alter normal neuronal development and increase aggressiveness of neuroblastoma. Indeed, using an animal model of neuroblastoma, we have found that offspring of mothers which have been subjected to stress during pregnancy develop tumors twice as frequently as those from intact pregnancies. Moreover, tumors developing in prenatally-stressed mice were spreading more often to distant organs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, OBGYNE / 08.04.2015

Jeanne M. Meck, PhD FACMG Director, Prenatal Diagnosis & Cytogenomic GeneDx Gaithersburg, MD 20877MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeanne M. Meck, PhD FACMG Director, Prenatal Diagnosis & Cytogenomic GeneDx Gaithersburg, MD 20877 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Meck: Non-invasive prenatal screening (NIPS) for fetal aneuploidy is a new test which requires only a blood sample from the pregnant mother to provide a risk estimate of whether or not her fetus has a chromosomal aneuploidy such as trisomy 21 (Down syndrome), trisomies 13 or 18, or a sex chromosome abnormality. This testing relies on the fact that circulating maternal blood contains cell free fetal DNA. Published studies have reported very high specificities and sensitivities. However, the more important question is what is the positive predictive value (PPV= #true positive results/#true positive + false positive results) since it answers the question of interest to physicians and patients: “Given an Non-invasive prenatal screening result that shows a high risk for a given fetal aneuploidy, what is the chance that the fetus is affected?” We attempted to answer this question by looking at the results of fetal chromosome analyses on chorionic villus samples (CVS) or amniotic fluid that were referred to our cytogenetics laboratories after Non-invasive prenatal screening in order to see if NIPS correctly predicted the fetal karyotype. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, OBGYNE, Pharmacology / 01.04.2015

Dr. Mala Sachdeva MD North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mala Sachdeva MD North Shore University Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center Assistant Professor, Nephrology, Internal Medicine Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sachdeva: The last study examining pregnancy and dialysis outcomes in the United States was performed more than 15 years ago. Our study was conducted to evaluate practice patterns and to trend maternal and fetal outcomes in the pregnant dialysis female over the past five years. We did a surveymonkey-based survey of American nephrologists on their knowledge of managing pregnancy patients on dialysis. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sachdeva: Over the past five years, more than 59 pregnancies have been reported. During this time period, almost half of the American nephrologist respondents (43%) have cared for pregnant females on hemodialysis. Hence, we can see that more nephrologists are now faced with taking care of the pregnant dialysis patient. Although a good number of patients initiated dialysis during pregnancy (32%), the majority (58%) of pregnancies occurred within the first five years of being on maintenance dialysis. Pregnancy outcomes can improve. Of the reported pregnancies 23% did not result in live births. 50% of the pregnancies were complicated by preeclampsia. There were no maternal deaths. Most nephrologists prescribe 4 to 4.5 hours of hemodialysis. 64% of respondents provide dialysis for six days per week. Only 21% aimed for a target predialysis BUN of less than 20 mg/dL while 66% of nephrologists targeted a BUN less than 50mg/dL.  75% of respondents do not have access to fetal monitoring during dialysis for their pregnant patient. There are approximately 32% of American nephrologists who are somewhat to very uncomfortable caring for a pregnant woman on hemodialysis. 51% of American nephrologists or a member of their staff counsel their female dialysis patients about contraception. So in summary, while majority of the US based nephrologists are trying to dialyze pregnant ESRD patients with more intense prescriptions, there are still some gaps with comfort and knowledge. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Emergency Care, OBGYNE, UCLA / 31.03.2015

Dr. Jean-Luc Margot PhD Professor, Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los AngelesMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jean-Luc Margot PhD Professor, Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences and Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Los Angeles Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Margot: Some professionals who work in emergency rooms or maternity wards believe that the number of hospital admissions or human births is larger during the full moon than at other times.  This belief is incorrect. Analysis of the data shows conclusively that the moon does not influence the timing of hospital admissions or human births. Results of a new analysis have been published online in the journal Nursing Research.  The Nursing Research article addresses some of the methodological errors and cognitive biases that can explain the human tendency of perceiving a lunar effect where there is none.  It reviews basic standards of evidence and, using an example from the published literature, illustrates how disregarding these standards can lead to erroneous conclusions. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 26.03.2015

Dr. Bradley S. Peterson, M.D Director of the Institute for the Developing Mind The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Los AngelesMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Bradley S. Peterson, M.D Director of the Institute for the Developing Mind The Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Peterson: Neurotoxic PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are ubiquitous in the environment, in the home and in the workplace. Emissions from motor vehicles, oil and coal burning for home heating or power generation, wildfires and agricultural burning, hazardous waste sites, tobacco smoke and charred foods are all sources of exposure. PAH readily crosses the placenta and affects an unborn child’s brain; earlier animal studies showed that prenatal exposure impaired the development of behavior, learning and memory. Our group previously reported that exposure to airborne PAH during gestation was associated with multiple neurodevelopmental disturbances, including development delay by age 3, reduced verbal IQ at age 5, and symptoms of anxiety and depression at age 7. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Peterson: Together with Virginia Rauh, ScD and Frederica Perera, DrPH, PhD of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, we conducted a brain imaging study to test the effects on brain structure of PAH exposure during the final trimester of pregnancy.  We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the brains of 40 children from a cohort of more than 600 mother-baby pairs from minority communities in New York City. These 40 children were carefully selected to have no other exposures that would affect brain development. Our findings showed that prenatal PAH exposure led to reductions in nearly the entire white matter surface of the brain’s left hemisphere – losses that were associated with slower processing of information during intelligence testing and more severe behavioral problems, including ADHD and aggression.  Postnatal PAH exposure – measured at age 5 – was found to contribute to additional disturbances in development of white matter in the dorsal prefrontal region of the brain, a portion of the brain that supports concentration, reasoning, judgment, and problem-solving ability. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Emory, OBGYNE, Social Issues / 13.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Burns, MPH Rollins School of Public Health Emory University MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Epidemiologic studies suggest that prenatal stress is associated with preterm birth, low birth weight and peripartum anxiety and depressive symptoms. The most recent population-based study on the prevalence of stress among pregnant women, which used data from 1990-1995, reported that 64% of women experience stressful life events (SLEs) in the year before their infant’s birth. More recent estimates of prevalence and trends of prenatal stressful life events are useful for clinicians in order to understand the risk profile of their patients. The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) collects self-reported information on maternal experiences and behaviors before, during, and after pregnancy among women who delivered a live infant. PRAMS includes 13 questions about maternal SLEs experienced in the year preceding the birth of the child. Based on previous research, SLEs were grouped into four dichotomous constructs: 1) emotional stressors (family member was ill and hospitalized or someone very close died); 2) financial stressors (moved to a new address, lost job, partner lost job, or unable to pay bills); 3) partner-associated stressors (separated/divorced, argued more than usual with partner/husband, or husband/partner said he did not want pregnancy); and 4) traumatic stressors (homeless, involved in a physical fight, partner or self-went to jail, or someone very close had a problem with drinking or drugs). The prevalence of self-reported stressful life events decreased modestly but significantly during 2000–2010. Despite this, 70.2% of women reported ≥1 SLEs in 2010. Prevalence of stressful life events vary by state and maternal demographic characteristics and are especially prevalent among younger women, women with ≤12 years of education (75.6%), unmarried women (79.6%), and women that were covered by Medicaid for prenatal care or delivery of their child (78.7%). (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 11.03.2015

Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDCMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lind: CDC and Florida investigators published a new report describing the characteristics of infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and their mothers.  NAS is a group of signs exhibited by newborns exposed to addictive drugs taken by a mother during pregnancy. Infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome have prolonged hospital stays, experience serious medical complications, and are very costly to treat. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Lind: In this investigation, 242 infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome were identified in three Florida hospitals during a 2-year period (2010–2011). Nearly all of the infants with NAS were exposed to opioid painkillers during pregnancy (99.6%) and experienced serious medical complications, with more than 97% being admitted to an intensive care unit, where the average length of stay was 26 days. Despite a high prevalence of positive urine toxicology tests during the birth hospitalization, only a small proportion of mothers had documentation of referrals for drug counseling or rehabilitation. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Toxin Research, University of Pittsburgh / 07.03.2015

Dr. Jennifer Adibi, MPH ScD University of Pittsburgh, Public Health Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Affiliate, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences University of California, San FranciscoMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer Adibi, MPH ScD University of Pittsburgh, Public Health Assistant Professor, Epidemiology Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Affiliate, Dept. of ObGYN and Reproductive Sciences University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Adibi: Prenatal exposure to phthalates in rodents can cause defects in male sexual development including a shorter distance between the anus and the genitalia (anogenital distance or AGD).  Human studies have shown a correlation between higher prenatal phthalate urinary concentrations in the mother and shorter AGD in males.  AGD in males is related to fertility and reproductive health over the lifetime.  In females, AGD was associated with numbers of ovarian follicles.  The role of the placenta has not been considered in these studies. A  placental hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is essential for normal male development. Our previous research has shown that hCG expression by human placental cells is disrupted by phthalate concentrations equal to what we measured in maternal urine.  The placenta secretes molecules early in pregnancy that might provide an opportunity to detect these effects in humans. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Adibi:  In 350 pregnancies, we measured a significant association of maternal urinary concentrations of mono-n-butyl phthalate (MnBP) and monobenzyl phthalate (MBzP) with hCG in maternal blood in the first trimester.  Higher phthalate concentrations were associated with higher hCG if the mother was carrying a female fetus, and lower concentrations if she was carrying a male fetus.  In a high/low MnBP comparison, hCG was 15-fold higher in the higher exposed female fetuses.  We also observed a relationship between maternal levels of hCG in the first trimester and anogenital distance in the newborns.  The correlation was positive in female newborns, and inverse in male newborns. Similar to the parent study, we observed associations of higher first trimester MnBP and mono-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate (MEHP) with lower male anogenital distance.  If we combined these findings into a mediation analysis, we estimated that approximately 20-30% of the phthalate-induced effect on anogenital distance was due to the phthalate disruption of hCG. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Sexual Health / 03.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amy Branum M.S.P.H., Ph.D and Jo Jones Ph.D Center for Health Statistics Division of Vital Statistics, Reproductive Statistics Branch Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: This data brief was based on multiple years of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG).  The NSFG, first conducted in 1973, is administered by NCHS in response to a legal mandate that says that NCHS “shall collect statistics on …family formation, growth, and dissolution.” (PHS Act, Sec 306). Up through the 2002 NSFG, the survey was conducted periodically; with the 2006-2010 data collection, the NSFG is a continuous survey with interviews conducted over multiple years.  We felt it was important to examine long-term trends in  Long-acting Reversible Contraception use due to fluctuations over time in IUD and implant acceptability and availability as contraception methods, especially in light of recent efforts to promote LARC use to prevent unintended pregnancies and for birth spacing. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that Long-acting Reversible Contraception use declined between 1982 and 1988, remained stable through 2002 and then increased almost five-fold between 2002 and 2011-2013 (from 1.5% to 7.2).  Long-acting Reversible Contraception use has, and continues to be, generally highest among women aged 25-34 but has increased the most among women 15-24 since 2002.  Hispanic women used Long-acting Reversible Contraception at higher rates in 1982 compared to non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women but patterns of use diverged after 1995 so that by 2011-2013, patterns of use were more similar by race and Hispanic origin.  Women who have at least one previous live birth have used, and continue to use, LARCs at a higher rate compared to women with no previous births. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Karolinski Institute, NEJM, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 27.02.2015

Kari Johansson, Phd Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet Clinical Epidemiology Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, SwedenMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kari Johansson, PhD Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet Clinical Epidemiology Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Johannson: The number of women who are obese in early pregnancy has increased dramatically over the last decades. Consequently, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of women becoming pregnant after bariatric surgery. In Sweden the number of births of women with a history of bariatric surgery has increased from 150 (≈0.15%) to more than 500 (0.5%) per year between 2006 and 2011. The positive effects of bariatric surgery on health outcomes, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are reasonably well-studied, but less is known about the effects on pregnancy and perinatal outcomes. We therefore conducted a population-based study, using data from nationwide Swedish registers. The main findings are that women who had a history of bariatric surgery were much less likely to develop gestational diabetes (2% compared to 7%; P<0.001) and give birth to large-for-gestational age babies (9% vs 22%; P<0.001). On the other hand, the operated women were twice as likely to give birth to babies who were small for gestational age (16% vs 8%), and have pregnancies of shorter duration (273 vs 277.5; P<0.001).  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Sugar / 20.02.2015

Ekaterina Maslova PhD Doctor of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology Center for Fetal Programming Copenhagen, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ekaterina Maslova PhD Doctor of Science in Nutrition and Epidemiology Center for Fetal Programming Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: From prior studies we know that excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) in pregnancy is associated with complications for both the mother and the child, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, and high birth weight. Understanding the factors that determine gestational weight gain would allow for interventions early on to improve pregnancy outcomes. Dietary intake has been found to influence gestational weight gain in other studies, but evidence is conflicting and still quite limited. In non-pregnant populations a high-protein diet was shown to decrease weight and improve weight maintenance. We therefore hypothesized that a similar relation may exist for gestational weight gain in pregnant women. In this study we had data on dietary intake of more than 45,000 Danish women who were pregnant between 1996 and 2002. We examined the relation between their intake of protein and carbohydrates and the rate of gestational weight gain (in grams per week). We found that women who consumed a high protein-to-carbohydrate (PC) ratio gained less gestational weight gain compared to women with a lower PC ratio in their diet. The results was stronger in women who started their pregnancy already overweight compared to normal weight women. Since a high PC ratio may result from either a high protein intake or low carbohydrate intake, we decided to focus on a component of carbohydrates that may increase gestational weight gain: added sugar. We found that pregnant women with higher intake of sugar gained more weight in pregnancy compared to those who consumed less added sugar. This averaged out to about 1.4 kg (or 7%) higher weight gain across the entire pregnancy. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Smoking / 18.02.2015

Virender K. Rehan, MD LA BioMed Lead ResearcherMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Virender K. Rehan, MD LA BioMed Lead Researcher   Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Rehan: A new study holds hope for reversing asthma caused by smoking during pregnancy. The study, published online by the American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, reported that a medication that stimulates certain proteins in the body reversed airway damage in disease models of asthma caused by prenatal exposure to nicotine. This is the first study to indicate that the damage caused by exposure to nicotine during pregnancy could actually be reversed. Earlier studies found this medication could prevent nicotine-induced asthma when given during pregnancy. Researchers at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) conducted the study to determine if the lung and airway damage caused by nicotine could be reversed and found it could be. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 07.02.2015

Jonetta L. Johnson, PhD, MPH Epidemiologist Division of Reproductive Health, CDC. MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonetta L. Johnson, PhD, MPH Epidemiologist Division of Reproductive Health, CDC. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Johnson: Achieving adequate gestational weight gain (GWG) is important for optimal health of the infant and mother. Women who gain below or above Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommendations are more likely to experience maternal complications and negative infant birth outcomes. Realizing the importance of  gestational weight gain to maternal and infant health, the IOM established recommendations for  gestational weight gain based on a woman’s prepregnancy body mass index (BMI) in 1990 and updated them in 2009. Trends in GWG are particularly of interest since prepregnancy BMI has increased over time in the U.S and little data was available on how  gestational weight gain has changed over time. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Johnson: Our findings show that from 2000-2009, the majority of women did not gain weight within IOM GWG recommendations and that women were more likely to gain outside recommendations in more recent years. In fact, from 2000–2009, there was a gradual decrease (1.0 percentage point every 2 years) in women gaining within IOM  gestational weight gain recommendations  and a gradual increase (0.8 percentage points every 2 years) in women gaining above IOM recommendations while the percentage of women gaining weight below IOM recommendations remained relatively constant.  Although there were slight differences in mean gestational weight gain by BMI group,  gestational weight gain was about 31 pounds on average. The decreasing percentage of women gaining within IOM recommendations during our study period may be influenced by increases in prepregnancy BMI during the same time period because women in higher BMI groups are recommended to gain less weight during pregnancy compared to women in lower BMI groups.  Thus, even with no change in gestational weight gain over time, an increase in the proportion of women who are obese could result in a decrease in the proportion of women gaining within gestational weight gain recommendations. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, NIH, OBGYNE / 07.02.2015

Pauline Mendola, PhD, Investigator Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH Rockville, MD 20852MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pauline Mendola, PhD, Investigator Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH Rockville, MD 20852 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mendola: Asthma is the most common chronic disease in pregnancy and both asthma and maternal race/ethnicity are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Since the prevalence of asthma also varies by race/ethnicity, we wanted to assess whether asthma was an important contributor to racial/ethnic disparities in pregnancy outcomes. We examined the joint impact of maternal race/ethnicity and asthma status on the risk of obstetric and neonatal outcomes. In general, maternal asthma did not impact the risk of obstetric and neonatal complications within racial/ethnic groups. However, compared to mothers of the same race/ethnicity without asthma, White and Hispanic asthmatic mothers were more likely to have infants born small-for gestational age or admitted to the NICU. White women with asthma were also at increased risk of preeclampsia and maternal hemorrhage and Hispanic mothers with asthma were more likely to have infants with apnea. Despite their increased risk of maternal asthma and neonatal and obstetric complications, maternal asthma did not impact the risk of complications among Black women or their infants. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Occupational Health / 06.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara Grajewski, Ph.D., M.S., Epidemiologist Elizabeth Whelan, Ph.D., Branch Chief Christina Lawson, Ph.D., Epidemiologist Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: The study, published January 5 online ahead of print in the journal Epidemiology, looked at potential workplace reproductive hazards for flight attendants. While in flight, flight attendants are exposed to cosmic radiation from space and, periodically, can be exposed to radiation from solar particle events. Flight attendants can also experience circadian disruption (disruption to the body’s internal time clock) from traveling across time zones and from working during hours when they would normally be asleep. For this study, we analyzed 840 pregnancies among 673 female flight attendants and examined company records of 2 million single flights flown by these women. From these data, we estimated a marker of circadian disruption—working during normal sleeping hours—and exposure to cosmic and solar particle event radiation for each flight. This gives us a much more specific estimate of the exposures these workers face on the job every day. We also assessed the physical demands of the job, such as standing and walking for more than 8 hours a day and bending at the waist more than 25 times a day. Cosmic radiation and circadian disruption among flight attendants are linked very closely on many flights and are very difficult to look at separately when trying to understand what causes miscarriage. This is the first study that has attempted to separate these two exposures to determine which is potentially linked to miscarriage. This study is also an improvement over other studies in its assessment of cosmic radiation for each individual flight flown and from documentation of solar particle events. Earlier studies have looked at how many years a flight attendant has worked or other ways to estimate exposures that are not as specific. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, OBGYNE, UC Davis / 05.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Eleanor B. Schwarz, M.D., M.S University of California, Davis Sacramento, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Schwarz: The background for this study is that… Women treated with Isotretinoin receive a lot of scary information about this medication’s risk of causing birth defects, but few receive clear information on the most effective ways to protect themselves from undesired pregnancy and the risks of medication-induced birth defects. Our main finding is that women who spent less than a minute reviewing a simple information sheet were significantly more likely to be aware that some contraceptives are considerably more effective than others. MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Schwarz: Clinicians who prescribe medications that can cause birth defects should make sure their patients are aware of the fact that women using a birth control pill are typically twenty times more likely to experience a contraceptive failure than those using a subdermal contraceptive implant (e.g. Nexplanon) or intrauterine contraceptive (e.g. Mirena, ParaGard). (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JCEM, OBGYNE / 28.01.2015

Roger Hart MD  FRANZCOG MRCOG CREI Winthrop Professor of Reproductive MedicineSchool of Women's and Infants Health Director of Fertility Specialists of Western Australia The University of Western Australia Perth Western Australia 6008MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Roger Hart MD  FRANZCOG MRCOG CREI Winthrop Professor of Reproductive MedicineSchool of Women's and Infants Health Director of Fertility Specialists of Western Australia The University of Western Australia Perth Western Australia 6008 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hart: PCOS is a very common condition affecting approximately 1 in 12 women and has an estimated annual impact upon the health system in the USA of up to $4.36 billion per year. PCOS is a condition that often manifests itself early in girls life with menstrual problems in adolescence and may lead to reduced fertility in later life due to problems with ovulation. Previous studies have suggested that women with this condition may have other problems in later life, however they have generally been small studies over a short duration. We studied women from 15 years of age, who were admitted to a hospital in Western Australia where a diagnosis of PCOS was recorded on admission. We compared them to women who did not have a PCOS diagnosis recorded on admission using our state-wide hospital database system data linkage. The medical records of 2,566 women with a PCOS diagnosis were followed from 1980 onwards until an average of almost 36 years, and these women were matched to 25,660 women without PCOS. Women with PCOS on average had twice as many hospital admissions and unfortunately were twice as likely to die during the study period. As expected women with PCOS women had a higher rate of menstrual problems and infertility, and require IVF treatment, have a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, and ultimately require surgical intervention for heavy periods and a hysterectomy. In pregnancy women with PCOS were more likely to deliver preterm or have a stillbirth. In addition women with PCOS were four times more likely to develop late onset diabetes, even after taking into consideration obesity. These women wore more likely to have problems with blood pressure and ischemic heart disease, despite being relatively young. They were more likely to develop a deep vein thrombosis and have a diagnosis of asthma. With regard to mental health women with PCOS were twice as likely to have a diagnosis of stress and anxiety and depression. They were more likely to be a victim of self-harm and be involved with a land transport accidents. With regard to cancer; cervical cancer was diagnosed less frequently in women with PCOS, but they had an increased risk of cancer of the womb. The incidence of breast and skin cancers was no different between the groups. (more…)