Improved DNA Analysis Reduces False Positive Prenatal DNA Testing For Trisomy Conditions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS Professor of Preventive Medicine Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London London

Prof. Wald

Professor Sir Nicholas Wald FRCP FRS
Professor of Preventive Medicine
Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
London

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

Response: Prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau syndrome (trisomy 13) by maternal plasma DNA analysis has an improved screening performance compared with conventional screening but is too expensive to be performed routinely and has a technical failure rate.

The aim of the study was to take advantage of the improved screening performance of the DNA analysis in conjunction with the existing methods thereby providing a seamless testing interface between the “old” and the “new” methods that would detect a larger proportion of affected pregnancies with a much lower false-positive rate, at a much reduced cost compared with universal DNA testing and with no failed tests. The novel approach was to conduct a conventional screening test using a screening cut-off level that identifies about 10% of women with the highest risks of having an affected pregnancy (much higher than in conventional screening) and then to perform a DNA test using a portion of the original blood sample collected for the conventional test. Progressing to the DNA test was automatic for these high risk women without their having to be recalled for counseling and a fresh blood sample (ie as a reflex response hence the term “reflex DNA screening”).

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Having Highly Educated, Wealthy Neighbors Reduces Expectant Mother’s Chance of Having Preterm or Low Weight Baby

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Buher Kane PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology University of California, Irvine 92697-510 

Dr. Buher-Kane

Jennifer Buher Kane PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
University of California, Irvine 92697-510 

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

Response: It’s not uncommon for new parents to relocate in search of neighborhoods with better schools, safer streets and healthier, more kid-friendly activities. But our new study found that living in such neighborhoods before a baby is born protects against the risks of poor birth outcomes.

Published online this month in SSM – Population Health, the research shows that having highly educated, wealthy neighbors reduces an expectant mother’s risk of delivering a low-weight or preterm baby – health markers that can be associated with neurodevelopmental problems, language disorders, learning disabilities and poor health later in life.

Our study is the first to look at how both the level of affluence and disadvantage — two sociologically distinct attributes of neighborhoods — affect newborn health; past studies have only explored the impact of neighborhood disadvantage. Neighborhood disadvantage signals factors such as poverty, unemployment, or underemployment. On the other hand, neighborhood affluence is thought to signal the presence of locally-based community organizations that can meet the needs of all residents – health-related and otherwise – regardless of one’s own socioeconomic resources.

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Does Brand Name 17P Work Better Than Generic In Reducing Preterm Births?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrew L. Beam, PhD Instructor in Biomedical Informatics Department of Biomedical Informatics Harvard Medical School

Dr. Beam

Andrew L. Beam, PhD
Instructor in Biomedical Informatics
Department of Biomedical Informatics
Harvard Medical School

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

Response: This study is one piece of a larger story regarding the use of 17-alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) to treat recurrent preterm birth. This drug was originally only available in a compounded form, but since receiving an orphan drug designation in 2011, a branded and manufactured form was marketed under the name “Makena”. This branded form was then sold for a much higher price than the compounded version, but a study that provided concrete data on pricing and outcomes had not been done.
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Maternal Blood Pressure Rise During Pregnancy Linked To Increased Risk Of Childhood Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Duo Li, PhD Chief professor of Nutrition Institute of Nutrition and Health Qingdao University, China. 

Dr. Duo Li

Duo Li, PhD
Chief professor of Nutrition
Institute of Nutrition and Health
Qingdao University, China. 

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

Response: Childhood obesity is becoming an emerging public health issue worldwide, owing to its association with a variety of health problems at younger ages in adulthood, including obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Identification of prenatal and early life risk factors is key for curbing the epidemic of the childhood obesity.

Main finding of the present study is that among pregnant women, elevated blood pressure is associated with a greater risk of overweight and obesity for their children.

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48-Hours of Antibiotics Reduced Infection Rate After C-Section in Obese Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Carri R. Warshak, MD Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology University of  Cincinnati

Dr. Warshak

Dr. Carri R. Warshak, MD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
University of  Cincinnati

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

Response: Cesarean deliveries are the most common major surgical procedure performed in the United States.  A common complication of cesarean section is wound infections that can include infections in the skin and incision site, or infections in the uterus itself after delivery.  These complications can lead to prolonged hospitalization after delivery for antibiotics and even further surgery in severe infections.  Often these wound complications lead to delayed healing, wound opening which can sometimes take several weeks to heal. Studies have demonstrated as many as 12% of women experience a surgical site infection after delivery.

Obesity is a strong risk factor for increased surgical site infections.  Increasing maternal weight increases the risk of wound complications, with a two to five fold increase in risk, making surgical site infections and common and concerning complication of cesarean delivery in obese women.

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Adverse Birth Outcomes and Agricultural Pesticide Use in the San Joaquin Valley of California

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ashley Larsen, PhD Assistant professor Bren School of Environmental Science & Management University of California, Santa Barbara

Dr. Larsen

Ashley Larsen, PhD
Assistant professor
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
University of California, Santa Barbara

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

Response: The relationship between pesticides and adverse birth outcomes has been recognized as an important question for quite some time, and there have been many good studies on the topic. Since randomly exposing people to different levels of pesticides is clearly unethical, researchers focused on the health consequences of non-occupational pesticide exposure often have to choose between detailed studies that follow a couple hundred or couple thousand individuals through pregnancy or larger scale studies that use easier to observe, but less accurate metrics of pesticide exposure (e.g. nearby crops or crop types). Here we tried to provide complementary insight by bridging the gap between detail and scale using detailed pesticide use data and individual birth certificate records for hundreds of thousands of births in an agriculturally dominated region of California. While we found negative effects of pesticide use on birth outcomes including low birth weight, preterm birth and birth abnormalities, these effects were generally in the magnitude of a 5-9% increase in probability of an adverse outcome, and only observed for individuals exposed to very high levels of pesticides.

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Weight Gain Early In Pregnancy Linked To Higher Birthweight Babies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Leanne M. Redman MS, PhD LPFA Endowed Fellowship Associate Professor Pennington Biomedical Research Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Dr. Redman

Leanne M. Redman MS, PhD
LPFA Endowed Fellowship
Associate Professor
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

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

Response: Two well-documented risk factors for aberrant weight gain and obesity is whether your mother was obese when she was pregnant and the amount of weight she gained.

Up until now few studies have asked questions about whether the pattern of weight gain in pregnancy affect outcomes in offspring, such as birth weight.

In a cohort of over 16,000 pregnant women and infants, we found that regardless of the obesity status (BMI) of the mother at the time of pregnancy, weight gain that occurs up until week 24, had the strongest effect on infant birth weight. Infants born to mothers who had weight gain in excess of the 2009 IOM guidelines from conception until week 24, had a 2.5 times higher likelihood of being born large for gestational age. The weight gain that occurred after 24 weeks until delivery, did not attenuate this risk.

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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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Dieting and Physical Activity During Pregnancy Linked To Lower C-Section Rate

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shakila Thangaratinam Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health Joint Director of BARC (Barts Research Centre for Women's Health) Women's Health Research Unit | Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH) Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry  R & D Director for Women's Health Queen Mary University of London 

Prof. Thangaratinam

Shakila Thangaratinam
Professor of Maternal and Perinatal Health
Joint Director of BARC
(Barts Research Centre for Women’s Health)
Women’s Health Research Unit | Multidisciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub (MESH)
Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
R & D Director for Women’s Health
Queen Mary University of London 

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

Response: Pregnant women who are overweight or obese, or who gain excess weight gain in pregnancy are at high risk of complications. We wanted to find

  1. If healthy diet and physical activity in pregnancy reduced weight gain, and improved outcomes for the mother and baby
  2. If the effects of the interventions differed according to the characteristics of the mother such as body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition

We established a network (International Weight Management in Pregnancy i-WIP) of researchers from 16 countries, and 41 institutions to answer the above.

We found that women who followed a healthy diet and moderate physical activity gained less weight in pregnancy than other women; this beneficial effect was observed irrespective of mother’s body mass index, parity, ethnicity, and underlying medical condition.

Diet and physical activity in pregnancy has a beneficial effect on weight gain in pregnancy, and lowers the odds of caesarean section, and gestational diabetes.

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Uterine Fibroid Embolization Helps Restore Fertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD Radiologia de Intervenção Hospital Saint Louis - Rua Luz Soriano Portugal
Prof. Dr. João Martins Pisco MD PhD
Radiologia de Intervenção
Hospital Saint Louis – Rua Luz Soriano
Portugal

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

Response: The background for the study is the good results I started to check in patients with uterine fibroids who could conceive a successful pregnancy with live birth following embolization.

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

Response: The readers should know that fertility can be restored following embolization of uterine fibroids, particularly if the embolization is partial. The wish of conception in patients with uterine fibroids is not a contraindication for fibroids embolization.

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Phase 3 Studies Demonstrate Reduce Endometriosis-Associated Pain with Elagolix

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D. Anitta O’keeffe Young Professor and Chair Departemnt of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Yale School of Medicine Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology Yale-New Haven Hospital

Dr. Taylor

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D.
Anitta O’keeffe Young Professor and Chair
Departemnt of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Yale School of Medicine
Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Yale-New Haven Hospital

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

Response: Elagolix is an investigational, oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) receptor antagonist that blocks endogenous GnRH signaling by binding competitively to GnRH receptors. Administration results in rapid, reversible, dose-dependent inhibition of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) secretion, leading to reduced ovarian production of the sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone, while on therapy.

Data from two replicate Phase 3 studies evaluating the efficacy and safety of elagolix were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Elagolix demonstrated dose-dependent superiority in reducing daily menstrual and non-menstrual pelvic pain associated with endometriosis compared to placebo. At month three and month six, patients treated with elagolix reported statistically significant reductions in scores for menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea, DYS) and non-menstrual pelvic pain (NMPP) associated with endometriosis as measured by the Daily Assessment of Endometriosis Pain scale. The safety profile of elagolix was consistent across both Phase 3 trials and also consistent with prior elagolix studies.

Ultimately, the studies showed that both elagolix doses (150 mg QD and 200 mg BID) were effective in improving dysmenorrhea, non-menstrual pelvic pain and quality of life over 6 months in women with endometriosis-associated pain. The elagolix safety/tolerability profile was consistent with the mechanism of action.

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Can Telemedicine Enable Women To Safely Manage Their Own Abortions?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Abigail R.A. Aiken, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant Professor LBJ School of Public Affairs Faculty Associate Population Research Center University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX, 78713Abigail R.A. Aiken, MD, MPH, PhD

Assistant Professor
LBJ School of Public Affairs
Faculty Associate
Population Research Center
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX, 78713

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

Response: We’ve known for some time that women in Ireland and Northern Ireland self-source their own abortions using online telemedicine. In fact, this model has revolutionized abortion access for Irish women. Yet very little was previously known about the outcomes of those abortions. How safe and effective are they? We wanted to address that knowledge gap with this study.

What this research shows is that self-sourced medication abortion, conducted entirely outside the formal healthcare setting, can have high rates of effectiveness and low rates of adverse outcomes. Women can successfully manage their own abortions and recognize the symptoms of potential complications. Among the small number who experienced such a symptom, virtually all sought in-person medical attention as advised.

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Fetal Reduction in Multifetal Pregnancies Results in Fewer Preterm Births and Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow Reproductive Epidemiology Unit Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Razaz

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Reproductive Epidemiology Unit
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Multiple births of twins and triplets – and the associated health risks – have increased in many high-income countries, with a respective two-fold and three-fold increase in recent decades.

In Canada, triplet births or higher have increased from 52.2 per 100 000 live births to 83.5 between 1991 and 2009, mainly because of an increase in fertility treatments for older women of child-bearing age. In this study we found that among twin and triplet pregnancies that were reduced to singleton or twin pregnancies, there was a substantial reduction in complications such as preterm birth and very preterm birth. Although rates of death and serious illness were not lower among all multifetal pregnancies that were reduced, pregnancies that resulted from fertility treatments did show a significant reduction in rates of death or serious illness following fetal reduction.

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Does Cell Phone Use During Pregnancy Increase Childhood Behavioral Problems?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Laura Birks, MPH, Predoctoral Fellow
ISGlobal
Instituto de Salud Global de Barcelona – Campus MAR
Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB) (office 183.01B)
Barcelona, Spain

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

Response: Previous studies in Denmark and the Netherlands have reported associations between prenatal cell phone use and child behavioral problems, but findings have been inconsistent and based on retrospective assessment of cell phone use. This study aimed to assess this association in a multi-national analysis, using data from three cohorts with prospective data on prenatal cell phone use, together with previously published data from two cohorts with retrospectively collected cell phone use data.

We found that cell phone use during pregnancy was associated with increased risk for behavioral problems in offspring, specifically hyperactivity/inattention problems. This association was fairly consistent across cohorts and between cohorts with retrospectively and prospectively collected cell phone use data. While our models were adjusted for many confounders, it is possible that other factors could explain this association, such as hyperactivity in the mother or parenting styles (variables that were not collected in these cohorts). Furthermore, to date there is no known biological mechanism that could explain the association.

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Birth Outcomes Among Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Survivors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hazel B. Nichols, PhD, UNC, assistant professor Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. Nichols

Hazel B. Nichols, PhD, UNC
Assistant professor
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member
UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

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

Response: Each year more than 45,000 adolescent and young adult women (AYA, ages 15-39 years) are diagnosed with cancer in the United States. While many of these women may wish to have children in the years following diagnosis, there is currently little information available to address their concerns about the impact of cancer diagnosis and treatment on future pregnancy.

We identified >2,500 women who had a child after their cancer diagnosis using data from the North Carolina Central Cancer registry and statewide birth certificate files. We investigated whether adverse birth outcomes, such as preterm birth and low birth weight, were more common among AYA cancer survivors compared to women without cancer. We also looked at infant Apgar scores, which measure newborn health, and a calculation called small-for-gestational age, which can indicate restricted growth during pregnancy.

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Human Placenta May Be Most Vulnerable To Zika In First Trimester

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

R. Michael Roberts

Dr. R. Michael Roberts

R. Michael Roberts PhD
Curators’ Distinguished Professor
240b Bond Life Sciences Center
Columbia, Missouri 65211-7310

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

Response: My background in placental biology and in communication between the embryo and the mother in early pregnancy made me curious about how the zika virus (ZIKV) crossed the placenta in early pregnancy to cause microcephaly. My group had been working on a laboratory model for placental trophoblast for over 10 years. We generate trophoblast from human pluripotent cells (embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells) by exposing them to the growth factor BMP4 and two pharmaceuticals that inhibit the signaling pathways necessary to maintain pluripotency. I was curious to determine whether or not ZIKV could infect these cells, replicate, and release infectious virus, because work from my collaborator Yoel Sadovsky at the University of Pittsburgh indicated that the mature placenta was likely to be resistant to infection.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: There are, I believe two striking outcomes from this work.

One is that the results indicate that the human placenta is likely most vulnerable to infection by Zika during the first trimester. We also suggest that women whose fetus is affected from an infection occurring later in pregnancy likely had a past dengue infection. The second striking result is that the African strain of Zika may have greater virulence towards early placenta than the Asian strains, such as the ones that have spread in the New World.

The work with the virus only began when we realized that term trophoblasts lacked expression of the genes that encode the protein factors that promote flavivirus infection (ZIKV is a flavivirus, like dengue, West Nile virus), e.g. TYRO3, AXL, MERTK, and also had a poised innate immune system that would counteract virus replication. Conversely, the trophoblasts we create from embryonic stem cells had the factors that would promote virus uptake, but seemed ill-prepared to counteract virus replication once infection occurred. In other words, the early placental trophoblasts were potentially more susceptible to infection. We confirmed this hypothesis with two strains of ZIKV (an Asian strain related to the one encountered in Brazil, and an African strain often considered to be relatively benign). What was unexpected was the African strain appeared to be more virulent than the Asian strain.

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

Response: Whether the early placenta could be protected by some sort of immune therapy or by prior vaccination of the mother is clearly uncertain at present. Vaccination programs have not been altogether successful when used to protect against Dengue, which is a virus related to ZIKV.

There is evidence that the early placenta is also permissive to other viruses, such as Rubella. Also there is a very interesting paper in the Journal of the American medical Association by Honein et al. that was published on December 15, 2016. In this study, the overall risk for microcephaly and other brain abnormalities in infants born to a large cohort of U.S. women exposed to ZIKV while traveling (n = 442) was 5.9 % (18), and, of these, there were no cases noted among the women known to have been infected during their second or third trimesters. In Brazil, women appear to be at risk for fetal infections by ZIKV throughout their pregnancies but this may be because they had experienced an earlier infection by Dengue. I have discussed this puzzle in the paper.

I have no disclosures to make, nor conflicts of interest regarding the research or this response to your queries.

Citation:

PNAS Plus – Biological Sciences – Applied Biological Sciences:
Megan A. Sheridan, Dinar Yunusov, Velmurugan Balaraman, Andrei P. Alexenko, Shinichiro Yabe, Sergio Verjovski-Almeida, Danny J. Schust, Alexander W. Franz, Yoel Sadovsky, Toshihiko Ezashi, and R. Michael Roberts
Vulnerability of primitive human placental trophoblast to Zika virus PNAS 2017 114 (9) E1587-E1596; published ahead of print February 13, 2017, doi:10.1073/pnas.1616097114

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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Maternal Cancer During Pregnancy Linked To Stillbirths and Infant Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donghao Lu. PhD student Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institute

Dr. Donghao Lu

Donghao Lu PhD student
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institute

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

Response: Cancer during pregnancy is a rare event. Whether prenatal exposure to a maternal malignancy and its treatment during pregnancy impair fetal development and neonatal health is, however, of great clinical concern. The risks of fatal outcomes such as stillbirth and infant mortality, however, have rarely been successfully explored in pregnancies complicated with cancer, in either clinical or population-based studies.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of stillbirth (Incidence Rate Ratio, IRR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.2 to 5.0), mainly stillbirths assessed as small for gestational age (SGA), and with increased risk of preterm SGA births (relative risk 3.0; 95% CI, 2.1 to 4.4). Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy or the year after pregnancy were associated with increased risks of both neonatal mortality (deaths within 0 to 27 days; IRR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.3 to 5.6 and IRR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.2, respectively) and preterm birth (IRR, 5.8; 95% CI, 5.3 to 6.5 and IRR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4 to 1.8, respectively). The positive association with preterm birth was due to iatrogenic instead of spontaneous preterm birth. Preterm birth explained 89% of the association of maternal cancer during pregnancy with neonatal mortality.

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

Response: Maternal cancer diagnosed during pregnancy was associated with increased risks of stillbirths assessed as SGA and preterm SGA live birth, suggesting that cancer and its treatment during pregnancy may impair fetal growth. Maternal cancer diagnosed during or shortly after pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of neonatal mortality, largely attributable to iatrogenic preterm birth. Although stillbirth and neonatal death are rare outcomes, the absolute risks of SGA and preterm birth are not small in pregnancies complicated with cancer. Careful monitoring of fetal growth and cautious decision making on the choices as well as the timing of preterm delivery should therefore be reinforced in these pregnancies.

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

Response: Sweden is among the high-income countries with the lowest stillbirth and infant mortality rates, and these rates have decreased over time in many populations. Future studies in other populations are warranted to confirm our findings. Our data have also highlighted several cancer types, such as blood cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer, which entail highly increased risk of SGA or preterm birth and might be worthy of further exploration. 

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

Citation:

Maternal Cancer During Pregnancy and Risks of Stillbirth and Infant Mortality

Donghao Lu, Jonas F. Ludvigsson, Karin E. Smedby, Katja Fall, Unnur Valdimarsdóttir, Sven Cnattingius, and Fang Fang

Journal of Clinical Oncology
DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2016.69.9439 Journal of Clinical Oncology – published online before print March 6, 2017

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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Almost 40% of Assisted Reproductive Infants Are Multiple Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Saswati Sunderam, PhD

Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
CDC.

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

Response: Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance – United States, 2014, the surveillance summary published this week in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), presents state-specific data on assisted reproductive technology (ART) use and outcomes.

The report compares ART infant outcome data with outcomes for all infants born in the U.S. in 2014, and provides data on the contributions of  Assisted Reproductive Technology to total infants born, multiple birth infants, low birth weight infants, and preterm infants for each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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Oxytocin During Labor Linked to Increased Risk of Postpartum Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD Associate Professor, Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Director, Women’s Behavioral Health, Zucker Hillside Hospital Northwell Health Associate Professor, Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis

Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD
Associate Professor
Center for Psychiatric Neuroscience
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Director, Women’s Behavioral Health
Zucker Hillside Hospital Northwell Health
Associate Professor
Psychiatry and Obstetrics & Gynecology
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine

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

Response: Because of effects on social behavior, including maternal behavior, oxytocin has often been seen as a potential mediator of postpartum depression and anxiety.

The original objective of our study was to examine the relationship between the use of synthetic oxytocin during and after labor and the development of depressive and anxiety disorders within the first year postpartum. We hypothesized that women exposed to synthetic oxytocin before or during labor would have a reduced risk of postpartum depressive and anxiety disorders compared with those without any exposure. Our findings told the opposite story.

We found that peripartum synthetic oxytocin exposure was associated with an increase in risk for the development of postpartum depression and anxiety.

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Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Increased on Weekends

MedicalResearch.com Interview with;
Dr. Amirhossein Moaddab
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

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

Response: Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States maternal mortality ratio is three to four times higher than that of most other developed nations. Previous studies from the demonstrated a possible association between weekend hospital admissions and higher rates of mortality and poor health outcomes.

We investigated differences in maternal and fetal death ratios on weekends compared to weekdays and during different months of the year. In addition we investigated the presence of any medical and obstetrics complications in women who gave birth to a live child and in their offspring by day of delivery.

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Effects of Delayed Vs Early Umbilical Cord Clamping on Infant Anemia

Ola Andersson, MD, PhD Department of Women’s and Children’s Health Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ola Andersson MD, PhD
Uppsala University,
Uppsala, Sweden

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

Response: Anemia affects over 40% of all children under 5 years of age in the world. Anemia can impinge mental and physical performance, and is associated with long-term deterioration in growth and development. Iron deficiency is the reason for anemia in approximately 50% of the children.is. When clamping of the umbilical cord is delayed, ie after 3 minutes, iron deficiency up to 6 months of age can be prevented, but it has not been shown to prevent iron deficiency or anemia in older infants.

At birth, approximately 1/3 of the child’s blood is in the placenta. If clamping of the umbilical cord is done immediately (early cord clamping), the blood will remain in the placenta and go to waste (or can be stored in stem cell banks). If instead clamping is postponed for 3 minutes, most of the blood can flow back to the child as an extra blood transfusion, consisting of about one deciliter (1/2 cup) of blood, equivalent to about 2 liters (half a US gallon) of an adult. A blood donor leaves 0.4-0.5 liters of blood.

Blood contains red blood cells that contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the tissues of the body. Hemoglobin contains a lot of iron, and the extra deciliter of blood may contain iron that corresponds to 3-4 months of the need for an infant.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 1 minute or later, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 30-60 seconds or later.

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Cesarean Section Rates Vary Across US Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kamila Mistry, PhD MPH
AHRQ

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

Response: Although the overall cesarean section (C-section) rate in the United States has declined slightly in recent years, nearly a third of all births continue to be delivered by C-section—higher than in many other industrialized countries. A number of medical as well as nonmedical factors may contribute to high C-section rates.

C-section is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States. This operation carries additional risks compared with vaginal delivery, such as infection and postoperative pain. A C-section also may make it more difficult for the mother to establish breastfeeding and may complicate subsequent pregnancies.

Consensus guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other national efforts to improve perinatal care have shown promise in reducing nonmedically indicated C-sections. However, recent research has found wide variation in hospital C-section rates even for low-risk deliveries.
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Breastfeeding Important For Mothers’ Health As Well As Babies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Melissa C. Bartick, MD, MSc Department of Medicine Cambridge Health Alliance Harvard Medical School Cambridge, MA

Dr. Melissa Bartick

Melissa C. Bartick, MD, MSc
Department of Medicine
Cambridge Health Alliance
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA

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

Response: This is the first study ever to combine maternal and pediatric health outcomes from breastfeeding into a single model.

We had published a cost analysis of suboptimal breastfeeding for pediatric disease in 2010, which found that suboptimal breastfeeding cost the US $13 billion in costs of premature death costs and medical expenses, and 911 excess deaths. We followed that up with a maternal cost analysis which found about $18 billion in premature death costs and medical expenses.

In both these studies, most of the costs were from premature death. We were unable to combine the results of these two studies because their methodologies were different, and both of them, especially the pediatric portion needed to be updated.

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High Cortisol Levels in Hair May Be Linked To Lower IVF Success

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kavita Vedhara FAcSS Professor of Health Psychology Division of Primary Care School of Medicine University Park,N ottingham

Prof. Kavita Vedhara

Kavita Vedhara FAcSS  
Professor of Health Psychology
Division of Primary Care
School of Medicine
University Park,Nottingham

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

Response: There has been a longstanding interest in the role of the hormone cortisol in fertility, because of its potential to affect the functioning of the biological systems that influence both conception and pregnancy.

This interest has extended to IVF, with researchers exploring the relationship between levels of the hormone and pregnancy since the advent of the treatment in the late 1970s.

However, a recent review showed that the relationship between cortisol and pregnancy in IVF was unclear. A number of reasons were highlighted for this, including that all of the studies to date had relied on short-term measures of the hormone measured in blood, saliva, urine and sometimes follicular fluid. Such measures can only capture hormone levels over a matter of minutes and hours. Such ‘snapshots’ are unable to give us an accurate picture of the levels of hormone over longer periods of time. This is important because any clinically relevant effects of cortisol on fertility are only likely to occur in the context of long-term changes in the hormone.

In recent years it has become possible to measure long-term levels of cortisol in hair. Cortisol is deposited in the hair shaft and because human hair grows, on average, 1cm per month, a 3cm sample of hair closest to the scalp can tell us about levels of cortisol in the previous 3 months.

We used the development of this technique to examine whether long term levels of cortisol (as measured in hair), or short term levels of cortisol (as measured in saliva) could predict whether or not women going through IVF would become pregnant.

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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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Perinatal Adverse Events Linked To Increased Risk of OCD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gustaf Brander
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is believed to be caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Whereas genetic studies are well underway, the research on environmental factors has been lagging behind. As they explain a significant portion of the variance, are potentially malleable, and are essential for understanding how the genetic component works, this area of research is of great importance.

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Rates of Gestational Diabetes Higher in Summer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anastasia Katsarou PhD
LUND University

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

Response: The study is using data from the Mamma study which screened pregnant women during 2003-2005. During this period, we gathered results from the oral glucose tolerance tests that the women underwent at the 28th week of pregnancy. We used data on the 2hour blood glucose levels from these tests and the frequency of women who were diagnosed with gestational diabetes and grouped them into months and seasons. We gathered also data on the mean monthly temperatures from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute.

We observed that the 2hour glucose levels and the frequency of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes were statistically significantly higher during the summer months.

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Cause and Preventative Treatment of Most Preterm Births Remains Unknown

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joseph Leigh Simpson

Dr. Joseph Leigh Simpson

Joseph Leigh Simpson, MD FACOG, FACMG
President at International Federation of Fertility Societies
March of Dimes Foundation
White Plains, NY

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

Response: Preterm birth (PTB) is the most common single cause of perinatal and infant mortality, affecting 15 million infants worldwide each year with global rates increasing. A total of 1.1 million infants die each year. Preterm births and their complications are the leading cause of deaths in children under age 5.

The biological basis of preterm birth remains poorly understood, and for that reason, preventive interventions are often empiric and have only limited benefit. Large differences exist in preterm birth rates across high income countries: 5.5 percent in Sweden and at present 9.6 percent in the U.S. The International Federation of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO)/March of Dimes Working Group on Preterm Birth Prevention hypothesized that identifying the risk factors underlying these wide variations could lead to interventions that reduce preterm birth in countries having high rates.

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Most Antipsychotics Found To Not Raise Risk of Congenital Malformations

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

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

Response: The use of antipsychotic medications during pregnancy has doubled in the last decade. Yet, information on the safety of antipsychotic medication use during pregnancy for the developing fetus is very limited: existing studies tend to be small (the largest study available to date includes 570 exposed women) and findings have been inconsistent. Concerns have been raised about a potential association with congenital malformations.

The objective of our study was to examine the risk of congenital malformations overall, as well as cardiac malformations given findings from earlier studies, in a large cohort of pregnant women. We used a nationwide sample of 1.3 mln pregnant women insured through Medicaid between 2000-2010, of which 9,258 used an atypical antipsychotic and 733 used a typical antipsychotic during the first trimester, the etiologically relevant period for organogenesis. We also examined the risks associated with the most commonly used individual medications.

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Douching May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Ovarian Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Clarice Weinberg, Ph.D. Deputy Branch Chief Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences National Institutes of Health Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Dr. Clarice Weinberg

Clarice Weinberg, Ph.D.
Deputy Branch Chief
Biostatistics and Computational Biology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
National Institutes of Health
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

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

Response: A number of studies have reported a link between genital use of talc powders and ovarian cancer. We wondered whether the practice of douching could contribute to that risk by moving fibers and chemicals into and up the reproductive tract. We are carrying out the Sister Study, a large cohort study that enrolled more than 50,000 women who each had a sister diagnosed with breast cancer and who are consequently at increased risk of ovarian cancer. During the Sister Study enrollment interview, we asked each of them about their douching and use of talc in the previous 12 months. During approximately 6 years of follow up, 154 participants developed ovarian cancer. Our statistical analyses did not show any relationship between talc use and risk of ovarian cancer, but we estimated that women who had said they douched had almost double the risk for ovarian cancer compared to women who did not douche.

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Prenatal Expanded Carrier Screening Could Identify Many More Serious Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gabriel Lazarin MS Vice President,Counsyl Medical Science Liaisons

Gabriel Lazarin

Gabriel Lazarin MS
Vice President,Counsyl
Medical Science Liaisons

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

Response: The study finds there is a significant opportunity to identify more pregnancies affected by serious conditions, across all ethnicities, through the clinical use of expanded carrier screening (ECS). We found that compared to current prenatal genetic testing guidelines, expanded carrier screening for 94 genetically inherited conditions better addresses the risk of having a pregnancy affected with a serious condition.

Certain physicians have been offering ECS since 2010. However, in order for it to come into routine use, a group of major medical organizations last year stated a need for further data regarding the frequency of previously unscreened genetic variants. This study uses real test results from approximately 350,000 people to provide that data.

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Acetaminophen During Pregnancy Linked to Childhood Behavioral Problems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Evie Stergiakouli Lecturer in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit at the University of Bristol University of Bristol Bristol UK

Dr. Evie Stergiakouli

Dr Evie Stergiakouli
Lecturer in Genetic Epidemiology and Statistical Genetics
MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit
University of Bristol
Bristol UK

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

Response: Acetaminophen is considered safe to use during pregnancy. However, research suggests that acetaminophen use in pregnancy is associated with abnormal neurodevelopment. It is possible that this association might be confounded by unmeasured behavioural factors linked to acetaminophen use. We compared acetaminophen use during pregnancy to postnatal acetaminophen use and partner’s acetaminophen use. Only acetaminophen use during pregnancy has the potential to cause behavioural problems in the offspring. Any associations with postnatal acetaminophen use and partner’s acetaminophen use would be due to confounding. Behavioural problems in the offspring were only associated with acetaminophen use during pregnancy.

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Preconception Counselling Resource Improves Pregnancy Care in Women With Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Valerie Holmes Senior Lecturer Centre for Public Health School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science Queen's University Belfast Belfast

Dr. Valerie Holmes

Dr Valerie Holmes
Senior Lecturer
Centre for Public Health
School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast

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

Response: Women with diabetes, type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, are advised to plan for pregnancy as there are higher risks of complications for both the mother and baby when compared to the general maternity population. Careful planning in partnership with diabetes care teams, especially in relation to achieving optimum blood glucose control and taking folic acid can significantly reduce the risks. However, while most women know that they should plan for pregnancy, they are unaware as to why this is important or how to engage with the process, and thus the majority of women (up to two thirds of women) enter pregnancy unprepared. This study describes the implementation of a regional preconception counsellng resource, in the format of a DVD, into routine care in Northern Ireland to raise awareness of pregnancy planning. The authors assessed if the introduction of this resource improved pregnancy planning among women with diabetes in the region.

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Early Hysterectomy With Preserved Ovaries Doubles Risk of Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Louise Wilson PhD Candidate The University of Queensland

Louise Wilson

Louise Wilson PhD Candidate
The University of Queensland

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

Response: Hysterectomy remains one of the most common gynecological procedures worldwide, with rates highest among women aged between 40 and 50. Between 30 and 40% of women aged in their 40s and 50s experience hot flushes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms) that can greatly impact upon their overall quality of life. There is consistent evidence that women who have a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed are more likely to report more frequent or severe vasomotor symptoms, probably due to the abrupt decline in estrogen levels post-surgery.

For women who have a hysterectomy with ovaries retained, the evidence is less clear. We wanted to increase our understanding of the symptom experiences of these women. We examined 17 years of data from more than 6,000 women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Approximately one in five of the women had a hysterectomy with ovarian conservation before the age of 50.

We found that a third of these women experienced hot flushes that persisted in the long term, and around one in five were afflicted by constant night sweats. These rates were double those of women who did not have a hysterectomy over the 17-year study period, and could not be explained by differences in lifestyle or socio-economic factors.

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Suturing With Thicker Thread To Prevent Preterm Delivery Increases Risk of Miscarriage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr David A MacIntyre MRC Career Development Fellow Lecturer in Reproductive Systems Medicine Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology Department of Surgery and Cancer Imperial College London UK

Dr. David Macintyre

Dr David A MacIntyre
MRC Career Development Fellow
Lecturer in Reproductive Systems Medicine
Institute of Reproductive and Developmental Biology
Department of Surgery and Cancer
Imperial College
London UK

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

Response: Preterm birth is the leading cause of death in children under 5 years of age. One of the first things that can happen to a women before suffering a preterm birth is early opening of the cervix, which is the neck of the womb. This also puts her and the baby at risk of infection. One of the few preventative treatments available for these women is a cervical cerclage. This is when a surgeon uses one of two types of suture thread to stitch the cervix closed. This provides mechanical support to the pregnancy and is thought to help prevent infections from ascending from the vaginal into the uterus. One type of suture thread used is thin, monofilament nylon, which appears similar to fishing line. The other is a thicker thread – around 5mm thick – that is comprised of smaller threads woven together like a shoe lace. The thicker woven thread – called multifilament – is used in around 80 per cent of procedures as surgeons believe it to be stronger, and more efficient at holding the cervix closed. In this study, we first looked at 671 women who had the procedure at five UK hospitals over the last ten years. Around half had the thinner ‘fishing line’ thread, while the other half had the thicker ‘shoe lace’ thread.

The results revealed the thicker thread was associated with increased rate of intrauterine death compared to the thinner thread (15 per cent compared 5 per cent). The rate of intrauterine death in a normal pregnancy is around 0.5%. The thicker tape was also associated with an increased preterm birth rate compared to the thinner tape – 28 per cent compared to 17 per cent. The rate of preterm birth among the general population is around 7 per cent, but the cervical stitch procedure is only performed on women already deemed at high risk of premature birth. We then conducted a second study with 50 women who were due to have the cervical stitch procedure. Half received the thinner thread, while half received the thicker thread. We monitored the women at 4, 8 and 16 weeks after the procedure through ultrasound scans and analysis of bacteria in their reproductive tract. The results suggested that women who received the thicker thread had increased inflammation around the cervix. There was also increased blood flow, which is associated with the cervix opening before labour. Crucially, we also found that women who received the thicker thread had more potentially harmful bacteria in the vagina and around the cervix.

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CDC Urges Wider Availability of Contraceptives In Regions Affected by Zika

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC

Dr. Charlan Kroelinger

Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD
Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
CDC

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

Response: Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among infants infected with Zika virus before birth, such as absent or poorly developed brain structures, defects of the eye, hearing deficits, and impaired growth. Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Increased access to birth control may lead to reductions in unintended pregnancies, which may result in fewer adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes in the context of a Zika virus outbreak.

A new report from CDC estimates that use of highly effective, reversible forms of birth control, called long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), which includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants, remains lower than use of moderate or less effective methods such as oral contraceptive pills and condoms, although contraception use varied across states and by age group and race/ethnicity.

CDC scientists used data from four state-based surveillance systems to estimate contraception use for non-pregnant and postpartum women at risk for unintended pregnancy and sexually active female high school students who live in states with the potential for local Zika virus transmission. Less than one in four sexually active women of reproductive age and fewer than one in 10 sexually active female high school students reported using LARC. A higher percentage of postpartum women reported LARC use. Moderately effective and less effective contraceptive methods, including pills, patches, rings, injections, condoms and other barrier methods, were used more frequently than highly effective methods. These estimates are of concern because the most commonly used methods of contraception are not as effective at preventing unintended pregnancy.

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Iron Levels Should Be Checked During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kris Poppe, MD, PhD
Co-Head Endocrine Unit
CHU St-Pierre UMC
Université libre de Bruxelles

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

Response: Pregnant women are often referred by gynecologists to my endocrine practice, for altered thyroid function. At that occasion, I often noticed that the women also had low iron/ferritin levels (ferritin is the iron reserve). Searching in literature did not reveal many publications on the association between iron (deficiency) and thyroid function during pregnancy and so that was the background/aim to perform this study.

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Large Proportion of Pregnant Women Use Alcohol and Tobacco in First Trimester

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Qiana L. Brown, PhD, MPH, LCSW Postdoctoral Research Fellow Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Department of Epidemiology Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Progra

Dr. Qiana Brown

Dr. Qiana L. Brown, PhD, MPH, LCSW
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Columbia University
Mailman School of Public Health
Department of Epidemiology
Substance Abuse Epidemiology Training Program

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

Dr. Brown: Prenatal substance use is a major public health concern, and poses significant threats to maternal and child health. Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly used substances among pregnant women and non-pregnant women of reproductive age, and are leading causes of preventable adverse health outcomes for both mother and baby. Women with health insurance have more prenatal visits, and present for prenatal care earlier than uninsured women, which may increase their exposure to health messaging around substance abuse prevention at prenatal visits. Additionally, treatment for substance use disorders and maternal and child health care are part of the Essential Health Benefits covered by the Affordable Care Act, which may encourage patients and providers to engage in discussions around alcohol and tobacco use prevention during pregnancy.

Given these factors, we examined the relationship between health insurance coverage and both past month tobacco use and past month alcohol use among a nationally representative sample of reproductive age women in the United States. We sampled 97,788 women ages 12 to 44 years old who participated in the U.S. National Survey of Drug Use and Health in 2010 to 2014. Among these women, 3.28% (n=3,267) were pregnant. We specifically investigated whether the relationship between health insurance and alcohol or tobacco use differed between pregnant and non-pregnant women.
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Co-infection with HPV and Chlamydia Can Be Asymptomatic and Lead to Infertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health School of Medicine Federal University of Goiás Goiânia, GO, Brazil

Dr. Dejan Nonato

Dejan R. Nonato, MD, PhD
Institute of Tropical Pathology and Public Health
School of Medicine
Federal University of Goiás
Goiânia, GO, Brazil

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

Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) share the same route of sexual transmission and possess similar risk factors, indicating that co-infection may act synergistically in the induction of epithelial cell abnormalities.

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Uterine Artery Embolization vs Hysterectomy For Symptomatic Fibroids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Annefleur de Bruijn MD VU Medical Centre Department of Gynecology Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Dr. Annefleur de Bruijn

Annefleur de Bruijn MD
VU Medical Centre
Department of Gynecology
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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

Response: Since 1995 uterine artery embolization has been described in patients with symptomatic fibroids. Uterine artery embolization is a less invasive treatment option compared to hysterectomy. Studies including several randomized controlled trials established uterine artery embolization as a valuable treatment. Earlier these trials reported outcomes in terms of health related quality of life, clinical outcomes, efficacy and cost effectiveness after 1, 2 and 5 years of follow-up. In the randomized EMMY trial, we analyzed these results again, currently 10 years after treatment.

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Some Patients with PCOS May a Have Form of Congenital Adrenal Hyplasia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Evgenia Gourgari MD Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, Program on Developmental Endocrinology & Genetics (PDEGEN) & Pediatric Endocrinology Inter-institute Training Program Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) Bethesda, MD 20892

Dr. Evgenia Gourgari

Dr. Evgenia Gourgari MD
Section on Endocrinology and Genetics, Program on Developmental Endocrinology & Genetics (PDEGEN) & Pediatric Endocrinology Inter-institute Training Program
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Bethesda, MD 20892

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

Response: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility among women of reproductive age ,yet the etiology of this syndrome remains unknown. Women with PCOS can have high androgens, irregular periods, cysts in their ovaries, acne, excessive facial hair. Women with PCOS are also at high risk to develop diabetes. Androgens and cortisol are hormones that produced from the adrenal glands. We wanted to investigate whether a group of women with PCOS have an adrenal disorder as underlying etiology of PCOS.

We found a group of women with PCOS produced more adrenal hormones compared to healthy women and these women also had some characteristics of micronodualr adrenal hyperplasia in their adrenals. Our findings suggest that a problem in the adrenal glands mostly involved in their steroid hormone secretion and how this is regulated may be the underlying cause of PCOS in a subgroup of women with this syndrome.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Some women with PCOS might have a problem with their adrenal gland, but more research is needed to better understand the role of adrenal glands in the development of PCOS syndrome.

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Statin Users Have Lower Incidence of Uterine Fibroids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mostafa Borahay, MD, PhD, FACOG Assistant Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Galveston, TX

Dr. Mostafa Borahay

Mostafa Borahay, MD, PhD, FACOG
Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Galveston, TX

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

Response: Uterine fibroids are the commonest tumors of the female reproductive system. More than 50% of women are estimated to have uterine fibroids. In fact, 1 out of 4 women undergo a hysterectomy in the United States and half of these hysterectomies are due to fibroids.
Recently we demonstrated that statins, drugs used to fight high cholesterol, have anti-tumor effects on uterine fibroids as shown in cells and animal models.

In this current study, we examined the incidence of uterine fibroids and fibroid-associated symptoms in women taking statins for high cholesterol. We performed this using large national patient database.
We found that compared to non-users, statin users have lower incidence of uterine fibroids. Furthermore, they have less heavy bleeding, pelvic pain and other fibroid-associated symptoms. Also, they needed less surgeries to remove tumors (myomectomy).

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

Response: Currently, we don’t have a successful, safe long term medical treatment for uterine fibroids. Surgeries, typically a hysterectomy, is commonly performed for fibroids. This study provide some evidence that a safe long term medical treatment can be available for treating these tumors. This provides hope for many women, especially those interested in preserving their childbearing potential.

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

Response: After finding strong evidence from cellular and animal experiments and using patient databases, our next step is clinical trials. We plan to start a clinical trial for statins in women with fibroids in the near future. The established safety of statins represents a huge advantage.

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

Response: The successful work over the last few years stresses the huge benefits from and the critical need for a multidisciplinary teams in medical research. Our team included clinicians, basic scientists and biostatisticians and epidemiologists.

Also, there is a need for more funding for medical research. Scientific research to discover innovative treatments requires funding and therefore the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other funding bodies have a large responsibility to fulfil.

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

Citation:

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2016 Jun 28. pii: S0002-9378(16)30381-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2016.06.036. [Epub ahead of print]
Statin Use and Uterine Fibroid Risk in Hyperlipidemia Patients: A Nested Case-Control Study.
Borahay MA1, Fang X2, Baillargeon JG2, Kilic GS3, Boehning DF4, Kuo YF2.

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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Prenatal Acetaminophen May Increase Autism Symptoms in Boys

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr-Claudia-Avella-GarcíaClaudia Avella-García MD, MPH, PhD
ISGlobal – Institut de Salut Global Barcelona
Unitat Docent de Medicina Preventiva i Salut Publica H.Mar-UPF-ASPB

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

Response: Acetaminophen (paracetamol) is used by around half of all pregnant women in developed countries and is currently the recommended treatment for fever and pain during gestation. However, evidence linking exposure to this medication with negative changes in neurodevelopment has been coming to light, warranting further study. Therefore, our objective was to evaluate whether prenatal exposure to acetaminophen was adversely associated with child neurodevelopment at 1 and 5 years of age. For this reason, we evaluated 2644 mother-child pairs recruited during pregnancy as part of the INfancia y Medio Ambiente – Childhood and Environment (INMA) project, a Spanish general population-based cohort. We collected information on acetaminophen use prospectively up until week 32 of gestation. We evaluated neurodevelopment at 1 year of age using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development. At 5 years of age we applied a battery of tests evaluating different aspects of neurodevelopment including both cognitive and behavioural aspects.

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Intravaginal Device Can Detect Fetal Deafness

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Álex García-Faura Scientific Director of the Institut Marquès Spain

Dr-Álex-García-Faura

Dr. Álex García-Faura
Scientific Director of the Institut Marquès
Spain

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

Response: Our clinical research during the last three years has been focused on the effects of music during the early stages of life; in our preliminary studies, applying music to pregnant patients using abdominal speakers, we discovered that there was no fetal reaction to music and that the fetus would only be able to hear it as a distorted whisper because of the effects of the abdominal wall. We thought that it would be necessary to get the music closer to the fetus, and we decided to try to apply the music vaginally. It was a great decision.

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Premature Infants May Have Some Infection Protection from Vaccinated Mothers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Paul T Heath MB BS, FRACP, FRCPCH Reader / Honorary Consultant Paediatric Infectious Diseases St George’s, University of London and Vaccine Institute London, United KingdomDr Paul T Heath MB BS, FRACP, FRCPCH
Reader / Honorary Consultant
Paediatric Infectious Diseases
St George’s, University of London and Vaccine Institute
London, United Kingdom

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

Dr. Heath: Vaccinating pregnant women is an important and proven strategy for protecting young infants against tetanus, influenza and pertussis. Among the infants at highest risk for complications of these infections are infants born prematurely but it is generally believed that because antibody transfer from mother to baby is maximal in the 3rd trimester, babies born prematurely may miss out on the benefits of maternal vaccination.

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Majority of Women with Endometriosis Do Not Experience Infertility

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stacey A. Missmer, ScD Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology Director of Epidemiologic Research, Division of Reproductive Medicine Scientific Director, Boston Center for Endometriosis Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School Associate Professor in Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Stacey Missmer

Stacey A. Missmer, ScD
Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology
Director of Epidemiologic Research, Division of Reproductive Medicine
Scientific Director, Boston Center for Endometriosis
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Associate Professor in Epidemiology
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Dr. Missmer: As we’ve known for many years, women with endometriosis are at greater risk for infertility compared to women without endometriosis.

What this new study confirms, however, is that endometriosis and infertility should not be conflated.

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

Dr. Missmer:The majority of women with endometriosis do not experience infertility and the majority do become pregnant and are able to build the families that they desire.

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

Dr. Missmer: The majority of women with endometriosis do not experience infertility and the majority do become pregnant and are able to build the families that they desire.

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

Dr. Missmer: The key next step in endometriosis discovery is identifying that minority of women with endometriosis who ARE at higher risk of infertility. We can then target treatments directly to the biology causing infertility in women with endometriosis. We can also attempt to identify the women at risk early so that they can access fertility treatment and perhaps fertility preservation early.

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

Citation:

J. Prescott, L.V. Farland, D.K. Tobias, A.J. Gaskins, D. Spiegelman, J.E. Chavarro, J.W. Rich-Edwards, R.L. Barbieri, and S.A. Missmer
A prospective cohort study of endometriosis and subsequent risk of infertilityHum. Reprod. first published online May 1, 2016 doi:10.1093/humrep/dew085

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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Early Prenatal Events and Infancy Tied To Cardiovascular Events in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Brian Stansfield MD Neonatologist Children's Hospital of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia Augusta University

Dr. Brian Stansfield

Dr. Brian Stansfield MD
Neonatologist
Children’s Hospital of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia
Augusta University

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

Dr. Stansfield: Since the mid-20th century, we have experimental evidence in animal models and human data demonstrating the influence of maternal nutrition on the offspring – both in the short term and long term. Low birth weight has been connected with higher incidence of cardiometabolic diseases including insulin resistance, coronary artery disease, and hypertension. Interestingly, low birth weight infants grow up to be relatively thin adults compared to their normal or high birth weight counterparts. Conversely, high birth weight infants tend to become heavier adults and obesity is directly linked with the same adult outcomes. So the association of cardiac and metabolic diseases with low birth weight is not linked to adult obesity in general. Thus, speculation as to why extremes of birth weight lead to adult onset cardiometabolic disease suggests different mechanisms and modifying factors.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Stansfield: The findings of our study shed considerable light on the relationship between birth weight and risk factors for insulin resistance and visceral adiposity. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to achieve precise measurements of visceral adipose content and biomarkers for insulin resistance, we show that both low and high birth weight are associated with increased visceral adiposity and insulin resistance in a healthy population of adolescents aged 13-17 years. This association persists when we account for several recognized confounders including age, sex, race, activity level, and socioeconomic status. The most interesting finding of our study is that when you account for each adolescent’s current body mass index, a measure of obesity, the relationship between increased visceral fat and insulin resistance and low birth weight is strengthened suggesting that these adolescents had relatively high visceral adipose content despite obesity rates that were similar to their normal birth weight counterparts. On the other hand, correction for adolescent BMI (obesity) reduced the relationship between these metabolic markers and high birth weight infants. Thus, low birth weight infants may develop insulin resistance and increased visceral fat, both significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease, despite having a relatively normal body shape in adolescents.

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Women of Color Discuss Unique Issues Surrounding PostPartum Depression

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Robert H. Keefe PhD, LMSW, ACSW School of Social Work, University at Buffalo State University of New York, Buffalo, New York

Dr. Robert Keefe

Professor Robert H. Keefe PhD, LMSW, ACSW
School of Social Work, University at Buffalo
State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 

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

Dr. Keefe: The study focuses on recommendations mothers of color, who have histories of postpartum depression, would make to service providers that they believe would improve service effectiveness.  The study is timely inasmuch as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act mandates ongoing research to better understand and address differences in treatment needs among mothers from racial and ethnic groups and to develop culturally competent, evidence-based treatment approaches.

We were concerned that the research on postpartum depression relies heavily on White mothers, who have access to care, ongoing relationships with service providers, are married or otherwise coupled, and from middle-class backgrounds.  While the limited research on mothers of color notes their rates of postpartum depression are markedly higher than White mothers, it does little to address how their treatment needs differ from White mothers.

We undertook this study to get recommendations from the mothers and discovered that many of the issues that inhibit the mothers from accessing services are the very issues that lead mothers to have postpartum depression.  For example, many of the mothers report because they have poor-paying jobs, no health benefits, and limited transportation, they are unable to keep appointments despite wanting to do what is best for their newborn babies.  Furthermore, because they missed appointments, the service provider would terminate the mother from a service the mother needs, or worse contact Child Protective Services to report the mother for neglect.  The mothers were not at all neglectful.  They were all invested in their child’s wellbeing; but various life problems kept mounting up so that they and their babies were not receiving ongoing care.

Consequently, the recommendations these mothers make have little to do with psychotherapy.  In fact, most of the mothers reported they had no time to be depressed and that psychotherapy was a luxury they could not afford. Instead, the mothers wanted service systems in place that would allow them to receive the care they need so that they and their new-born babies could live happy and health lives.

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High Fructose Diet During Pregnancy Predisposes Children to Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Antonio Saad, MD Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Dr. Antonio Saad

Antonio Saad, MD
Fellow in Maternal Fetal Medicine & Critical Care Medicine
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

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

Dr. Saad: Recently the WHO announced an alarming news, the prevalence of diabetes has increased four fold in the past quarter-century. The major factors attributed for this increase included excessive weight, and obesity. In the US alone, two thirds of people are either overweight or obese. There are shocking numbers that should alert physicians, patients and government officials for awareness and interventions that we can alter the path away from this drastic epidemic.

In light of recent events, our group strongly believes that poor diet during pregnancy predisposes offspring in adult life to develop obesity and diabetes through fetal programming. High fructose introduction into our food chain has coincided with the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Hence, we designed an animal study where we fed pregnant mice with either regular diet or high fructose diet until delivery. Then we looked at the offspring, at 12 months of age. We looked at  their blood pressure, glucose tolerance tests, insulin resistance,  and weights. We also tested for serum marker of metabolic dysfunction and used computed tomography imaging to assess for liver fat infiltration and percent visceral adipose tissue. To our surprise, these offspring (mothers were fed high fructose diet) developed several features of metabolic syndrome.  Female offspring’s cardiovascular and metabolic function at one year of age (adulthood) had increased weight, blood pressure, visceral adiposity, liver fat infiltrates and  insulin resistance with impaired glucose tolerance).  The  male counterparts were limited to high blood pressure  and glucose intolerance. Keeping in mind that the amount of fructose given to these animals were equivalent to daily soda cans consumption in humans.

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Among Indian Immigrants to Canada, Female Fetuses Aborted More Commonly than Male

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marcelo L. Urquia PhD, MSc, Mg Public Health, BA Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St. Michael’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Dr. Marcelo Urquia

Marcelo L. Urquia PhD
PhD, MSc, Mg Public Health, BA
Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto 

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

Dr. Urquia: In most populations the sex ratio at birth, that is, ratio of male newborns to female newborns, is about 103 to 107 males per 100 females. This is well established and does not substantially vary according to whether a woman had one or two previous children of the same sex, as each pregnancy is an independent event. However, it is known that several parts of Asia characterize for having son-biased sex ratios at birth. As countries from Asia, such as India and China are the top contributors of births to immigrant women in Canada, we wanted to verify whether son-biased sex ratios were present in Canada. Since induced abortion following prenatal sex determination using ultrasonography has been hypothesized to be a major mechanism that may explain the distorted sex ratios observed in Asia, we also studied the connection between the probability of having boys after induced abortions.

In our first study entitled “Sex ratios after induced abortion” published in CMAJ (http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.151074), which used Ontario health care records, we found that sex ratios among Canadian-born women in Ontario were within the expected, irrespective of birth order. The sex ratio among immigrant women from India with two prior girls was 196 males per 100 females for the third live birth. Among Indian immigrant women with two prior daughters the sex ratio increased to 326 males per 100 females if they have had induced abortions preceding the third birth, to 409 males per 100 females if they have had more than one induced abortion since the last newborn child, and to 663 males per 100 females if they have had at least one preceding abortion after 14 weeks of gestation (when the sex of the fetus can be accurately estimated by ultrasonography). These findings suggest that among Indian immigrants to Ontario induced abortions of female fetuses are much more common than induced abortions of male fetuses, which helps explain the deficit in the expected number of female newborns.

In our companion paper entitled “Variations in male-female infant ratios among births toCanadian- and Indian-born mothers, 1990-2011: a population-based register study” and published in CMAJ Open (insert URL), we used national birth certificate data and verified that the patterns observed in Ontario are very likely to apply to all Canadian provinces. Moreover, son-biased sex ratios at birth among Indian immigrants have existed in Canada since the early 1990’s. The deficit in the expected number of girls to Indian immigrants over the last two decades in Canada is in between 3211 to 5921.

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