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May 6, 2010, 6:37 AM CT

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
Eventhough acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is relatively rare in children, drinking alcohol during pregnancy could increase the risk, as per a recent paper published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Julie Ross, Ph.D., director of the division of pediatric epidemiology and clinical research at the University of Minnesota, said there are about 700 cases of AML in the United States in children each year.

"It's quite rare, so we want to be careful about worrying parents too much," said Ross, who was not involved in the study, but is an editorial board member of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention

Ross and the lead researcher of this study, Paule Latino-Martel, Ph.D., research director at the Research Center for Human Nutrition in France, agreed that these findings should strengthen the public health recommendation against alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

"Despite the current recommendation that pregnant women should not drink alcohol during pregnancy, alcohol consumption during pregnancy is 12 percent in the United States, 30 percent in Sweden, 52 percent in France, 59 percent in Australia and 60 percent in Russia," said Latino-Martel.

Latino-Martel and his colleagues analyzed 21 case control studies. Alcohol intake during pregnancy, defined as a response to a yes or no question, was linked to a 56 percent increased risk of AML in children. The risk of AML was higher in children aged 0 to 4 years old at diagnosis. There was no significant association with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


April 1, 2010, 6:43 AM CT

Perception of poor sleep may predict postpartum mood

Perception of poor sleep may predict postpartum mood
A study of healthy new mothers in the April 1 issue of the journal Sleep observed that the perception of poor sleep and the conscious awareness of its impact on daytime functioning might be stronger predictors of immediate postpartum mood disturbances than actual sleep quality and quantity.

Results indicate that both objective and subjective nighttime sleep significantly worsened with decreased total sleep time and sleep efficiency after giving birth. However, variables correlation to the subjective perception of sleep and sleep-related daytime dysfunction were stronger predictors of postpartum mood. After giving birth, subjective total sleep time at night fell from 437 minutes to 348 minutes, and mean subjective sleep efficiency decreased from 79 percent to 66 percent. Seventeen participants (46 percent) experienced some deterioration of mood after delivery.

Main author Bei Bei, DPsych, clinical psychology expert at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia, said that while pregnancy is a joyous and exciting time, it also exposes women to a number of stressors, including disturbed sleep.

"We were surprised that while objective sleep was not irrelevant, subjective perception of sleep shared a much stronger relationship with mood," said Bei. "Women who are concerned about their sleep and/or mood should speak to health care professionals about cognitive-behavioral treatment, which is effective for improving both sleep and mood".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 17, 2010, 7:45 PM CT

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring

Stress during pregnancy and asthma in offspring
Stress during pregnancy may raise the risk of asthma in offspring, as per scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. The scientists investigated differences in immune function markers in cord blood between infants born to mothers in high stress environments and those born to mothers with lower stress and found marked differences in patterns that appears to be linked to asthma risk during the later part of life.

"This is the first study in humans to show that increased stress experienced during pregnancy in these urban, largely minority women, is linked to different patterns of cord blood cytokine production to various environmental stimuli, relative to babies born to lower-stressed mothers," said Rosalind Wright, M.D., M.P.H., associate doctor at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The findings have been published online ahead of print publication in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

Asthma is known to be more prevalent among ethnic minorities and among disadvantaged urban communities, but the disparity is not completely explained by known physical factors. Urban women living in the inner-city also experience significant stress, especially minority women.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 10, 2010, 8:21 AM CT

Elective removal of ovaries during hysterectomy

Elective removal of ovaries during hysterectomy
Removal of the ovaries (bilateral oophorectomy) while performing a hysterectomy is common practice to prevent the subsequent development of ovary cancer. This prophylactic procedure is performed in 55% of all U.S. women having a hysterectomy, or approximately 300,000 times each year. An article in the March/recent issue of The Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology suggests that this procedure may do more harm than good.

William H. Parker, MD, John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center, Santa Monica, CA, provides a comprehensive analysis of the medical literature relating to the benefit of oophorectomy at the time of hysterectomy. His investigation includes studies of post-hysterectomy cancer incidence, all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and hip fractures, coronary artery disease, and many other conditions. He concludes that, on balance, removal of the ovaries is not generally warranted for all women undergoing hysterectomy. In women not at high risk for development of ovarian or breast cancer, removing the ovaries at the time of hysterectomy should be approached with caution.

Dr. Parker states, "Presently, findings based on observation suggest that bilateral oophorectomy may do more harm than good. Given that 300 000 U.S. women a year undergo elective oophorectomy, the findings of increased long-term risks have important public health implicationsPrudence suggests that a detailed informed consent process covering the risks and benefits of oophorectomy and ovarian conservation should be conducted with women faced with this important decision."........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


March 9, 2010, 8:26 AM CT

Exposure to BPA may cause permanent fertility defects

Exposure to BPA may cause permanent fertility defects
Scientists at Yale School of Medicine have discovered that exposure during pregnancy to Bisphenol A (BPA), a common component of plastics, causes permanent abnormalities in the uterus of offspring, including alteration in their DNA. The findings were published in the recent issue of Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB J.).

Led by Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at Yale, the study is the first to show that BPA exposure permanently affects sensitivity to estrogen.

Taylor and his team used two groups of mice, one exposed to BPA as a fetus during pregnancy and another exposed to a placebo. They examined gene expression and the amount of DNA modification in the uterus. They observed that the mice exposed to BPA as a fetus had an exaggerated response to estrogens as adults, long after the exposure to BPA. The genes were permanently programmed to respond excessively to estrogen.

"The DNA in the uterus was modified by loss of methyl groups so that it responded abnormally in adulthood," said Taylor. "The gene expression waccording tomanently epigenetically altered and the uterus became hyper-responsive to estrogens."

Taylor said that exposure to BPA as a fetus is carried throughout adulthood. "What our mothers were exposed to in pregnancy may influence the rest of our lives. We need to better identify the effect of environmental contaminants on not just crude measures such as birth defects, but also their effect in causing more subtle developmental errors".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 18, 2010, 9:54 PM CT

Depression in Low-income Urban Mothers

Depression in Low-income Urban Mothers
More than half of low-income urban mothers met the criteria for a diagnosis of depression at some point between two weeks and 14 months after giving birth, as per a research studyled by University of Rochester Medical Center scientists and published online by the journal Pediatrics.

This is the first study to describe the prevalence of depression among low-income urban mothers, who were attending well-child care visits, through the use of a diagnostic interview. It also is the first study of this population group to test the accuracy of three depression screening tools routinely used by physicians.

The screening tools have high accuracy in identifying depression, the scientists concluded, but cutoff scores may need to be altered to identify depression more accurately among low-income urban mothers.

The study involved 198 mothers who were 18 years of age or older and whose children were no older than 14 months. The mothers attended well-child visits at the outpatient pediatric clinic at Golisano Children's Hospital at the Medical Center.

The scientists observed that 56 percent of the mothers, after a diagnostic interview, met the criteria for a diagnosis of a major or minor depressive disorder.

"This is an unexpected, very high proportion to meet diagnostic criteria for depression," said Linda H. Chaudron, M.D., associate professor of Psychology, Pediatrics and of Obstetrics and Gynecology. "This appears to be a group at high risk for depression. The message of this study is that pediatricians and other clinicians who work with low-income urban mothers have multiple screening tools that are easy to use and accurate. These tools can help clinicians identify mothers with depression so they can be referred for help".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 8:04 AM CT

Stillbirth in women with fibroids

Stillbirth in women with fibroids
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting , in Chicago, scientists will unveil findings that show that there is an increased risk of intrauterine fetal death (IUFD), usually known as stillbirth, in women who have fibroids.

IUFD, or still birth, is rare and affects only six to seven out of every thousand births.

The study, conducted by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., identified women who had fibroids detected during their routine second trimester ultrasound for anatomic survey at 16-22 weeks.

"Fibroids are very common," said Dr. Molly J. Stout, one of the study's authors. "We think they occur in 5% to 20% of all women, but most women are asymptomatic and don't even know they have them".

The study was a retrospective cohort study of 64,047 women. Data were extracted on maternal sociodemographics, medical history, and obstetric outcomes. Pregnancies with any fetal anomalies were excluded. Women with at least one fibroid detected at the time of fetal anatomic survey were in comparison to women without fibroids. The primary outcome was IUFD after 20 weeks gestation. Univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the risk of IUFD in women with fibroids, and subgroup was conducted by presence or absence of fetal growth restriction (IUGR).........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 8, 2010, 7:56 AM CT

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma

Estrogen-only HRT may increase risk of asthma
Oestrogen-only hormone replacement treatment (HRT) may increase the risk of developing asthma after the menopause, suggests a large scale study published ahead of print in the journal Thorax

The authors base their findings on 57, 664 women, who were quizzed about their use of HRT and development of asthma symptoms every two years between 1990 and 2002.

All the women were taking part in the French E3N study, which includes almost 100, 000 women born between 1925 and 1950, and is the French component of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

None of these women had asthma when menopausal symptoms began.

The monitoring period equated to 495,448 person years in all, of which over a third was accounted for by women who had not used HRT (35.7%).

Prior users made up 4.5% while information on how long HRT was used was not known for a further 4%. Of the remainder, just under 56% were recent users of HRT.

Between 1990 and 2002, 569 women were newly diagnosed with asthma, corresponding to a rate of 1.15 cases per 1000 women a year.

Compared with women who had never used any form of HRT, those who did use it were 21% more likely to develop asthma, after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Read more         Source


February 4, 2010, 8:11 AM CT

Mother's exposure to bisphenol

Mother's exposure to bisphenol
For years, researchers have warned of the possible negative health effects of bisphenol A, a chemical used to make everything from plastic water bottles and food packaging to sunglasses and CDs. Studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive disorders, obesity, abnormal brain development as well as breast and prostate cancers, and in January the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was concerned about "the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children".

Now, mouse experiments by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston scientists have produced evidence that a mother's exposure to BPA may also increase the odds that her children will develop asthma. Using a well-established mouse model for asthma, the researchers observed that the offspring of female mice exposed to BPA showed significant signs of the disorder, unlike those of mice shielded from BPA.

"We gave BPA in drinking water starting a week before pregnancy, at levels calculated to produce a body concentration that was the same as that in a human mother, and continued on through the pregnancy and lactation periods," said UTMB associate professor Terumi Midoro-Horiuti, main author of a paper on the study appearing in the recent issue of Environmental Health Perspectives........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


February 4, 2010, 7:42 AM CT

Waiting for birth or inducing

Waiting for birth or inducing
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting , in Chicago, scientists will unveil findings that show that waiting for birth is as effective as inducing labor in cases of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Intrauterine growth restriction means that the fetus is substantially smaller than normal. The condition affects about 10% of pregnant women.

At birth the babies are more likely to have low blood sugar, trouble maintaining their body temperature, and an abnormally high red blood cell count. They're also prone to jaundice, infections, and Cerebral Palsy. During the later part of life growth restricted babies appears to be prone to executive and behavioral disorders, obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Because of lack of evidence, obstetricians follow two main policies for pregnancies with suspected fetal growth restriction at term. Some doctors may induce labor out of concern for complications, while others will await spontaneous delivery to prevent higher operative delivery rates. Scientists in the obstetric research consortium in the Netherlands conducted a randomized controlled trial of 650 women in 52 hospitals to compare both strategies.........

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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