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June 30, 2010, 6:36 AM CT

Does in vitro maturation causes large babies?

Does in vitro maturation causes large babies?
Rome, Italy: A review of studies of babies born after in vitro maturation (IVM) fertility therapy has suggested that they are more likely to be born larger than normal and to have more difficult births requiring more obstetric interventions such as caesareans.

Authors of the literature review to be presented to the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Wednesday) think that this appears to be a problem linked to the IVM process in which immature eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and matured in the lab before being fertilised and any resulting embryos transferred to the woman's uterus. They have urged caution in the use of IVM until further studies can clarify their findings.

Dr Peter Sjblom, unit manager of Nurture, the Nottingham University IVF clinic at Queen's Medical Centre (Nottingham, UK), said: "We looked at four different data sets from four different countries and, eventhough the numbers were small and differences modest, we saw a consistent pattern that cannot be ignored. We strongly think that these findings must be explored further."

Dr Sjblom and colleagues analysed data from studies of babies born after IVM, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in Denmark, Finland, Canada and Korea. They observed that the birth weight of the 165 babies born after IVM was between 0.3% and 6% higher than the national average for singleton births and 6%-9% higher than babies conceived after IVF and/or ICSI. Caesarean rates were consistently higher after IVM as well: for singleton IVM births they were 30-60% versus 27-44% for IVF/ICSI births. IVM pregnancies had high miscarriage rates (25-37%) and the average period of gestation was 3-11 days longer than for IVF/ICSI. Eventhough there were no firm data on other obstetric interventions, the authors thought it was probable that there was also a higher number of procedures such as inductions, vacuum extractions and forceps deliveries in comparison to IVF/ICSI births and births after natural conception.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:13 AM CT

Cheap, simple, noninvasive blood test for early pregnancy

Cheap, simple, noninvasive blood test for early pregnancy
Scientists in The Netherlands believe they are on the verge of developing a simple, prenatal blood test that would be able to detect accurately chromosomal abnormalities in the developing foetus. At present, the only reliable way to do this is through amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, both of which are invasive and carry the risk of triggering a miscarriage.

Dr Suzanna Frints, a clinical geneticist at Maastricht University Medical Centre (Maastricht, The Netherlands), will tell the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Tuesday), that she and her colleagues have been able to use molecular genetic probes to detect DNA belonging to the foetus in blood samples taken from pregnant women.

So far, they have been successful in identifying DNA from the Y chromosome, indicating that the foetus is a boy and therefore could be at risk of inheriting an X-linked disorder such as Duchenne's muscular dystrophy and haemophilia. [1].

The scientists believe the same method can be used to detect trisomy 21 (where an extra chromosome 21 causes Down's syndrome) and they are investigating this next, followed by trisomy 13 and 18 (responsible for causing Patau and Edward's syndromes respectively). [2].

Dr Frints and her colleagues are using the "Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification" (MLPA), technique to detect foetal DNA that is present in the blood of women who have been pregnant for at least six to eight weeks. The MLPA test is part of an existing kit that is already used around the world to detect chromosomal abnormalities in invasively obtained amniotic fluid or chorionic villi samples from pregnant women. The kit is cheap and fast, delivering results within 24-62 hours, but, until now, it has only been used on samples taken during invasive procedures; it was not known whether it would work on cell free foetal DNA circulating in blood samples of pregnant women.........

Posted by: Binet      Read more         Source


June 29, 2010, 7:11 AM CT

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Mothers who drink alcohol while they are pregnant appears to be damaging the fertility of their future sons, as per new research to be presented at the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Tuesday 29 June).

Doctors in Denmark observed that if mothers had drunk 4.5 or more drinks a week while pregnant, then the sperm concentration of their sons, measured about 20 years later, was a third lower compared to men who were not exposed to alcohol while in the womb. A drink was measured as 12 grams of alcohol, which is the equivalent to one 330 ml beer, one small (120 ml) glass of wine or one glass of spirits (40 ml).

Dr Cecilia Ramlau-Hansen, senior researcher at the Department of Occupational Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital (Denmark) and clinical associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, told a news briefing: "Our study shows that there is an association between drinking a moderate amount of alcohol (about four to five drinks a week) during pregnancy and lower sperm concentrations in sons. However, because this is an observational study we cannot say for certain that the alcohol causes the lower sperm concentrations. It is possible that drinking alcohol during pregnancy has a harmful effect on the foetal semen-producing tissue in the testes and thereby on semen quality in later life but our study is the first of its kind, and more research within this area is needed before any causal link can be established or safe drinking limits proposed".........

Posted by: Binet      Read more         Source


June 28, 2010, 7:39 AM CT

Gestational diabetes serotonin and dietary protein

Gestational diabetes serotonin and dietary protein
The cause of diabetes during pregnancy is directly controlled by serotonin, a chemical produced by the body and normally known as a neurotransmitter, and is influenced by the amount of protein in the mother's diet early in pregnancy, as per new findings of an international team led by scientists at UCSF.

The surprise discovery could lead to simple dietary solutions and possible therapeutics for the disorder known as gestational diabetes, which if untreated, has serious implications for both mother and child. It also offers new insights into possible ways to reverse non-gestational diabetes in its early stages, the scientists say.

The findings will be reported in an upcoming issue of "Nature Medicine" and are available June 27 via Advance Online Publication at http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.2173.

Researchers have puzzled for decades over the fact that the onset of pregnancy causes a woman to double the number of insulin-producing islet cells in her pancreas, as per UCSF Professor Michael German, MD, who is senior author of the paper. While that increase ultimately enables the mother to control the flow of nutrients to the fetus during its final growth spurt in the third trimester, the islet cell production occurs long before those nutrients are actually needed.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 24, 2010, 10:51 PM CT

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby
Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby.

Credit: SINC.

There is great confusion among the scientific community about whether women who are drug abusers should breast feed their babies. In order to shed some light on this issue, researchers from various Spanish hospitals and research centres are reviewing the methods used to detect substances in breast milk, their adverse effects, and the recommendations that mothers should follow in this month's issue of the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

"The general recommendation is to totally avoid drug abuse while breastfeeding, because these substances can pass directly through to the newborn", scar Garca Algar, co-author of the study and a doctor in the Paediatrics Department at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, tells SINC.

The researcher adds: "This recommendation extends to the prenatal period, because these substances are passed on to the foetus via the placenta, and then in the postnatal period via the environment. If they have exposure through the milk, they will certainly also have had it during the pregnancy, and they can also be in the environment, as is the case with tobacco smoke".

For this study, the team used the average daily intake of the breastfeeding baby, around 150 millilitres of milk per kilo of weight, as a benchmark. The recommendations are listed for each substance, taking the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a reference.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 17, 2010, 7:10 AM CT

Remission during pregnancy?

Remission during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, a number of women experience remission of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and uveitis. Now, researchers have described a biological mechanism responsible for changes in the immune system that helps to explain the remission.

The expression of an enzyme known as pyruvate kinase is reduced in immune cells in pregnant women in comparison to non-pregnant women, as per Howard R. Petty, Ph.D., biophysicist at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center and Roberto Romero, M.D., of the National Institutes for Health.

The study, which appears online ahead of print in the recent issue of the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology, also reports that expression of the enzyme is lower in pregnant women in comparison to those with pre-eclampsia, a condition with inflammatory components.

The study is significant because the newly discovered mechanism points to a pathway that could be targeted for therapy. "It appears to be possible to design drugs that mildly suppress pyruvate kinase activity as a means of replicating the immune status of normal pregnancy," says Petty.

In addition to pre-eclampsia, he believes that rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and uveitis may eventually yield to similarly designed drugs.

In his search to explain the phenomenon, Petty knew to look for a metabolic pathway or mechanism with two characteristics. It had to "dial down" the intensity of the normal immune response, an action needed so that a pregnant woman does not reject the fetus, which has proteins from the father that are "foreign" to the mother. At the same time, such a mechanism must support cell growth needed by the developing fetus.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 16, 2010, 7:20 AM CT

Alcohol effect on fetal development

Alcohol effect on fetal development
It's long been known that alcohol use in pregnancy can lead to children with mental retardation and birth defects, but scientists who study fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) have not made definitive progress on preventing the disorder, detecting it early, or effectively treating it, say scientists from Georgetown University Medical Center.

In the issue of Developmental Neuroscience, four first-year medical students at Georgetown University School of Medicine looked into the science and clinical therapy of FAS, and observed that eventhough there is much ongoing study, no new medical strategies exist to change the grim outcome that can occur when a fetus is exposed to alcohol.

"Eventhough there is a lot of research in the field to determine how alcohol acts on the developing brain, there is not much translation into the clinic," says Sahar Ismail, now a second year medical student. "What surprised us the most was the lack of sensitive and specific diagnostic tools to identify children with FAS, given its prevalence and harmful effects on the child, family, and society."

Working with her on the study were medical students Stephanie Buckley, Ross Budacki, and Ahmad Jabbar each student contributed equally. Their study was a project for the Sexual Development and Reproduction Module under directorship of G. Ian Gallicano, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 14, 2010, 10:22 PM CT

link between IVF treatments and autism?

link between IVF treatments and autism?
The first "test tube baby" was born in 1978. With advances in reproductive science, an estimated one percent of all American babies are now born each year through in vitro fertilization (IVF). But IVF and other assisted fertility therapys appears to be solving one problem by creating another, suggests new evidence from Tel Aviv University.

In a recent study, Dr. Ditza Zachor of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine reported a strong link between IVF and mild to moderate cases of autism. Her findings were presented last month at the International Meeting for Autism Research in Philadelphia.

As per her research at the Autism Center at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Israel, which Dr. Zachor directs, 10.5% of 461 children diagnosed with a disorder on the autism spectrum were conceived using IVF, a significantly higher number than the 3.5% autism rate in the general Israeli population.

Other factors in play

While the study doesn't draw any definitive conclusions, it presents some urgent questions, says Dr. Zachor. "It's too early to make a serious deduction based on that evidence alone," she says, citing other birth-related factors in her study, such as low birth rate and prematurity. Dr. Zachor's ongoing research will attempt to separate out these risk factors to come up with more precise numbers for autism and other prenatal conditions in IVF.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 25, 2010, 6:48 AM CT

A profile of teenage pregnancy in Spain

A profile of teenage pregnancy in Spain
The effective use of contraception once becoming sexually active is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy during adolescence. This is just one of the conclusions of a study by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Universidad Complutense in Madrid which additionally reveals that using no contraception or using it well after starting sexual relations increases up to six times the risk for teen pregnancy. In addition, the use of ineffective contraception (methods other than condoms, intrauterine contraceptive device [IUDs], diaphragms, or hormonal methods) quadrupled the risk.

These two conclusions are reflected in the study Teenage motherhood in Spain, led by CSIC researcher Margarita Delgado. Research was based on a survey conducted by the spanish Sociological Research Center on 9,700 women over the age of fifteen and even covered generations of women born before 1931. The study has been funded by the Spanish Contraception Foundation.

The research has enabled the authors to create a profile of teenage mothers in Spain: young women who become mothers early tend to emancipate and to be in romantic relationships earlier than their peers since pregnancy is a trigger for such events. Also, young mothers end their formal education earlier, start their first job later and rarely achieve stable employment.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


May 9, 2010, 8:43 AM CT

FDA Approves New Combination Product Oral Contraceptive

FDA Approves New Combination Product Oral Contraceptive
On May 06, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Natazia, a combination hormonal tablet for use as an oral contraceptive.

Natazia contains two female hormones, an estrogen (estradiol valerate) and a progestin (dienogest), and is the first four-phasic oral contraceptive marketed in the United States. Four-phasic refers to the doses of progestin and estrogen varying at four times throughout each 28-day treatment cycle.

“Nearly 12 million women in the United States and more than 100 million women worldwide currently use oral contraceptives,” said Scott Monroe, M.D., director of FDA’s Division of Reproductive and Urologic Products. “The approval of Natazia provides another option for women who choose to use an oral contraceptive as their method of contraception.”

The safety and efficacy of Natazia as an oral contraceptive was evaluated in two multicenter phase 3 clinical trials in North America and Europe. The trials involved 1,867 women and nearly 30,000 28-day treatment cycles. Natazia was found to be effective as a hormonal contraceptive in both studies.

The most common side effects observed with Natazia include irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, increased weight, and acne. Women older than 35 who smoke should not use this product. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular events from combination oral contraceptive use.........

Read more         Source: natazia.com



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Did you know?
The addition of testosterone to hormone therapy in women after menopause enhances their sexual function. However, it may also reduce HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) in women, according to a systematic review of current evidence."If the reduction in HDL had been associated with an increase in triglycerides [fatty acids] or LDL cholesterol it would be of great concern," said Dr. Susan Davis, professor of medicine at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, and study co-author "However, as an isolated finding the significance is difficult to interpret." She added, "Testosterone has not been found to alter other coronary heart disease risk factors.".

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