Mothers of Infants Born With Major Birth Defect are at Increased Risk of Cardiovasular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Associate Scientist and Program Head (interim), Child Health Evaluative Sciences Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children Staff Physician, Division of Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children Professor, Paediatrics and Health Policy, Management & Evaluation The University of Toronto 

Dr. Cohen

Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C)
Associate Scientist and Program Head (interim), Child Health Evaluative Sciences
Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children
Staff Physician, Division of Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children
Professor, Paediatrics and Health Policy
Management & Evaluation
The University of Toronto

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

Response: Having a child with a major birth defect can be a life-changing and stressful event for the child’s mother.  This stress may be associated with higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease.

We found that mothers of infants born with a major birth defect had a 15% higher risk of premature cardiovascular disease that a comparison group of mothers.  The risk was more pronounced, rising to 37% among mothers who gave birth to a more severely affected infant (and infant born with major birth defects affecting more than one organ system). The risk was apparent even within the first 10 years after the birth of the child.

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ADHD More Common if Grandmother Used DES During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou ScD Assistant Professor Environmental Health Sciences Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University 

Dr. Kioumourtzoglou

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.

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Zika Birth Defects More Severe When Mothers Infected During First Trimester

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This image depicts a posterior view of a patient’s back, captured in a clinical setting, upon presenting with this blotchy rash. After a diagnostic work-up, it was determined that the rash had been caused by the Zika virus. Note: Not all patients with Zika get a rash CDC image

This image depicts a posterior view of a patient’s back, captured in a clinical setting, upon presenting with this blotchy rash. After a diagnostic work-up, it was determined that the rash had been caused by the Zika virus.
Note: Not all patients with Zika get a rash
CDC image

Professor Bruno Hoen, M.D., Ph.D
Dept of Infectious Diseases, Dermatology, and Internal Medicine
University Medical Center of Guadeloupe 

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

Response: Zika virus (ZIKV) infection during pregnancy has been identified only recently to cause severe birth defects, including microcephaly, other brain defects, and the congenital Zika syndrome. However, the magnitude of this risk was not clearly defined, with discrepancies between observational data from Brazil and the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry. We implemented a cohort study of pregnant women who have been exposed to ZIKV throughout the outbreak that hit the Caribbean in 2016.
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Autoantibodies Generated By Zika Virus May Explain Some Consequences of Infection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Slobodan Paessler, D.V.M., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Pathology; Director, Galveston National Laboratory Preclinical Studies Core;  Director, Animal Biosafety Level 3, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity; Member, Center for Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases University of Texas Medical Branch  Galveston, TX

Dr. Paessler

Slobodan Paessler, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Pathology;
Director, Galveston National Laboratory Preclinical Studies Core;
Director, Animal Biosafety Level 3, Institute for Human Infections and Immunity;
Member, Center for Biodefense & Emerging Infectious Diseases
University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, TX

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

Response: Zika virus infection is associated with various developmental issues for human embryos such as reduced head growth, reduced brain tissue growth, and damage to brain or eyes. We wanted to better understand if some of these birth defects are caused directly by the Zika virus or maybe by the host response to infection.

In our study we demonstrate that the Zika virus infection induces autoimmune response against the C1q protein. This protein is a very important immune protein as well as one of the essential proteins for healthy brain development. Attacking the C1q protein upon exposure with the Zika virus could contribute to the development of autoimmune disorders and birth defects.  Continue reading

Small Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects With ADHD Drug During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120  

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

Response: In recent years, use of stimulant medications in adults, including women of reproductive age, has increased substantially.

However, data regarding the safety of stimulant medications in early pregnancy are sparse and conflicting.  For example, two recent cohort studies failed to detect an association between use of methylphenidate in early pregnancy and overall or cardiac malformations, while another found an 81% increased risk of cardiac malformations, although the estimate was imprecise.

Given the rapidly increasing use of stimulant medications during pregnancy and among women of reproductive age who may become pregnant inadvertently, there is an urgent need to better understand their safety.

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Stress of 911 Linked To Decrease In Male Babies Born With Birth Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Parvati Singh B. Tech, MBA, MPA
PhD student, Department of Public Health,
University of California, Irvine and
Dr. Tim Bruckner, first author

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

Response: This study builds upon earlier research by our group which showed that male fetal deaths rose and the number of liveborn males fell after the 9/11 attacks. Here we show that, in California, the number of live born males with birth defects fell after 9/11.

This finding appears consistent with the notion that frail male gestations, such as those with defects, may have been lost in utero as a result of the stress induced by the 9/11 attacks.

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Maternal Obesity Linked To Increased Risk of Congenital Malformations in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Martina Persson

Clinical Epidemiology Unit
Department of Medicine Solna
Karolinska University Hospita

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

Response: It is well known that obesity increases risks of several maternal, fetal and neonatal complications including congenital malformations. However, it has not been clear if risks of malformations are increased also in offspring of normal weight mothers or if risks increase with degree of maternal obesity.

In this study, we found progressively increasing risks of major congenital malformations in the offspring with a mother’s overweight and obesity severity.

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

Response: The most sensitive period of fetal organ development is the first eight weeks of gestation and it is during this time a mother´s BMI may influence risks of malformations. Thus, it is important to try to obtain a normal bodyweight before conception.

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

Response: Our results should be confirmed in other populations and mechanisms behind the increased risks of malformations associated with maternal obesity should be further explored.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Obesity is a major health problem in many countries in the world. Preventive measures to halt the obesity epidemic should be implemented at all levels of society.

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

Citation:

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

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Lithium Use in Pregnancy and Risk of Fetal Cardiac Malformations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elisabetta Patorno, MD, DrPH Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Patorno

Elisabetta Patorno, MD, DrPH
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics,
Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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

Response: Lithium, a widely used medicine to treat bipolar disorder, has been associated with a 400 fold increased risk of Ebstein’s anomaly, a congenital malformation of the heart, and a 5 fold increased risk of cardiac defects overall in infants when taken early in pregnancy, based on the results from the International Register of Lithium Babies in the 1970’s. Beyond this data, most of the information on the safety of lithium during pregnancy accumulated in the last 40 years is based on case reports and small studies with conflicting results. Despite these concerns and the limited information, lithium remains a first-line treatment for the 1% of women of reproductive age with bipolar disorder in the U.S. population, due to its recognized efficacy during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and due to the presence of a larger body of evidence showing increased risk of congenital malformations for other mood stabilizers, such as valproate.

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No Increased Risk of Congenital Abnormalities Found With Paternal Use of Immunosuppressant Therapies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander Egeberg, MD PhD National Allergy Research Centre, Departments of Dermato-Allergology and Cardiology Herlev and Gentofte University Hospital, University of Copenhagen Hellerup, Denmark

Dr. Alexander Egeberg

Alexander Egeberg, MD PhD
Gentofte Hospital
Department of Dermatology and Allergy
Denmark

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

Response: An issue that frequently arise in clinical practice is the question from patients whether they should discontinue their therapy if they want to have children. Since immunosuppressant agents are frequently used for a number of conditions, and discontinuation could lead to disease flaring, assessment of the potential impact of such drugs on birth outcomes is important.

In our study, we examined birth outcomes in children whose father had received treatment with methotrexate, azathioprine, cyclosporine, and mycophenolate mofetil in the time leading up to conception.

Importantly, we found no increased risk of congenital abnormalities, low birth weight, or preterm birth associated with paternal treatment with these drugs.

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Neural Tube Defects in Infants Share Molecular Processes With Neurodegenerative Diseases

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhiyong Zhao, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences University of Maryland School of Medicine Baltimore, MD

Dr. Zhiyong Zhao

Zhiyong Zhao, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

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

Response: Diabetes in early pregnancy can cause neural tube defects in fetus. The defects are a result of failure in neural tube closure, due to excess cell death. The aim of this study was to delineate molecular processes that induce cell death.

The main findings of this study are:
(1) Hyperglycemia disrupts protein folding. The misfolded proteins, including the ones that are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, form aggregates, indicating similar molecular processes in both fetal neural tube defects and adult neurodegenerative diseases.
(2) Protein aggregation leads to formation of a neurodegenerative disease-related cell death inducting mechanism.

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Flu Treatment With Neuraminidase Inhibitors During Pregnancy Not Linked To Birth Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sophie Graner Department of Women's and Childrens Health Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Graner

Dr. Sophie Graner
Department of Women’s and Childrens Health
Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: Pregnant women are at increased risks of severe disease and death due to influensa infection, as well as hospitalization. Also influenza and fever increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes for their infants such as intrauterine death and preterm birth. Due to this, the regulatory agencies in Europe and the US recommended post exposure prophylaxis and treatment for pregnant women with neuraminidase inhibitors during the last influenza pandemic 2009-10. Despite the recommendations, the knowledge on the effect of neuraminidase inhibitors on the infant has been limited. Previously published studies have not shown any increased risk, but they have had limited power to assess specific neonatal outcomes such as stillbirth, neonatal mortality, preterm birth, low Agar score, neonatal morbidity and congenital malformations.
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Reduced Stem Cells Link Congenital Heart Disease To Impaired Brain Growth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Childrens National Research Team

Children’s National Research Team

Paul D. Morton, Ph.D.
Research PostDoc and lead study author of “Abnormal Neurogenesis and Cortical Growth in Congenital Heart Disease.”
Children’s National Health System Washington, DC

Nobuyuki Ishibashi, M.D.
Director of the Cardiac Surgery Research Laboratory at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

Vittorio Gallo, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for Neuroscience Research at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

 

 

Richard A. Jonas, M.D.
Chief of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Children’s National Health System and co-senior study author.

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

Response: Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the leading birth defect in the United States and often results in an array of long-term neurological deficits including motor, cognitive and behavioral abnormalities. It has become increasingly clear that children with CHD often have underdeveloped brains. In many cases of complex CHD, blood flow to the brain is both reduced and less oxygenated, which has been associated with developmental abnormalities and delay. The cellular mechanisms underlying the impact of CHD on brain development remain largely unknown. We developed a preclinical chronic hypoxia model to define these mechanisms.

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Link Between Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Birth Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE

Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and
Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center CHU Ste-Justine 

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

Response: We have over 20 years of research showing that antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of major congenital malformations. However, it still remains that controversies exist because we are not sure which of this increased risk is due to maternal depression. Therefore, we have only studied depressed pregnant women – some of them did not take antidepressant during pregnancy.

We were able to show that among depressed pregnant women, those who took antidepressants were at increased risk of having children with malformations – especially those taking citalopram. We were also able to show that many SSRIs, SNRI and tricyclic antidepressants put women at increased risk of having children with various malformations due to their similar mechanism of action (serotonin inhibition in utero).

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

Response: Depression is a serious condition that requires medical attention during pregnancy. However, given that up to 85% of depressed pregnant women have mild to moderate depression – other treatment (other than antidepressants) options need to be considered. If a woman finds out she is pregnant and is taking antidepressants however, no abrupt discontinuation is suggested and a discussion with a health care provider is advised.

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

Response: Very few data on the benefits of antidepressant use during pregnancy is available within depressed pregnant women with mild to moderate depression. Our study results taken together with all the body of literature on this topic should lead to other research on the benefits and risks of other forms of treatment for depression such as psychotherapy.

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

Citation:

Anick Bérard, Jinping Zhao and Odile Sheehy. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk of major congenital malformations in a cohort of depressed pregnant women: An updated analysis of the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort. BMJ Open, January 2017 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-01337

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

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Women Who Can Become Pregnant Should Take Folic Acid

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS Member,US Preventive Services Task Force Professor of Pediatrics and Professor in Community Medicine Department of Pediatrics Duke University School of Medicine

Dr. Alex Kemper

Dr. Alex Kemper, MD, MPH, MS
Member,US Preventive Services Task Force
Professor of Pediatrics and Professor in Community Medicine
Department of Pediatrics
Duke University School of Medicine

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

Response: Neural tube defects, where the brain or spinal cord do not develop properly in a baby, can occur early in pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is pregnant. Taking folic acid before and during pregnancy can help protect against neural tube defects. Most women do not get enough folic acid in their diets, so most clinicians recommend that any woman who could become pregnant take a daily folic acid supplement.

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High Outdoor Heat Early in Pregnancy May Raise Risk of Congenital Heart Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC Montréal, Québec

Dr. Nathalie Auger

Nathalie Auger MD MSc FRCPC
Montréal, Québec

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

Response: We carried out this study because congenital heart defects take a large share of birth defects, but not much is known on its risk factors.

In previous research, we found that very high temperatures in the summer were associated with a greater risk of stillbirth. We sought to determine whether elevated outdoor heat could also be linked with congenital heart defects in a sample of about 700,000 pregnancies.

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Maternal Risk of Death Elevated After Birth of Child With Major Congenital Abnormalities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C) Staff Physician, Paediatrics The Hospital for Sick Children Associate Scientist, Research Institute Child Health Evaluative Sciences Associate Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Eyal Cohen

Eyal Cohen, MD, MSc, FRCP(C)
Staff Physician, Paediatrics
The Hospital for Sick Children
Associate Scientist, Research Institute
Child Health Evaluative Sciences
Associate Professor, University of Toronto  

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

Response: Major structural or genetic congenital anomalies affect approximately 2 percent to 5 percent of all births in the United States and Europe. Mothers of children born with major congenital anomalies face serious challenges such as high financial pressures, as well as the burden of providing care to a child with complex needs within the home setting, which can impair a mother’s health. Little is known about the long-term health consequences for the mother. We assessed whether the birth of an infant with a major congenital anomaly was subsequently associated with an increased risk of death of the infant’s mother.

The population-based study (n = 455,250 women) used individual-level linked Danish registry data for mothers who gave birth to an infant with a major congenital anomaly between 1979 and 2010, with follow-up until December 31, 2014. A comparison group was constructed by randomly sampling, for each mother with an affected infant, up to 10 mothers matched on maternal age, parity (the number of children a woman has given birth to), and year of infant’s birth. Mothers in both groups were an average age of 29 years at delivery. After a median follow-up of 21 years, there were 1,275 deaths (1.60 per 1,000 person-years) among 41,508 mothers of a child with a major congenital anomaly vs 10,112 deaths (1.27 per 1,000 person-years) among 413,742 mothers in the comparison group. Mothers with affected infants were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, and other natural causes.

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Prediction of Congenital CMV Infection in High-Risk Pregnant Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Kenji Tanimura M.D., Ph.D. Assistant professor Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology Graduate School of Medicine and Hideto Yamada M.D., Ph.D. Professor and Chairman Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine

Dr. Kenji Tanimura

Dr. Kenji Tanimura M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant professor
Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Graduate School of Medicine and
Hideto Yamada M.D., Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine

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

Response: Congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection can cause long-term neurological sequelae, such as hearing difficulties and mental retardations, in affected children. Some investigators reported that early diagnosis and antiviral therapy can improve neurological outcomes in symptomatic congenital infected infants. However, universal screening of newborns for congenital CMV infection is not yet available. Therefore, the development of non-invasive methods for prenatal detection of mothers and newborns at high risk for congenital CMV infection has been desired.

We aimed to determine maternal clinical, laboratory, and ultrasound findings that effectively predict the occurrence of congenital CMV infection in high-risk pregnant women, who were positive for CMV IgM.

We performed maternal blood screening for CMV IgG and IgM, and 300 IgM-positive pregnant women, including 22 with congenital CMV infection, received series of examinations. We evaluated maternal clinical and laboratory findings, including serum CMV IgM and IgG, IgG avidity index, antigenemia testing, and CMV-DNA PCR for the maternal serum, urine, and uterine cervical secretion, and prenatal ultrasound findings.

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Maternal Chronic Disease Linked to Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Chung-Yi Li
Department of Public Health College of Medicine
National Cheng Kung University
Tainan Taiwan

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

Response: Congenital heart disease is the leading congenital malformation that causes perinatal and infant deaths. However, little information is available about the risk factors, especially modifiable environmental and behavioral factors that may have posed adverse effects on fetal cardiac development. We conducted a nationwide population-based study in Taiwan to further evaluate the potential role of maternal chronic diseases in the risk of developing congenital heart disease in offspring.

We found that children of women with several kinds of chronic disease were at elevated risk for congenital heart disease; these diseases included type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, congenital heart defects, anemia, connective tissue disorders, epilepsy, and mood disorders.

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Maternal Use of SSRIs May Be Related to Speech and Language Disorders in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H. Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology Columbia University Medical Center Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology New York State Psychiatric Institute

Dr. Alan Brown

Alan S. Brown, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology
Columbia University Medical Center
Director, Program in Birth Cohort Studies, Division of Epidemiology
New York State Psychiatric Institute 

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

Response: Maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy has been increasing.  A previous study from a team that I led in a national birth cohort in Finland showed that mother’s use of a serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant is related to an increased risk of depression in offspring.  We sought to evaluate whether these medications also increased risk of speech/language, scholastic, and motor outcomes in offspring.  We found an increased risk (37% higher risk) of speech/language disorders in offspring of mothers exposed to SSRIs in pregnancy compared to mothers who were depressed during pregnancy but did not take an SSRI during pregnancy.

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Isolated Cleft Palate, But Not Cleft Lip, Linked to Increased Health Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Erik Berg, MD

Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care
University of Bergen
Bergen, Norway

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

Response: Parents regularly express concern about long term health outcomes for children born with oral cleft.

In this study we used population-based long-term follow-up data from multiple national registries to focus on the future health outcomes of cleft cases without additional chronic medical conditions or congenital anomalies.
The study cohort consisted of all individuals born in Norway between 1967 and 1992. All patients treated for clefts in Norway during the study period were invited to participate. 2 337 cases with isolated clefts and 1 413 819 unaffected individuals were followed until 2010.

The main outcome variables were conditions diagnosed in childhood or early adulthood, need for social security benefits, and risk of death.

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More Birth Defects In Children Born Through Assisted Reproductive Technology

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sheree L. Boulet, DrPH, MPH Division of Reproductive Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia

Dr. Sheree Boulet

Sheree L. Boulet, DrPH, MPH
Division of Reproductive Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Georgia

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

Dr. Boulet: Findings from some studies have suggested that children conceived with assisted reproductive technology (ART) have increased risks of birth defects compared with spontaneously conceived children. Many of these studies were limited by a small sample size and were unable to assess risks associated with specific ART procedures.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Boulet: We found that singleton infants conceived using assisted reproductive technology were 1.4 times more likely to have a non-chromosomal birth defect compared with other infants, and the risks were highest for gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal defects. However, when our study was restricted to only ART-conceived infants, no single procedure substantially increased the risk for birth defects. This suggests that the higher risk of birth defects may be due to underlying issues related to infertility, rather than to ART itself.

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First Trimester Use of Rhinocort Linked To Respiratory Defects in Newborns

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and
Director Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM) and
Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy,University of Montreal
and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center
CHU Ste-Justine

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

Response: Intranasal corticosteroid (Nasacort) use during pregnancy for the treatment of seasonal allergies has increased over the past decade. Nasacort is now available over the counter since October 2013 in the US and January 2015 in Canada. Given that seasonal allergies are prevalent during pregnancy and that a medication available over-the-counter is likely to be used frequently, we aimed to study the risk of using Nasacort during gestation. Furthermore, given the potential public health impact, the objectives of our study were to assess the safety of intranasal triamcinolone exposure during pregnancy on the occurrence of major congenital malformations, small-for-gestational-age (SGA) newborn, and spontaneous abortions.

Use of intranasal triamcinolone during the first trimester of pregnancy was not significantly associated with the risk of overall congenital malformations (OR 0.88, 95%CI 0.60-1.28; 31 exposed cases) compared to non-exposure; it was however associated with the risk of respiratory defects (OR 2.71, 95%CI 1.11-6.64; 5 exposed cases). This is important given that a medication given for the treatment of respiratory diseases is associated with respiratory defects in newborns.

Pregnancy exposure to intranasal triamcinolone was not significantly associated with the risk of spontaneous abortions (OR 1.04, 95%CI 0.76-1.43; 50 exposed cases). No association was found between 2nd or 3rd trimester exposure to intranasal triamcinolone and the risk of SGA (OR 1.06, 95%CI 0.79-1.43; 50 exposed cases).

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Most Cerebral Palsy Not Due To Poor Delivery Technique

Jonathan Muraskas M.D. Professor of Pediatrics and OB/Gyne Neonatal and Maternal Fetal Medicine Director Neonatal-Perinatal Research Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University Medical Center

Dr. Muraskas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jonathan Muraskas M.D
.
Professor of Pediatrics and OB/Gyne
Neonatal and Maternal Fetal Medicine
Director Neonatal-Perinatal Research
Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
Loyola University Medical Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 Dr. Muraskas: Multiple studies over the years have demonstrated that only 15% of cerebral palsy is due to the birthing process.

In other words, a normal pregnancy is 7000 hours and lawyers frequently only focus on the last 2 hours.

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Study Finds No Increased Risk of Birth Defects With Birth Control Pill Exposure

Brittany M. Charlton, ScD Instructor Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School Researcher, Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology Boston, MA 02115

Dr. Charlton

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Brittany M. Charlton, ScD
Instructor
Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Researcher, Harvard Chan School Department of Epidemiology
Boston, MA 02115  

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Charlton: Even though oral contraceptives can be over 99% effective with perfect use, almost 10% of women become pregnant within their first year of use. Many more women will stop using oral contraceptives when planning a pregnancy and conceive within just a few months. In both of those examples, a woman may inadvertently expose her offspring during pregnancy to exogenous sex hormones. We conducted a nationwide cohort study in Denmark in order to investigate whether oral contraceptive use shortly before or during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of major birth defects in the offspring. Our main finding was that there was no increased risk of having a birth defect associated with oral contraceptive exposure. These results were also consistent when we broke down the birth defects into different subgroups, like limb defects.

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Paroxetine – Paxil – Linked To Increase in Cardiac Birth Defects

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM) and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine

Dr. Anick Bérard

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy
and Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal
and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center
CHU Ste-Justine 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bérard: Paroxetine (one of the most used antidepressant during pregnancy) has been studied extensively over the past 10-12 years. In 2005, a black box warning was put on the Paxil label to caution against use during pregnancy due to the increased risk of cardiac defects. The ACOG 2010 guidelines also suggested switching to other antidepressants during pregnancy. Over the past decade, many studies, including meta-analyses, were performed on on paroxetine use during pregnancy and the risk of cardiac malformations – but results were sometimes statistically significant or not, although a consistent increased risk was observed. It was thought that these variations could be explained by different study designs, patient populations, and because maternal depression was not always taken into account correctly. Hence, we undertook another meta-analysis (the most recent and updated) to quantify the risk of cardiac defects overall as well as specific cardiac defects associated with paoxetine use during pregnancy and to assess the impact of study designs, maternal depression and patient population on the effect of the risk.

We found that women using paroxetine during the first trimester of pregnancy (critical time-window for malformations) were 23% more at risk of having a child with malformations (15 studies combined) – baseline risk of malformation is 3-5% and thus a 23% increased risk is 3.69-6.15% absolute risk; women using paroxetine during the first trimester of pregnancy were 28% more at risk of having a child with cardiac malformations (18 studies combined) – baseline risk of cardiac malformation is 1% and thus a 28% increased risk is 1.28% absolute risk. We found that paroxetine was increasing the risk of many specific cardiac defects as well. Although the estimates varied depending on the comparator group, study design, and malformation detection period, a trend towards increased risk was observed.

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