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October 1, 2010, 5:45 AM CT

Short and long sleep in early pregnancy

Short and long sleep in early pregnancy
DARIEN, IL A study in the Oct. 1 issue of the journal Sleep observed that getting too little or too much sleep in early pregnancy is linked to elevated blood pressure in the third trimester. The study suggests that improving prenatal sleep hygiene may provide important health benefits.

Results show that the mean systolic blood pressure in the third trimester was 114 mm Hg in women with a normal self-reported nightly sleep duration of nine hours in early pregnancy, 118.05 mm Hg in women who reported sleeping six hours or less per night, and 118.90 mm Hg in women with a nightly sleep duration of 10 hours or more in early pregnancy. After adjustments for potential confounders such as age, race and pre-pregnancy body mass index, mean systolic blood pressure was 3.72 mm Hg higher in short sleepers and 4.21 mm Hg higher in long sleepers. Similar results also were found for diastolic blood pressure.

"Both short and long sleep duration in early pregnancy were linked to increased mean third trimester systolic and diastolic blood pressure values," said principal investigator and main author Dr. Michelle A. Williams, professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington and co-director of the Center for Perinatal Studies at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, Wash.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 29, 2010, 10:52 PM CT

Women treated for breast cancer while pregnant have improved survival

Women treated for breast cancer while pregnant have improved survival
Jennifer Litton, M.D., is an assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology.

Credit: MD Anderson

Long linked to a worse outcome, scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that women treated for breast cancer while pregnant, in fact, have improved disease-free survival and a trend for improved overall survival in comparison to non-pregnant women treated for the disease.

Jennifer Litton, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson's Department of Breast Medical Oncology, presented the findings in a poster discussion session at the 2010 Breast Cancer Symposium.

"Until now, older registry studies showed that patients with breast cancer treated while pregnant had a worse outcome. However, in the past, these patients weren't always treated consistently with standard of care chemotherapy and often delayed their treatment until after delivery." said Litton, the study's first and corresponding author. "Given MD Anderson's experience in treating pregnant patients and our registry, we were able to look at these women treated by the same physicians, at the same institution, with the same standard of care".

In 1992, Richard Theriault, D.O., professor in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology, opened the first protocol examining a chemotherapeutic regimen for the management of these patients. He later published seminal studies proving that the regimen was safe for both pregnant mother and unborn child; it has since been adopted as the standard of care. MD Anderson has the oldest, active prospective registry in the world following the health of pregnant patients with breast cancer and their children.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 8:01 AM CT

Maybe it's the wrong time of month

Maybe it's the wrong time of month
Feeling a little sluggish and having trouble concentrating? Hormones might be to blame as per new research from Concordia University reported in the journal Brain and Cognition The study shows that high estrogen levels are linked to an inability to pay attention and learn the first such paper to report how this impediment can be due to a direct effect of the hormone on mature brain structures.

"Eventhough estrogen is known to play a significant role in learning and memory, there has been no clear consensus on its effect," says senior author Wayne Brake, an associate professor at Concordia's Center for Studies in Behavioural Neurobiology. "Our findings, using a well-established model of learning called latent inhibition, shows conclusively that high estrogen levels inhibit the cognitive ability in female rodents".

Human females have high estrogen levels while they are ovulating. These high levels have also been shown to interfere with women's ability to pay attention.

"The similarity between human studies and our findings suggest that we have a good model for human learning," says first author Matthew Quinlan, a former Concordia doctoral student now a lecturer at California State University San Bernadino. "Rodent research is invaluable to us. We can tease out the real contributors and their respective roles in these systems. It is much more difficult to conduct comparable experiments in humans".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


September 25, 2010, 7:51 AM CT

Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents

Abortion does not cause depression or low self-esteem in adolescents
A newly released study has determined that teenagers who have abortions are no more likely to become depressed or have low self-esteem than their peers whose pregnancies do not end in abortion.

The study conducted by scientists from Oregon State University and University of California, San Francisco, is the first to use both depression and low self-esteem as outcomes with a nationally representative sample of adolescents.

The scientists observed that young women in the study who had an abortion were no more likely to become depressed or have low self-esteem within the first year of pregnancy or five years later than their peers who were pregnant, but did not have an abortion.

The scientists used data from 289 respondents to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Data were taken from three survey waves, starting in 1994-1995, surveyed again one year later, and then five years after that. The study is available online and will appear in the recent issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health

Main author Jocelyn Warren, a post-doctoral research associate at OSU, said the study was intended to fill a major gap in abortion research.

"We know most teen pregnancies are not wanted pregnancies and an unwanted pregnancy can be very stressful," Warren said.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 7, 2010, 7:41 AM CT

Depression in the first year after child's birth

Depression in the first year after child's birth
More than one-third of mothers and about one-fifth of fathers in the United Kingdom appear to experience an episode of depression between their child's birth and 12th year of age, with the highest rates in the first year after birth, as per a report posted online today that will appear in the November print issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

"Depression in parents is linked to adverse behavioral, developmental and cognitive outcomes in their children," the authors write as background information in the article. "While the maternal depression and child outcome literature is well established, there are fewer studies on paternal depression. There is evidence that paternal depression is not uncommon, with rates higher than those in the general adult male population; however, a wide range of prevalence rates for paternal depression have been reported".

Shreya Dav, Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc., of the Medical Research Council, London, England, and his colleagues examined incidence, trends and correlates of parental depression in 86,957 families seen in U.K. primary care facilities between 1993 and 2007. Mothers and fathers with depression were identified using diagnostic codes and pharmacy records.

Overall, between their children's birth and age 12, 19,286 mothers had a total of 25,176 episodes of depression and 8,012 fathers had a total of 9,683 episodes of depression. The depression rate was 7.53 per 100 mothers per year and 2.69 per 100 fathers per year. The highest rates were observed in the first year after the birth of a child, with 13.93 per 100 mothers and 3.56 per 100 fathers experiencing depression in that period.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


August 31, 2010, 7:15 AM CT

Decongestant Use and Lower Risk of Preterm Birth

Decongestant Use and Lower Risk of Preterm Birth
A newly released study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) epidemiologists has observed that women who took over-the-counter decongestants during their pregnancies are less likely to give birth prematurely.

Preterm birth -- deliveries at less than 37 weeks' gestation- -- is the leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality in developed countries, but its causes remain largely unknown, said Rohini Hernandez, the study's main author and a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at BUSPH. In the United States, the rate of preterm delivery has increased from 9.5 percent in 1981 to 12.3 percent in 2008.

"Maybe this can provide some clues as to how to prevent preterm delivery," Hernandez said. "The more we can learn about what could potentially cause preterm birth would help our understanding in how to stop it".

The study, published online ahead of print in the journal Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, observed that women who took decongestants in their second or third trimesters had a roughly 58 percent reduced risk of preterm delivery in comparison to women who didn't use decongestants during their pregnancy. (The finding was observed only for women without preeclampsia.) The authors cautioned, however, that the findings do not necessarily imply a cause and effect relationship.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 27, 2010, 7:25 AM CT

Breastfeed to prevent diabetes

Breastfeed to prevent diabetes
Mothers who did not breastfeed their children have significantly higher rates of type 2 diabetes during the later part of life than moms who breastfed, report University of Pittsburgh scientists as per a research findings reported in the recent issue of the American Journal of Medicine.

"We have seen dramatic increases in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes over the last century," said Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. "Diet and exercise are widely known to impact the risk of type 2 diabetes, but few people realize that breastfeeding also reduces mothers' risk of developing the disease during the later part of life by decreasing maternal belly fat".

The study included 2,233 women between the ages of 40 and 78. Overall, 56 percent of mothers reported they had breastfed an infant for at least one month. Twenty-seven percent of mothers who did not breastfeed developed type 2 diabetes and were almost twice as likely to develop the disease as women who had breastfed or never given birth. In contrast, mothers who breastfed all of their children were no more likely to develop diabetes than women who never gave birth. These long-term differences were notable even after considering age, race, physical activity and tobacco and alcohol use.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 11, 2010, 6:58 AM CT

Menstrual cramps on brain structure

Menstrual cramps on brain structure
Primary dysmenorrhea (PDM), or menstrual cramps, is the most common gynecological disorder in women of childbearing age. Lower abdominal pain starts with the onset of menstrual flow and this ongoing pain stimulus can cause alterations throughout the nervous system. In a study scheduled for publication in the recent issue of PAIN, scientists report abnormal changes in the structure of the brain in PDM patients, whether or not they are in fact experiencing pain.

Lead investigator, Professor Jen-Chuen Hsieh, MD, PhD, Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, commented, "Our results demonstrated that abnormal GM [gray matter] changes were present in PDM patients even in absence of pain. This shows that not only sustained pain but also cyclic occurring menstrual pain can result in longer-lasting central changes. Eventhough the functional consequences remain to be established, these results indicate that the adolescent brain is vulnerable to menstrual pain. Longitudinal studies are needed to probe hormonal interaction, fast-changing adaptation (intra-menstrual cycle) and whether such changes are reversible or not".

32 PDM patients and 32 age- and menstrual-cycle-matched controls took part in the study. MRI scans of each subject were obtained when the PDM patients were not experiencing pain, and maps of gray matter (GM) were created. Both the total GM volume and the GM volume of specific brain areas were determined for both PDM patients and controls.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


July 2, 2010, 7:17 AM CT

Increasing Fertility Threefold

Increasing Fertility Threefold
As per the American Pregnancy Association, six million women a year deal with infertility. Now, a Tel Aviv University study is giving new hope to women who want to conceive - in the form of a pill they can find on their drugstore shelves right now.

Prof. Adrian Shulman of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Meir Medical Center has found a statistical correlation between the over-the-counter vitamin supplement DHEA, used to counter the effects of aging, and successful pregnancy rates in women undergoing therapy for infertility.

In the first controlled study on the effects of the supplement, Prof. Shulman observed that women being treated for infertility who also received supplements of DHEA were three times more likely to conceive than women being treated without the additional drug. The results were recently published in AYALA, the journal of the Israeli Fertility Association.

A natural supplement to fertility therapys

After hearing anecdotal evidence from his patients and the medical community on the benefits of combining fertility therapys with DHEA, a supplement marketed as an anti-aging drug around the world, Prof. Shulman decided to put this old wives' tale to the statistical test.

He and his fellow scientists conducted a study in which a control group of women received therapy for poor ovulation, and another group received the same therapy with the addition of the DHEA supplement. The latter group took 75mg of the supplement daily for 40 days before starting fertility therapys, and continued for up to five months.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


June 30, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

New non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids

New non-surgical treatment for uterine fibroids
Rome, Italy: A new, effective, non-surgical therapy for uterine fibroids can help women with this condition maintain their fertility, an American scientist told the 26th annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Rome today (Wednesday). Dr. Alicia Armstrong, Chief, Gynecologic Services, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Programme in Reproductive and Adult Endocrinology, Bethesda, Maryland, said that the outcome of two Phase II clinical trials of ulipristal acetate (UPA) had significant implications for both infertility and general gynaecology patients.

UPA belongs to a relatively new class of drug, the selective progesterone receptor modulators or SPRMs. It is currently used for emergency contraception, and acts by blocking the progesterone receptor and hence ovulation (release of the egg). Recent research has shown that progesterone also plays a role in the development of uterine fibroids, which affect 24 million women in Europe and can lead to a range of symptoms such as abdominal pain and discomfort and heavy and irregular menstrual bleeding. Fibroids are the major indication for hysterectomy in Europe and the US, and they also contribute to infertility by interfering with the ability of the embryo to implant in the womb and causing miscarriage.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source



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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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