Study Finds No Link To Autism, ADHD In Offspring From Antidepressant Use In Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program Women’s Mental Health Program Women’s College Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Vigod

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program
Women’s Mental Health Program
Women’s College Hospital
Toronto, ON

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

Response: Depression is one of the most common problems that can complicate a pregnancy. Untreated, or incompletely treated, it can be associated with significant harm to mother and child. While psychotherapies alone may be effective for women with mild (or even moderate) severity symptoms, sometimes antidepressant medication is required. In these cases, the benefits of treatment must be weighed against potential risks. Previous research suggested that there may be an increased risk for autism in children exposed to antidepressant medication during pregnancy. However, previous studies were limited in their ability to account for other potential causes of autism in their analyses. In our study, we used several different strategies to try to compare children whose pregnancy exposures were very similar, except for exposure to an antidepressant.

The main finding was that after using these strategies, there was no longer a statistically significant association between in-utero antidepressant exposure and autism.

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Review of Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders According to Period of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florence Gressier MD PhD

Insermk Department of psychiatry
CHU de Bicêtrem Le Kremlin Bicêtre
France

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

Response: Results from recent studies have suggested an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in children exposed to antidepressants in utero.

We performed a systematic review of and a meta-analysis of published studies to assess the association between ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester of pregnancy and preconception.

Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a significant association between increased ASD risk and maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy; however, it appears to be more consistent during the preconception period than during each trimester. In addition, the association was weaker when controlled for past maternal mental illness. Maternal psychiatric disorders in treatment before pregnancy rather than antenatal exposure to antidepressants could have a major role in the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Maternal Obesity Linked To Increased Risk of Epilepsy in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Neda Razaz-Vandyke, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Reproductive Epidemiology Unit
Karolinska Institutet  

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

Response:   There is a growing concern about long-term neurological effects of prenatal exposure to maternal overweight and obesity.

The etiology of epilepsy is poorly understood and in more than 60% of cases no definitive cause can be determined. We found that maternal overweight and obesity increased the risks of childhood epilepsy in a dose-response pattern.

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Quadrivalent HPV Vaccination and the Risk of Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anders Hviid

Senior Investigator, M.Sc.,Dr.Med.Sci.
Department of Epidemiology Research
Division of National Health Surveillance & Research

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

Response: HPV vaccination targeting girls and young women has been introduced in many countries throughout the world. HPV vaccines are not recommended for use in pregnancy, but given the target group, inadvertent exposure will occur in early unrecognized pregnancies. However, data on the safety of HPV vaccination in pregnancy is lacking.
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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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Prenatal Tobacco Smoke Raises Risk of Atopic Dermatitis in Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Saskia Trump PhD Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ Department of Environmental Immunology Leipzig, Germany

Dr. Saskia Trump

Dr. Saskia Trump PhD
Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
Department of Environmental Immunology
Leipzig, Germany

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

Response: Environmental chemicals have long been discussed to contribute to the exacerbation or even the development of allergic diseases. In our study we were particularly interested in the effect of tobacco smoke exposure, which is the main source for indoor benzene exposure, on regulatory T cell (Treg) function and its relation to the development of childhood atopic dermatitis (AD). Tregs play a critical in controlling T effector cell activity by avoiding overexpression. A deficiency in this T cell subset increases the risk for allergic inflammation.

We have previously described that exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy can decrease the number of regulatory T cells (Treg) in the cord blood and predispose the child to the development of AD (1). In this subsequent study we were interested in the underlying mechanism involved.

Benzene itself is not considered to be toxic, however its metabolization leads to the formation of highly reactive molecules. In humans for example the metabolite 1,4-benzochinone (1,4-BQ) can be found in the blood as a consequence of benzene exposure.

To further assess the effect of benzene on Treg and the development of AD we combined in vitro studies, evaluating the impact of 1,4-BQ on human expanded Treg, with data from our prospective mother-child cohort LINA. The LINA study, recruited in Leipzig, Germany, is a longitudinal evaluation of mother-child pairs with respect to lifestyle and environmental factors that might contribute to disease development in the child. Based on this deeply phenotyped cohort we were able to translate our in vitro findings to the in vivo scenario.

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Study Fails To Support Routine Screening For Subclinical Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor, Brian Casey, M.D. Gillette Professorship of Obstetrics and Gynecology UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Casey

Professor Brian Casey, M.D.
Gillette Professorship of Obstetrics and Gynecology
UT Southwestern Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: For several decades now, subclinical thyroid disease, variously defined, has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes.  In 1999, two studies are responsible for increasing interest in subclinical thyroid disease during pregnancy because it was associated with impaired neuropsychological development in the fetus.  One study showed that children born to women with the highest TSH levels had lower IQ levels.  The other showed that children of women with isolated low free thyroid hormone levels performed worse on early psychomotor developmental tests. Together, these findings led several experts and professional organizations to recommend routine screening for and treatment of subclinical thyroid disease during pregnancy.

Our study was designed to determine whether screening for either of these two diagnoses and treatment with thyroid hormone replacement during pregnancy actually improved IQ in children at 5 years of age.

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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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Boy and Girl Fetuses Elicit Different Immune Response in Mother

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amanda Mitchell PhD Postdoctoral researcher Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Dr. Mitchell

Amanda Mitchell PhD
Postdoctoral researcher
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

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

Response: Our study followed 80 pregnant women across the course of their pregnancy – throughout 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimesters. We examined whether women exhibited different levels of immune markers called cytokines based on fetal sex. We looked at this in two ways – levels of cytokines in the blood, and levels produced by a sample of immune cells that were exposed to bacteria in the laboratory. While women did not exhibit differences in blood cytokine levels based on fetal sex, we found that the immune cells of women carrying female fetuses produced more proinflammatory cytokines when exposed to bacteria. This means that women carrying female fetuses exhibited a heightened inflammatory response when their immune system was challenged compared to women carrying male fetuses.

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Paternal Depression Linked To Not Being in Relationship With Mother

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lisa Underwood, PhD
Research Fellow| Centre for Longitudinal Research
Growing Up in New Zealand | Who are Today’s Dads?
School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences
University of Auckland  Auckland

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

Response: This study is part of the contemporary, longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand, which is tracking the development of more than 6000 children born in 2009 and 2010.

In previous reports we investigated antenatal and postnatal depression symptoms among the mothers of our cohort children. In this study we looked at the partners of those mothers to explore whether men and women have different risks for depression in each perinatal period.

Our main findings were that expectant fathers were at risk if they felt stressed or were in poor health. Elevated depression symptoms following their child’s birth, were also linked to social and relationship problems.

The strongest predictor of postnatal paternal depression was no longer being in a relationship with the child’s mother.

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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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Thyroid Hormone Treatment In Pregnant Women With Subclinical Hypothyroidism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka Assistant professor of medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System Little Rock Arkansas

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka
Assistant professor of medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and
Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System
Little Rock Arkansas

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

Response: Subclinical hypothyroidism, a mild thyroid dysfunction, has been associated in pregnancy with multiple adverse outcomes. Our aim was to estimate the effectiveness and safety of thyroid hormone treatment among pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Using a large national US dataset, we identified 5,405 pregnant women diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism. Of these, 843 women, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 4.8 milli-international units per liter, were treated with thyroid hormone. The remaining 4,562, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 3.3 milli-international units per liter, were not treated.

Compared with the untreated group, treated women were 38 percent less likely to experience pregnancy loss. However, they were more likely to experience a preterm delivery, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Moreover, the benefit of thyroid hormone treatment on pregnancy loss was seen only among women with higher TSH levels (4.1 to 10 mIU/L) before treatment. We also found that for women with lower levels of TSH (2.5–4.0 mIU/L), the risk of gestational hypertension was significantly higher for treated women than for untreated women.

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