Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, OBGYNE / 15.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rebecca Pearson, PhD Lecturer in Psychiatric Epidemiology Centre for Academic Mental Health School of Social & Community Medicine University of Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We know depression and anxiety are common in young women and during pregnancy when there are also implications for the developing child. It is therefore important to investigate whether symptoms are rising given the pressures of modern life. We found that compared to their mothers generation in the 1990s young pregnancy women today are more likely to be depressed. This was driven largely by symptoms of anxiety and feeling overwhelmed rather than feeling down.  (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE / 11.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Elizabeth R Cluett  PhD MSc RM RGN PGCEA PFHEA Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Southampton Southampton UK MedicalResearch.com:What is the background for this study? Response: Water immersion during labor and birth is increasingly popular and is becoming widely accepted across many countries, and particularly in midwifery-led care settings. Immersion in water during labor and birth facilitates physiological labor and birth, offers women a non-pharmacological pain relief option and facilitates a sense of choice, control and comfort; qualities strongly associated with women’s satisfaction with their birth experience. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Nutrition, OBGYNE / 05.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua L. Roffman, MD Department of Psychiatry Mass General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Autism, schizophrenia, and other serious mental illness affecting young people are chronic, debilitating, and incurable at present.  Recent public health studies have associated prenatal exposure to folic acid, a B-vitamin, with reduced subsequent risk of these illnesses.  However, until this point, biological evidence supporting a causal relationship between prenatal folic acid exposure and reduced psychiatric risk has remained elusive. We leveraged the rollout of government-mandated folic acid fortification of grain products in the U.S. from 1996-98 as a "natural experiment" to determine whether increased prenatal folic acid exposure influenced subsequent brain development.  This intervention, implemented to reduce risk of spina bifida and other disabling neural tube defects in infants, rapidly doubled blood folate levels among women of childbearing age in surveillance studies. Across two large, independent cohorts of youths age 8 to 18 who received MRI scans, we observed increased cortical thickness, and a delay in age-related cortical thinning, in brain regions associated with schizophrenia risk among individuals who were born during or after the fortification rollout, compared to those born just before it.  Further, delayed cortical thinning also predicted reduced risk of psychosis spectrum symptoms, a finding that suggests biological plausibility in light of previous work demonstrating early and accelerated cortical thinning among school-aged individuals with autism or psychosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE / 04.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Gina Ogilvie | MD MSc FCFP DrPH Professor | Faculty of Medicine | University of British Columbia Canada Research Chair | Global control of HPV related disease and cancer Senior Public Health Scientist | BC Centre for Disease Control Senior Research Advisor | BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre BC Women's Hospital and Health Centre Vancouver, BC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: HPV is known to be the cause of 99% of cervcial cancers. In this study, we compared the routine screening test for cervical cancer, Pap test, to HPV testing. We found that by using HPV testing, women were significantly more likely to have cervical pre-cancers detected earlier. In addition, women with negative HPV tests were significantly less likely to have pre-cancers 48 months later. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, OBGYNE / 03.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer J. Stuart, ScD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Reproductive & Cardiovascular Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Division of Women's Health Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are common pregnancy complications involving high blood pressure that develops for the first time during pregnancy and returns to normal after delivery. Approximately 10 to 15% of all women who have given birth have a history of either preeclampsia or gestational hypertension. Previous studies have shown that women with a history of high blood pressure in pregnancy are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease events like heart attack and stroke later in life when compared to women with normal blood pressure in pregnancy. However, what is less clear is to what extent these women are more likely to develop chronic hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol and when these risk factors begin to emerge after pregnancy. We examined this question in a cohort of nearly 60,000 American women who we were able to follow for up to 50 years after their first pregnancy. Previous studies have been limited by small numbers, short follow-up, or a lack of information on shared risk factors, such as pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking, and family history. This research was conducted within the Nurses’ Health Study II, which collected data on these pre-pregnancy factors in tens of thousands of women over several decades. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 29.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah CM Roberts, DrPH Associate Professor ObGyn&RS Zuckerberg San Francisco General UCSF MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Thirteen states have laws that require abortions to be provided in Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASCs); many of these laws apply only in the second trimester.  We examined outcomes from more than 50,000 abortions provided in two facility types:  Ambulatory Surgery Centers and office-based settings. We found that there was no significant difference in abortion-related complications across facility type; in both settings, about 3.3% had any complication and about 0.3% had a major complication.  There also was no significant difference in complications across facility types for second trimester and later abortions. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 23.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa Lorenzo MD Pediatric medical resident Dr. Lorenzo is currently training at the University of Toronto, however the research was conducted while a medical student at Queens University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Preterm infants are born before 37 weeks gestation, with late preterm neonates defined as infants born between 34 weeks to 37 weeks gestation. Of all preterm births, over 70% of babies are born in the late preterm period. Late preterm births are common, affecting 12.5% of all births in the United States. Compared to infants born at term, late preterm neonates are at increased risk for many common complications following birth such as jaundice, low blood sugar, and respiratory distress, prolong hospital stay, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, and increase readmission rate after hospital discharge. There are many causes for preterm delivery- two important ones are early onset of labour either spontaneous or after premature rupture of membranes, and medically indicated delivery prior to full term gestation due to chronic diseases in mother affecting her health in pregnancy, fetal medical reasons, or placental insufficiency. There is a debate that the risk of neonatal complications is affected by the causes of preterm delivery with immaturity acting as a contributing factor. The relative contribution of immaturity versus the reason for delivery and the resulting neonatal complications is unclear. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, OBGYNE / 19.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Birth” by Sharon Mollerus is licensed under CC BY 2.0Giulia Muraca, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow School of Population and Public Health BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute Faculty of Medicine University of British Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: While cesarean delivery rates have increased in Canada over the last few decades, as in most industrialized settings, the rate of forceps and vacuum deliveries have declined. These opposing trends have led to recommendations to increase forceps and vacuum delivery rates as a strategy to reduce cesarean delivery rates. We found that the rate of obstetric trauma in Canada increased significantly in recent years, especially among forceps deliveries. In first-time mothers, the rate of obstetric trauma increased by 7% among forceps deliveries (from 19.4% in 2004 to 26.5% in 2014) and in women who had a previous cesarean delivery, the rate of obstetric trauma among forceps deliveries increased by 9% (from 16.6% to 25.6%). We found that a 1% increase in the forceps and vacuum delivery rate in Canada was associated with approximately 700 additional cases of obstetric trauma and 18 additional cases of severe birth trauma annually among first-time mothers alone.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 17.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sylvia Becker-Dreps, MD MPH Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine Associate Director, Office of International Activities (Latin America Focus) Director, UNC Program in Nicaragua University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7595 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Pertussis (or whooping cough) is a respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It has been becoming more common in the US over the past two decades. Infants are more likely to be hospitalized and die of the disease. They are especially vulnerable in the first months of life because they have not yet had time to complete the DTaP vaccine series themselves. (Currently, infants receive 3 doses of DTaP at 2,4, and 6 months of age.) Immunizing mothers allows the mothers to pass antibodies against pertussis through the placenta and provide passive immunity to infants early in life. In early 2013, the CDC recommended that pregnant women receive a Tdap vaccine in every pregnancy. That recommendation was based on studies of the immune response to the vaccine, not real cases of pertussis. Our study examined clinical cases of pertussis in over 675,000 infants throughout the US. We found that in the first six months of life, infants of vaccinated mothers (those that received Tdap during pregnancy) had 75% less pertussis hospitalizations and 50% less pertussis cases overall.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Björn Pasternak, MD, PhD Associate Professor,Clinical Epidemiology Division Department of Medicine Solna Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: To summarize the background for this study, there have been animal studies suggesting that oral fluconazole may give rise to fetal death. Given this background and the paucity of controlled human studies, we previously conducted a nationwide register-based study in Denmark, which was published in JAMA in 2016. In that study, we observed an increased risk of spontaneous abortion associated with fluconazole use in pregnancy. This prompted the European Medicines Agency to update the European label of fluconazole, warning about this potential adverse event. Further, findings in that study indicated that there could be an increased risk of stillbirth. We wanted to investigate this outcome further, in an independent data material, and also to investigate the outcome of neonatal death. Here, we report the results of a bi-national study conducted on the basis of nationwide health care registers in Sweden and Norway. From a background cohort of close to 1.5 million deliveries, we identified more than 10,000 pregnancies exposed to oral fluconazole and matched these to more than 100,000 unexposed pregnancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, OBGYNE / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, MPH Lead Research Analyst Department of Population Medicine Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Landmark Center Boston, MA 02215  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Caesarean delivery rates remain high and variable across hospitals, regions, and countries. Caesarean delivery may be a risk factor for childhood obesity, possibly because delivery route can influence the intestinal microbiomes, which may influence energy regulation. Previously reported associations of caesarean delivery with childhood obesity may be confounded by maternal BMI and sociocultural factors. To address this possibility, we studied sibling pairs from the Linked CENTURY Study, a longitudinal clinical database of well-child visits in Massachusetts linked to each child’s birth certificate, to isolate the effect of caesarean delivery from most other factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, OBGYNE / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manish Sagar, MD Infectious Disease Physician at Boston Medical Center Boston MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Women compromise the majority of new infections in the world and most of them acquire the virus after sexual exposure.  The goal of the study was to understand how HIV establishes initial infection in the female genital tract. We obtained discarded vaginal tissue and isolated cells present in the outermost layer that contact the virus during exposure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, OBGYNE / 11.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sandra T. Davidge, PhD, FCAHS Executive Director, Women and Children's Health Research Institute Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health Professor, Depts. of Ob/Gyn and Physiology University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This research contributes to the growing body of literature that developmental programming of adult onset cardiovascular disease originates in the womb. Our study is among the first to discover that maternal age may be considered a ‘prenatal stress’ in certain circumstances. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, JAMA, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 08.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Blood Pressure” by Bernard Goldbach is licensed under CC BY 2.0Ali Khashan, PhD Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology School of Public Health & INFANT Centre University College Cork Cork, Ireland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is some evidence to suggest an increased likelihood of neurodevelopmental disorders in relation to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, however consensus is lacking. Considering hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are among the most common prenatal complication, we decided to synthesise the published literature on this topic by conducting a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis. Our main findings suggest that hypertensive disorders in pregnancy are associated with about 30% increase in the likelihood of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and ADHD in the offspring, compared to offspring not exposed to hypertensive disorders in pregnancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 29.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders, like attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been increasing. One of the hypothesized risk factors for increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders is a class of chemicals known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). These chemicals are known to interfere with the endocrine system, i.e. the system that uses hormones to control and coordinate metabolism, reproduction and development. Several high production volume chemicals, ubiquitously present in commercial products, are known or suspected endocrine disruptors. Because of their widespread use in consumer products, the population-wide exposure to known and suspected EDCs is very high. Recently, there has been increased attention in the potential effects of EDCs on neurodevelopment that span multiple generations. Animal studies have provided evidence that exposure to EDCs, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), alter the behavior and social interactions in mice in three to five generations after exposure. However, evidence of such multi-generational impacts of EDC exposure on neurodevelopment in humans is unavailable, likely because of the lack of detailed information on exposures and outcomes across generations. For this study we leveraged information from a nationwide cohort, the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHSII), to investigate the potential link between exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) and third generation ADHD, i.e. ADHD among the grandchildren of the women who used DES while pregnant. DES is a very potent endocrine disruptor that was prescribed between 1938 and 1971 to pregnant women thought to prevent pregnancy complications. In the United States, between 5 and 10 million women are estimated to have used DES, although the exact number is not known. DES was banned in 1971, when was linked to vaginal adenocarcinomas (a rare cancer of the reproductive system) in the daughters of the women who had used it during pregnancy. Since then, DES has been also linked to multiple other reproductive outcomes in DES daughters, as well as with some reproductive outcomes in the grandchildren of the women who used it, such as hypospadias and delated menstrual regularization. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has evaluated the association between DES, or any other EDC, and multigenerational neurodevelopment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Environmental Risks, Fish, OBGYNE, Toxin Research / 23.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor Wellcome Trust Research Fellow Centre for Child and Adolescent Health Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case. The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, JAMA, OBGYNE / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Acupuncture Needle” by Acid Pix is licensed under CC BY 2.0Caroline Smith, PhD Professor Clinical Research Western Sydney University Research Theme Champion Health and Wellbeing MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Despite technological improvements to IVF the success of IVF treatment remains low. Consequently, new drugs, laboratory techniques and other treatments need to be developed and rigorously tested to explore their effects on producing healthy babies for women undergoing IVF.  In 2002, the first randomised controlled trial of acupuncture administered a specific form of IVF acupuncture at the time of embryo transfer. The results indicated the chance of achieving a pregnancy from acupuncture was twice that to women undergoing IVF treatment alone. From mid 2000s many women have started to use adjunctive treatments such as acupuncture whilst undergoing IVF.  We conducted and reported on a  pilot study in 2006 which produced results suggesting a benefit. It is important that these findings were rigorously examined in a larger trial. Findings are presented from our trial presented in JAMA. Our study of over 800 Australian and New Zealand women undergoing acupuncture treatment during their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle has failed to confirm significant difference in live birth rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, OBGYNE / 16.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Cande V. Ananth, PhD, MPH Adjunct professor Department of Health Policy and Management Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Preterm delivery rates have declined between 2005 and 2014 in the US and in several European countries. Since reductions in preterm and early term deliveries, and perinatal mortality remain a global health priority, determining the relationship between gestational age distribution and perinatal mortality, remains a challenge. Efforts expended to a more complete understanding of the impact of new interventions, policies, and practices on reducing the burden of early deliveries, and in turn improvements in perinatal survival will be of tremendous benefit for clinical management and care of women during their pregnancy and the newborn. (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, OBGYNE / 07.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Childbirth” by DAVID Swift is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Dr. Carmen Young Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology University of Alberta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: For women who have had a single previous cesarean section, the optimal mode of delivery in a subsequent pregnancy is controversial. This is because there are risks and benefits to attempting a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC) or having an elective repeat cesarean section. Attempted VBAC is associated with a higher risk of uterine rupture and other maternal and infant complications. Repeat cesarean sections are associated with an increased risk of surgical complications and placental complications in subsequent pregnancies. Furthermore, it is difficult to predict which patients will have a successful VBAC. This study is unique in that it uses recent Canadian data, allowing assessment of the impact of contemporary obstetrical care on maternal and neonatal outcomes in Canada. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE, Sugar / 02.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Soda” by Jannes Pockele is licensed under CC BY 2.0Juliana F. W. Cohen, ScM, ScD Department of Health Sciences Merrimack College North Andover MA 01845. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sugar consumption among Americans is above recommended limits and this excess intake may have important health implications. This study examined the associations of pregnancy and offspring sugar consumption, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages, other beverages (diet soda, juice), and fruit consumption with child cognition. This study found that when pregnant women or their children consumed greater quantities of sugar, as well as when women consumed diet soda during pregnancy, this was associated with poorer childhood cognition.  However, children’s fruit consumption was associated with higher cognitive scores. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE / 12.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aled Rees, MD, PhD Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute Cardiff University School of Medicine, Health Park Cardiff United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: PCOS is a common condition, affecting 5-10% of women globally, in which elevated male hormone levels can cause a range of distressing and life-limiting symptoms, including reduced fertility, irregular periods, excessive facial and body hair, and acne. Previous studies have suggested a link between PCOS and poor mental health in women but the studies were small and did not adequately take other factors that can affect mental health into consideration. In addition, high levels of testosterone during pregnancy have been reported to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism, in children. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 11.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jiook Cha, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What did we already know about the connection between maternal SSRI use during pregnancy and infant brain development, and how do the current study findings add to our understanding? What’s new/surprising here and why does it matter for mothers and babies? Response: Prior studies have shown mixed results in terms of the associations between maternal SRI use during pregnancy and offspring’s brain and cognitive development. Neurobiological studies with animal models suggest that SSRI use perturbs serotonin signaling and that this has important effects on cognitive development (a study conducted an author of this paper, Jay Gingrich, MD, PhD: Ansorge et al., 2004, Science). The human literature has been more mixed in terms of the associations of prenatal exposure to SSRI with brain and cognitive development. In our study, we used neonatal brain imaging because this is a direct, non-invasive method to test associations between SSRI use and brain development at an early developmental stage, limiting the effects of the post-natal environment. In our study, we had two different control groups, that is, a non-depressed SSRI-free group (healthy controls), and depressed but SSRI-free (SSRI controls) group. Also, in our study we used rigorous imaging analytics that significantly improve the quantitative nature of MR-derived signals from the brain structure using two of the nation’s fastest supercomputers (Argonne National Laboratory and Texas Advanced Computing Center) and allows robust reconstruction of brain’s grey and white matter structure in the infants’ brains. We report a significant association of prenatal exposure to SSRI with a volume increases within many brain areas, including the amygdala and insula cortex, and an increase in white matter connection strength between the amygdala and insular cortex. We were surprised by the magnitude of the effects (or the statistical effect size), compared with other brain imaging studies in psychiatry with children or adults’ brains. Importantly, it should be noted that our estimates of brain structure are still experimental and for research-purpose only. This means that our data need to be replicated and rigorously tested against confounders in order to make a firm conclusion. While our study suggests a “potential” association between prenatal exposure to SSRI and a change in fetal or infant brain development, we still need more research.  tracts_in_the_brain (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE, Pediatrics / 09.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Claudia I. Lugo-Candelas, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Columbia University Medical Center/ New York State Psychiatric Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have seen, in the last decade, an increase in the amount of mothers being prescribed SSRIs during pregnancy. While we know that untreated prenatal maternal depression has adverse consequences for both the mother and child, it’s not really clear what, if any, are the consequences of prenatal SSRI exposure on infant’s brain development. There have been some studies finding increased depression and anxiety in children prenatally exposed to SSRIs, but not all studies find these associations. We thus looked at 2-4 week old infants’ brains, using neuroimaging.  We found increased gray matter volume within the amygdala and insula, and increased white matter connectivity between these two structures in infants prenatally exposed to SSRIs. Of note, the statistical significance and the size of the effects we detected are quite large, even greater than the brain changes that we usually observe in our studies of children and adults with psychiatric disorders. Further, because these structures are involved in emotion processing, and alterations in volume and connectivity are sometimes seen in clinical populations, or in people at risk for anxiety, it important to learn more about what these volume and connectivity differences could mean for these infants. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, OBGYNE, UCLA / 22.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marlena Fejzo, PhD Aassociate researche David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Most women experience some nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, and the worst 2% are diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum which is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes. I had HG in 2 pregnancies. In my second pregnancy my HG was so severe that I could not move without vomiting and did not keep any food or water down for 10 weeks. I was put on a feeding tube, but ultimately lost the baby in the second trimester. I am a medical scientist by training so I looked into what was known about HG. At the time, very little was known, so I decided to study it. I partnered with the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) and we did a survey on family history of .Hyperemesis Gravidarum that provided evidence to support a role for genes. I collected saliva samples from HG patients and their unaffected acquaintances to do a DNA study. Then I partnered with the personal genetics company, 23andMe to do a genome scan and validation study, which identified 2 genes, GDF15 and IGFBP7, linked to HG. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, OBGYNE, Weight Research / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology Fritz Bradley Talbot and Nathan Bill Talbot Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Disordered eating behavior is common in conditions of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, such as anorexia nervosa and exercise-induced amenorrhea, which are also associated with anxiety and depression. In hypoestrogenic rodents, estrogen replacement reduces anxiety-related behavior. Similarly, physiologic estrogen replacement in adolescents with anorexia nervosa reduces anxiety and prevents the increased body dissatisfaction observed with increasing weightHowever, the impact of estrogen administration on disordered eating behavior and psychopathology in normal-weight young women with exercise-induced amenorrhea is unknown. Adolescent and young adult normal-weight athletes 14-25 years old with irregular periods were randomized to receive (i) physiologic estrogen replacement using a transdermal patch with cyclic progesterone, or (ii) an oral estrogen-progesterone containing pill (an oral contraceptive pill), or (iii) no estrogen for 12-months. The Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) were administered ag the beginning and the end of the study to assess disordered eating behavior and psychopathology. We found that the group that did not receive estrogen had a worsening of disordered eating behavior and psychopathology over the 12-months duration of the study, but this was not observed in the group that received estrogen replacement. Further, body dissatisfaction scores improved over 12-months in the groups receiving estrogen replacement, with the transdermal estrogen group showing the strongest effect. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Menopause, OBGYNE, Sexual Health / 20.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology http://massgeneral.link/MitchellLab MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study we compared two commonly recommended treatments for menopausal vaginal discomfort - low dose vaginal estradiol tablets and a vaginal moisturizer - to placebo, and found no difference in reduction of symptom severity; all three groups improved over 12 weeks of treatment.  This is great news for women, as it means that using any treatment regularly is likely to have benefit, whether it costs $20 or $200. Symptoms of vaginal dryness, irritation and pain with sex, which occur in over half of postmenopausal women, cause a significant decrease in quality of life and negatively impact intimate relationships.  The significant impact of these symptoms is reflected in the fact that we enrolled all 302 participants in under a year, a faster enrollment than any of the four prior trials  conducted by the MsFlash research network that evaluated treatments for hot flashes.  Women were desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Fish, Imperial College, Nutrition, OBGYNE, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Probiotics / 02.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Robert Boyle, Reader in Paediatric Allergy Department of Medicine Imperial College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Diet in early life may influence whether or not an infant develops allergies or autoimmune disease. We undertook a project for the UK Food Standards Agency to evaluate the evidence for this. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: We found that a probiotic supplement during the last 2-4 weeks of pregnancy and during breastfeeding may reduce an infant’s chances of developing eczema; and that omega-3 fatty acid supplements taken from the middle of pregnancy (20 weeks gestation) through the first few months of breastfeeding may reduce an infant’s chances of developing food allergy. We also found links between longer duration of breastfeeding and improved infant health, but for most other variations in diet during pregnancy or infancy we did not find evidence for a link with allergies or autoimmune disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, OBGYNE / 12.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel McGrath BSc (Hons), PhD Senior Research Fellow - Department of Endocrinology, RNSH Clinical Senior Lecturer - Northern Clinical School University of Sydney  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Women with type 1 diabetes are significantly more likely to experience complications during pregnancy and to have infants with high birth weights. This can result in adverse outcomes at the time of delivery for both mother and baby, and can also predispose infants to obesity and chronic disease in later life. The relationship between maternal blood glucose levels and foetal growth in type 1 diabetes in pregnancy has not been completely elucidated. Thus, we examined the association between maternal glycaemic control and foetal growth by examining serial ultrasound measurements and also by determining the relationship between HbA1c (a measure of circulating glucose exposure over a three month time period) and infant birth weight. We found that maternal glucose levels were directly related to foetal abdominal circumference in the late second and third trimesters and also to birth weight. We also confirmed the results of previous studies to show that the optimal HbA1c during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of large-for-gestational-age neonates is < 6%.  (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 08.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marie Harvey, DrPH MPH Lisa P. Oakley, PhD MPH College of Public Health and Human Sciences Oregon State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Because decisions about contraceptives are often made by young adults in the context of their relationships and specific partners, the characteristics of that relationship and feelings about that partner will likely influence how those decisions are made. Many studies have previously investigated individual factors that affect contraceptive choice and when examining partner influences have used questions that were not specific to a particular partner. Intuition, however, suggests that feelings for a specific partner would likely influence one’s perception of risk for disease acquisition, and thereby, their contraceptive choice. So, it was important to us to look at the influences of each specific partner and how the unique dynamics of each partnership influence contraceptive use. In this study, we investigated how relationship qualities and dynamics (such as commitment and sexual decision-making) impact contraceptive choice above and beyond individual factors. We also used partner-specific questions. We found that both individual and partner-specific relationship qualities and dynamics predicted contraceptive use, but these factors varied by contraceptive method. For example, young adults who reported greater exclusivity with a specific partner and more relationship commitment were less likely to use only condoms with that partner. Additionally, individuals who felt they played a strong role in making sexual decisions in their relationship were also more likely to only use condoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, OBGYNE / 08.02.2018

“Pregnancy 1” by operalynn is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Jane Halliday, PhD Group Leader, Public Health Genetics Genetics Murdoch Childrens Research Institute The Royal Children’s Hospital Parkville, Victoria  AUS  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The aim of the study was to examine the choice that pregnant women make about the amount of genetic information they want from their pregnancy. Women who underwent prenatal testing via chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis were recruited from across seven sites in Victoria. Provision of this choice is not routinely offered but we thought it was important to look at this issue carefully, in a real-time setting, because, over the last five years, advances in technology have transformed how genetic abnormalities can be detected during a pregnancy.  Rather than examining genetic material (chromosomes) down the microscope, it is now possible to use a technique called ‘microarray’ which can do the analysis with 100 times greater depth than can be achieved using a microscope. The plus side is that the microarray technique can detect a far greater number of potentially important genetic differences; but a down side is that it can also detect many changes for which the impact on the health of the baby is unknown or uncertain. Examples of genetic differences that carry certainty are major chromosome abnormalities such as the trisomies e.g. Down Syndrome, and deletions associated with severe intellectual disability in 100% of cases, e.g. 1p.36 deletion. Uncertain findings are the various small deletions and duplications that are known to only have an adverse outcome in 10-20% of people with them. All participants were provided with a decision aid which described in detail the choice available in regards to the genetic information. The options were ‘targeted’, where only the information that would affect health of the baby was provided, or ‘extended’, where all information, even the uncertain aspects, was provided. Participants were asked to read the decision aid, complete a ten minute survey along with indicating their choice of genetic information. (more…)