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March 31, 2009, 3:33 PM CT

Male Baby Comes With A Bigger Package

Male Baby Comes With A Bigger Package
Nurses in the maternity ward often say that a difficult labor is a sign of a baby boy. Now, a Tel Aviv University study provides scientific proof that a male baby comes with a bigger package of associated risks than his female counterparts.

In a study of 66,000 births, Prof. Marek Glezerman, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, together with Dr. Yariv Yogev and Dr. Nir Melamed, observed that while girls were at a higher risk for restricted growth in utero and for breech presentation at birth, risks linked to boy fetuses were more abundant.

"Pregnancies with a male fetus are more often complicated," says Prof. Glezerman. "They're more likely to result in a premature rupture of the embryonic sac and suffer from premature delivery. And those male fetuses which make it to term," he continues, "are more likely to suffer from excessive growth in the uterus, making delivery more difficult and leading to more cesarian section deliveries".

Study Helps Doctors See the Bigger Picture

In a study presented to the Israel Society for Gender Based Medicine, scientists concluded that male fetuses come with "a higher association of risks," but note that the findings should be viewed in the proper light. "Boys are riskier to an extent," says Prof. Glezerman, but pregnancies involving boys should not be classified as "high-risk" for that reason alone. It's only one factor for doctors to consider when looking at the whole picture, he says.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 31, 2009, 5:30 AM CT

Is time of conception linked to birth defects?

Is time of conception linked to birth defects?
A study reported in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta Pdiatrica is the first to report that birth defect rates in the United States were highest for women conceiving in the spring and summer. The scientists also observed that this period of increase risk correlated with increased levels of pesticides in surface water across the United States.

Studying all 30.1 million births which occurred in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002, the scientists found a strong association between the increased number of birth defects in children of women whose last menstrual period occurred in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during the same months. While a number of of these chemicals, including the herbicide atrazine which is banned in European countries but permitted in the U.S., are suspected to be harmful to the developing embryo, this is the first study to link their increased seasonal concentration in surface water with the peak in birth defects in infants conceived in the same months.

The connection between the month of last menstrual period and higher rates of birth defects was statistically significant for half of the 22 categories of birth defects reported in a Centers for Disease Control database from 1996 to 2002 including spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot and Down's syndrome.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 30, 2009, 5:04 AM CT

Multiple births and postpartum blues

Multiple births and postpartum blues
Mothers of multiples have 43 percent increased odds of having moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after giving birth in comparison to mothers of single-born children, as per scientists at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Scientists examined the relationship between multiple births and maternal depressive symptoms and observed that multiple births increased the odds of maternal depression, and that few mothers with depressive symptoms, regardless of the multiple births status, reported talking to a mental health specialist or a general medical provider. The results are reported in the April 1, 2009, issue of Pediatrics

"Our findings suggest that 19 percent of mothers of multiples had moderate to severe depressive symptoms nine months after delivery, in comparison to 16 percent among mothers of singletons," said Yoonjoung Choi, DrPH, main author of the study and a research associate with the Bloomberg School's Department of International Health. "Mothers with a history of hospitalization due to mental health problems or a history of alcohol or drug abuse also had significantly increased odds. Non-Hispanic black mothers had higher odds in comparison to non-Hispanic white mothers. Mothers who were currently married, Hispanic, or with a high household socioeconomic status were less likely to have depressive symptoms".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 5, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Injectable birth control causes weight gain

Injectable birth control causes weight gain
Women using depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), usually known as the birth control shot, gained an average of 11 pounds and increased their body fat by 3.4 percent over three years, as per scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).

However, women who switched to nonhormonal contraception began to slowly lose the weight and fat mass they gained nearly four pounds over two years, while those who used oral contraception after the shots gained an average of four additional pounds in the same time span. The amount of weight gain was dependent on the length of time DMPA was used, as the rate of weight gain slowed over time.

The study, which appears in the March 4 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind.

DMPA is an injected contraceptive administered to patients every three months. More than two million American women use DMPA, including approximately 400,000 teens. DMPA is relatively inexpensive in comparison to some other forms of birth control, has a low failure rate and doesn't need to be administered daily, which contributes to the contraceptive's popularity.

"Women and their doctors should factor in this new data when choosing the most appropriate birth control method," said main author Abbey Berenson, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health at UTMB.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


March 4, 2009, 6:11 AM CT

Obesity may lead to infertility

Obesity may lead to infertility
Obese women have alterations in their ovaries which might be responsible for an egg's inability to make an embryo, as per a newly released study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

Obese women trying to become pregnant experience longer times to conception, even if they are young and have a regular menstrual cycle. This study sought to determine if there are alterations in an egg's environment in obese women which contribute to poorer reproductive outcomes.

"Characteristics of eggs are influenced by the environment in which they develop within the ovary," said Dr. Rebecca Robker, PhD, of Adelaide University in Australia and main author of the study. "Our study observed that obese women have abnormally high levels of fats and inflammation in the fluid surrounding their eggs which can impact an egg's developmental potential".

As per Dr. Robker, the fats might alter the very sensitive metabolism of the egg and such changes are known to be harmful to embryo formation. In addition, inflammation can damage cells and when this happens to eggs it can affect embryo survival.

For this study, scientists followed 96 women seeking assisted reproduction at a private clinic in South Australia from February 2006 to April 2007. Dr. Robker and her colleagues measured hormone and metabolite levels in follicular fluid obtained from the subjects' ovaries during their egg collection procedures. They observed that obese women exhibited an altered ovarian follicular environment, especially increased metabolite and androgen activity levels, which appears to be linked to poorer reproductive outcomes.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 12, 2009, 5:42 AM CT

Avoid pregnancy rather than go through hazels of testing

Avoid pregnancy rather than go through hazels of testing
Parents of children with genetic conditions may avoid the need to choose whether to undergo pre-natal testing or to abort future pregnancies by simply avoiding subsequent pregnancy altogether, a study has observed.

Parents are 'choosing not to choose', researcher Dr Susan Kelly, who is based at the Egenis research centre at the University of Exeter, suggests, in a 'reflection of deep-seated ambivalence' about the options and the limitations of new reproductive technologies.

As per 'Choosing not to choose: reproductive responses of parents of children with genetic conditions or impairments' reported in the journal Sociology of Health and Illness, more than two-thirds of parents in the USA-based study chose not to have any more children rather than accepting tests to identify or avoid the birth of an affected child. Of the parents who did have further children, a majority chose not to make use of prenatal screening or testing.

"Prenatal testing procedures (to detect genetic conditions or fetal anomalies) were perceived by a number of parents as presenting rather than resolving risks," says Dr Kelly. "A number of parents rejected the possibility of being confronted with the choice of termination or continuation of an affected pregnancy".

The parents studied had children who were clients of a state-wide rural genetic outreach programme in the USA. A majority of parents still of childbearing age chose to avoid future pregnancies, or to decline prenatal testing for subsequent pregnancies. "These decisions do not reflect simple rejection of medical intervention, opposition to abortion, and/or affirmation of a positive parenting experience with an affected child," says Dr Kelly. "Rather, choosing to avoid the condition of choice may be a strategy of responsible parenting that emerges from ambivalence towards the options presented by reproductive technologies".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 11, 2009, 6:14 AM CT

Better prenatal care using home pregnancy tests

Better prenatal care using home pregnancy tests
Mary Nettleman, Department of Medicine, College of Human Medicine. Courtesy photo

Click on an image to view a larger or high-resolution version.
The simple intervention of providing women who are having unprotected sex with a home pregnancy test could have a substantial impact on the health of potential newborns, as per a Michigan State University study.

In research published this month in the February edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, MSU's Mary Nettleman observed that significantly more women who had a home pregnancy test at home not only suspected they could be pregnant but also took tests much more frequently.

"The top reason women do not seek prenatal care is they do not realize they are pregnant," said Nettleman, chairperson of the College of Human Medicine's Department of Medicine. "In addition, women who do not realize they are pregnant will not change harmful behaviors such as drinking and smoking, which can lead to developmental problems in newborns".

Nettleman added that one of the most common reasons for unintended pregnancy is that women don't feel they are at high risk for pregnancy.

"This simple intervention - giving home pregnancy test kits to women who are having unprotected sex - was able to do what no other study has done: Influence women to be more vigilant about potential pregnancy," she said.

Participants in the study, which was funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health, were low-income, adult women who were having unprotected sex and not trying to conceive. Women in the intervention group were given free home-pregnancy tests and were able to order more kits as needed.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 9, 2009, 5:59 AM CT

Pregnancy does not decrease breast cancer survival

Pregnancy does not decrease  breast cancer survival
Young women who develop breast cancer during their pregnancy, or who are diagnosed within one year of their pregnancy, have no difference in rates of local recurrence, distant metastases and overall survival in comparison to other young women with the disease, as per scientists at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

However, the largest single-institution study to look at pregnant patients with breast cancer finds that women with Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer (PABC), are more likely to be diagnosed later with advanced stages of the disease and, thus, have necessary therapy delayed.

The findings appear in the March 15 issue of the journal Cancer

"Breast cancer in young women is a highly aggressive disease, and it's important that we study it in hopes of making a difference in terms of therapy," said Beth Beadle, M.D., a radiation oncology resident at M. D. Anderson and the study's first author. "When we looked at our young breast cancer population, a relatively large percentage had disease affiliated with pregnancy. We thought it would be really instructive to review our data to determine how we can best serve these women".

It's estimated that up to 3.8 percent of pregnancies are complicated by breast cancer, and approximately 10 percent of patients with breast cancer under age 40 develop the disease during pregnancy, said the researchers. As the age for first and subsequent pregnancies increases and intersects with advances in imaging and screening, this statistic will only continue to climb, explained George Perkins, M.D., associate professor in M. D. Anderson's Department of Radiation Oncology.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


February 6, 2009, 6:02 AM CT

No increased risk of ovarian cancer from fertility drugs

No increased risk of ovarian cancer from fertility drugs
The use of fertility drugs does not increase a woman's risk of developing ovary cancer, finds a large study from Danish scientists published on bmj.com today.

During the past three decades there has been considerable debate as to whether use of fertility drugs increases a woman's risk of developing ovary cancer. Prior studies have given conflicting results and concerns remain, especially for women who undergo several cycles of therapy or who never succeed in becoming pregnant.

So Allan Jensen and his colleagues at the Danish Cancer Society examined the effects of fertility drugs on ovary cancer risk by using data from the largest cohort of infertile women to date.

The study involved 54,362 women with infertility problems referred to all Danish fertility clinics between 1963 and 1998. 156 of these women had ovary cancer. After adjusting for several risk factors, the scientists assessed the effects of four groups of fertility drugs over an average period of 16 years.

They found no overall increased risk for ovary cancer after use of any fertility drug. They also found no increased risk among women who had undergone 10 or more cycles of therapy or among those who did not become pregnant.

Eventhough the authors did observe a statistically significant increase in risk of the most common serious type of ovary cancer among women who had used the drug clomiphene, they stress that this was probably a chance association.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 5, 2009, 6:26 AM CT

Menopause-like condition in girls and young women

Menopause-like condition in girls and young women
A comprehensive plan to help health care professionals diagnose and treat primary ovarian insufficiencya menopause-like condition affecting girls and young women that may occur years before normal menopause is expectedhas been developed by a scientist at the National Institutes of Health.

Lawrence Nelson, M.D., head of NIH's Integrative and Reproductive Medicine Unit, provided recommendations based on the research he has conducted at the NIH. His recommendations are reported in the Clinical Practice feature of the February 5 New England Journal (NEJM)

In primary ovarian insufficiency, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and producing estrogen and other reproductive hormones. The sudden cessation of ovarian function results in a condition similar to that of normal menopause: loss of menstrual periods, infertility, hot flashes and night sweats, sleep loss, and increased risk for bone fracture and heart disease. The sudden and unexpected loss of fertility frequently results in feelings of grief, anxiety and depression.

Treatment consists of hormones to replace those no longer produced by the ovaries and counseling to help women cope with the grief, anxiety, and depression that may result from the diagnosis and the loss of fertility.

"The early indicators of primary ovarian insufficiency are subtle and the condition can be difficult to diagnose," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, where Dr. Nelson conducts his research. "Dr. Nelson's report provides helpful information for health care professionals and patients on how to recognize the early symptoms of the condition so that women can benefit from prompt diagnosis and early therapy".........

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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