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 Angeles MedicalResearch.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 Angeles MedicalResearch.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, CDC MedicalResearch.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 Francisco MedicalResearch.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, Sweden MedicalResearch.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, Denmark MedicalResearch.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 Researcher MedicalResearch.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 20852 MedicalResearch.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 6008 MedicalResearch.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…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, PLoS / 25.01.2015

Charles Morrison PhD FHI 360 Clinical Sciences Durham, North Carolina MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Charles Morrison PhD FHI 360 Clinical Sciences Durham, North Carolina MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Morrison: The possible connection between hormonal contraception and HIV acquisition has been an open question for 25 years. Some studies have suggested that there is an increased risk associated with hormonal contraception, particularly with the 3-month injectable contraceptive called depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA). Other studies have found that no such risk exists. The World Health Organization (WHO) has held several technical consultations on this subject. WHO’s current guidelines state that “because of the inconclusive nature of the body of evidence on the possible increased risk of HIV acquisition, women using progestogen-only injectable contraception should be strongly advised to also always use condoms, male or female, and other HIV preventive measures.” Two meta-analyses focusing on hormonal contraception and HIV acquisition have recently been published. One of them, FHI 360’s collaborative study, is an individual participant data meta-analysis. It found that users of injectable DMPA were 50 percent more likely to become infected with HIV than women not using hormonal contraceptives. For women using a different injectable progestin, norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN), or combined oral contraceptives (COC), the study investigators did not find a significantly increased risk of acquiring HIV compared to those who were not using hormonal contraceptives. Furthermore, DMPA users were 43 percent and 32 percent more likely to become infected with HIV compared to oral contraceptives users and NET-EN users, respectively. It is important to point out a key secondary finding. The associations between hormonal contraception and risk of becoming infected with HIV were attenuated in studies that had a lower risk of methodological bias compared to those with higher risk of bias. This suggests that some of the risk found to be associated with hormonal contraception in fact may be attributed to inherent flaws in the nonrandomized studies themselves. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Opiods / 25.01.2015

Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer Lind PharmD, MPH Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, CDC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Lind: CDC researchers published a new study estimating the proportion of women aged 15-44 years who filled a prescription for opioid pain medications. Opioids are prescribed by healthcare providers to treat moderate to severe pain. They are also found in some prescription cough medications. Opioids include medications like codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, or morphine. For this study, researchers used data from two large insurance claims datasets—one on Medicaid and one on private insurance—and looked at data from 2008-2012. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Lind: Opioid medications are widely used among women of reproductive age in the United States, regardless of insurance type. On average, more than a third (39 percent) of women aged 15-44 years enrolled in Medicaid, and more than one fourth (28 percent) of those with private insurance filled a prescription for an opioid pain medication each year during 2008-2012. Taking these medications early in pregnancy, often before women know they are pregnant, can increase the risk for some birth defects (such as spina bifida) and other poor pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth or low birth weight). (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 21.01.2015

Anna Geraghty Department of Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anna Geraghty Department of Integrative Biology University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: RFRP3 in mammals has been well characterized as a negative regulator of the hormonal reproductive axis. It shuts down release of gonadotropins necessary for successful reproduction, similar to how stress inhibits reproduction. Our lab has previously shown that stress can directly regulate RFRP3 levels in males-both acute and chronic stress lead to an upregulation of RFRP3 levels in the male rat. As a followup to that study, we were interested in looking at whether this response was similar in females, and how that may affect long term fertility. We found that chronic (18 days) of stress led to an increase in RFRP3 levels all all stages of the estrous cycle. This increase was also sustained for at least 4 days, or one whole estrous cycle, after the stress ended- the equivalent to a month menstrual cycle in humans. In rats that were stressed and then allowed to recover for 4 days, animals that were stressed were significantly less successful at reproducing- 76% success rate in controls compared to 21% in the stressed animals. This was a result of a combination of deficits in the mating process- less stressed animals successfully copulated, those that did successfully mate had fewer pregnancies, and gave birth to smaller litters. However, utilizing an inducible virus to knockdown RFRP levels in the hypothalamus specifically during the stress period prevented all of these problems- stressed animals without stress-induced RFRP3 increases looked indistinguishable to controls. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, OBGYNE / 20.01.2015

Sheree L. Boulet, DrPH, MPH Division of Reproductive Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheree L. Boulet, DrPH, MPH Division of Reproductive Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Boulet: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for male factor infertility; however, some studies have shown that ICSI is increasingly used in patients without male factor infertility without clear evidence of a benefit over conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF). In addition to increasing the cost of an IVF cycle, use of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection has been found to increase the risk for adverse infant outcomes such as birth defects, chromosomal abnormalities and autism. Using data from CDC’s National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System, we found that use of ICSI increased by fourfold from 1996 through 2012 (from 15.4% to 66.9%). Furthermore, we found that use of Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection did not improve reproductive outcomes such as rates of pregnancy, miscarriage and live birth, when compared with conventional IVF, regardless of whether male factor infertility was present. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Supplements / 15.01.2015

Jennifer Williams MSN, MPH, FNP-BC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC, Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Williams MSN, MPH, FNP-BC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities CDC, Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Neural tube defects are serious birth defects of the brain and spine that can cause significant disability and death. Studies have shown that taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy can reduce the prevalence of neural tube defects. Therefore, in 1992, the US Public Health Service (USPHS) recommended that all women of childbearing age in the United States who are capable of becoming pregnant consume 400mcg of folic acid per day to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. To help women meet this requirement, in 1998 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that folic acid be added to enriched grain products for the prevention of neural tube defects. This study looks at how many neural tube defects have been prevented annually since folic acid fortification. Using data from birth defects tracking systems, researchers found that since folic acid fortification, the birth prevalence of neural tube defects has decreased by 35% in the United States, which translates to about 1,300 babies that are born each year without a neural tube defect who might otherwise have been affected. This study also reports that the number of babies born with a neural tube defect annually differs by the mother’s race/ethnicity. Hispanic mothers continue to be at the highest risk for having a baby with a neural tube defect. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE / 06.01.2015

Dr. Jennifer Kawwass MD Assistant Professor Emory University MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer Kawwass MD Assistant Professor Emory University Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Kawwass: This study affirms that Assisted Reproductive Technology treatment is relatively safe and that reported complications remain rare. In the US from 2000-2011, autologous and donor ART procedures were associated with low reported stimulation and surgical complication risks; no concerning trends or patterns were identified. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) was the most frequently reported complication among autologous and donor cycles, though less frequent in donor cycles. Obstetric mortality which may or may not be related to Assisted Reproductive Technology was rare. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 02.01.2015

lauren corona MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Corona BS Wayne State University School of Medicine Detroit, MI Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hysterectomy is the most commonly performed major gynecologic surgery in the United States. This study sought to examine how often alternative treatment is considered prior to hysterectomy for benign indications and how often pathology in the surgical specimen supports the need for hysterectomy. We utilized data from the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, a statewide hospital collaborative, and limited the analysis to patients having a hysterectomy for uterine fibroids, abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis, and/or pelvic pain. Alternative treatment to hysterectomy was not documented prior to surgery in 38% (i.e. no documentation that the patient declined, was unable to tolerate, or failed any alternative treatment). A progesterone intrauterine device (IUD) was the least utilized form of alternative treatment, documented in only 12% of patients. In addition, nearly 1 in 5 (18.3%) had pathology reported that did not support the need for hysterectomy—i.e. the uterus was described as normal or unremarkable or only had minor amounts of pathology. Women <40 years had the highest rate of unsupportive pathology at 38%. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE / 28.12.2014

Keith P. West, Jr., Dr.P.H., R.D. Professor and Director Program and Center in Human Nutrition Department of International Health Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 21205 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Keith P. West, Jr., Dr.P.H., R.D. Professor and Director Program and Center in Human Nutrition Department of International Health Bloomberg School of Public Health Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland 21205 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. West: Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) that must be provided by the diet, are a major public health concern in undernourished societies. In rural South Asia, where some 35 million babies are born each year, maternal micronutrient deficiencies are common and may increase risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth, low birth weight or stillbirth and infant mortality. Further, a newborn of low birth weight faces higher risks of poor postnatal growth, infection and mortality. Where prenatal care exists, iron-folic acid supplements are often prescribed as standard care to prevent iron deficiency anemia. But it is likely that many micronutrient deficiencies emerge from an inadequate diet, raising the possibility that a supplement that provides each day a recommended dietary allowance of most essential vitamins and minerals could measurably improve the health of the mother, fetus and infant. Because prenatal multinutrient supplements are rarely taken in low income countries, it is important to assess their potential to improve health before recommending this practice. We did this be conducting a large prenatal supplementation trial in rural Bangladesh, randomizing 44,567 pregnant women in their 1st trimester to receive a supplement with 15 vitamins and minerals or only iron and folic acid, followed their pregnancies and survival of their 28,516 infants to 6 months of age. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. West: The multiple micronutrient supplement had the effect of extending the length of gestation compared to the iron-folic acid supplement, by about 2 days on average. This was enough to lower risk of preterm birth, below 37 weeks, by 15%. The extra time in the womb also allowed the fetus to grow a little larger, increasing birth weight (by 54 grams or about 2 ounces) as well as length and other measures of size, leading to a 12% reduction in low birth weight. In addition, there was an 11% reduction in risk of stillbirth. These are all indications of a healthier pregnancy. Although we observed a 14% lower mortality from all causes in girls, there was not a similar effect in boys, leading to no overall effect. We are continuing to investigate possible reasons for this difference. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HPV, OBGYNE, Vaccine Studies / 22.12.2014

dr-pedro-moro MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pedro Moro MD MPH Immunization Safety Office, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Moro: Gardasil® is a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine recommended for all girls and boys at age 11 or 12, and teens and young adults who did not get the vaccine when they were younger. Because there is limited safety data available on use of the vaccine during pregnancy, it is not currently recommended for pregnant women. However, some pregnant women will inadvertently receive Gardasil® because they do not yet know that they are pregnant at the time of vaccination. The study reviewed non-manufacturer reports to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) about pregnant women who received Gardasil®. VAERS is a national vaccine safety surveillance program co-administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS accepts reports of health problems that occur after any US-licensed vaccine (these are called adverse events). VAERS may also accept reports not describing any health problem but vaccination errors (for example, administration of a vaccine not recommended to a particular group of people like pregnant women). VAERS is an early-warning system and cannot generally assess if a vaccine caused an adverse event. After reviewing all non-manufacturer reports of Gardasil vaccination during pregnancy, this study found no unexpected patterns of safety issues for pregnant woman who received Gardasil®, or for their babies. This finding is reassuring and reconfirms the safety of this vaccine for pregnant women, as was previously reported by the pregnancy registry maintained by Gardasil®’s manufacturer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, OBGYNE, UC Davis / 10.12.2014

Cheryl K. Walker, MD Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, The MIND Institute School of Medicine, University of California, Davis MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl K. Walker, MD Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, The MIND Institute School of Medicine, University of California, Davis Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Walker: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral condition identified in 1 in 68 U.S. children and is part of a broader group of developmental disabilities that affects 1 in 6 children. Growing evidence suggests that Autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay originate during fetal life. Preeclampsia is a complicated and frequently dangerous pregnancy condition that appears to arise from a shallow placental connection and may increase the risk of abnormal neurodevelopment through several pathways. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Walker: Children with Autism spectrum disorder were more than twice as likely to have been exposed to preeclampsia compared with children with typical development. Risk for ASD was increased further in children born to mothers with more severe presentations of preeclampsia. Mothers of children with developmental delay were more than 5 times more likely to have had severe forms preeclampsia – often with evidence of reduced placental function – compared with mothers of children with typical development. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 03.12.2014

Stefan Johansson, MD PhD consultant neonatologist Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stefan Johansson, MD PhD consultant neonatologist Stockholm, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Johansson: Maternal obesity (BMI ≥ 30) has previously been linked to increased infant mortality. However, research has not produced consistent results. For example, there are disagreements whether infants to overweight mothers (BMI 25-29) are at increased risk, and research on BMI-related specific causes of death is scarce. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, OBGYNE / 24.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin B. Michels, ScD, PhD Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Michels: We were interested in studying the long-term effects of oral contraceptive use on mortality. Given the widespread use of oral contraceptives, this is an important question pertaining to millions of women worldwide. We explored this question in the large Nurses’ Health Study, a cohort of 121,700 women in the US, who have been followed for 38 years. We found that oral contraceptive use does not impact overall mortality. However, breast cancer mortality was slightly increased, especially with long-term use of oral contraceptives. (more…)
OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Weight Research / 16.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ian R. Macumber MD Pediatric Nephrology, Seattle Children's Hospital Seattle, Washington Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Macumber: The main finding is that there is a strong association between maternal obesity and odds of congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) in offspring. This relationship remains strong when looking at offspring with renal malformation (excluding non-renal congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract), or in offspring with isolated congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract (no congenital anomalies elsewhere in the body). There is a dose-response relationship to this association, with the offspring of extremely obese mothers have even higher odds of having congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Statins / 14.11.2014

Mostafa Borahay, MD, FACOG Assistant Professor, Director of Simulation Education Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Texas Medical Branch MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mostafa Borahay, MD, FACOG Assistant Professor, Director of Simulation Education Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Texas Medical BranchCo-director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery University of Texas Medical Branch Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Borahay: Uterine fibroids are the most common type of tumor in the female reproductive system, accounting for half of the 600,000 hysterectomies done annually in the U.S. Their estimated annual cost is up to $34 billion in the U.S. alone. Despite this, the exact cause of these tumors is not well understood, as there are several genetic, familial and hormonal abnormalities linked with their development. Even more, we currently don’t have a satisfactory medical treatment for these tumors. Our team investigated the impact of simvastatin on human uterine fibroid cell growth. Statins, such as simvastatin, are commonly prescribed to lower high cholesterol levels. Statins work by blocking an early step in cholesterol production. Beyond these well-known cholesterol-lowering abilities, statins also combat certain tumors. Statins have previously been shown to have anti-tumor effects on breast, ovarian, prostate, colon, leukemia and lung cancers. However, the effect of statins on uterine fibroids was unknown. We found that simvastatin impedes the growth of uterine fibroid tumor cells. We also studied the way simvastatin works to suppress these tumors. Simvastatin was shown to inhibit ERK phosphorylation, which is a critical step in the molecular pathway that prompts the growth of new cells. In addition, simvastatin stops the progression of tumor cells that have already begun to grow and induces calcium-dependent cell death mechanisms in fibroid tumor cells. Therefore, we identified a novel pathway by which simvastatin induces the death of uterine fibroid tumor cells. (more…)