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November 2, 2009, 11:35 PM CT

Flu vaccine to women during pregnancy

Flu vaccine to women during pregnancy
Infants born to women who received influenza vaccine during pregnancy were hospitalized at a lower rate than infants born to unvaccinated mothers, as per preliminary results of a research study that's ongoing by scientists at Yale School of Medicine. The team presented the study October 29 at the 47th annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in Philadelphia.

Influenza is a major cause of serious respiratory disease in pregnant women and of hospitalization in infants. Eventhough the flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women and children, no vaccine is approved for infants less than six months of age. Preventive strategies for this age group include general infection control and vaccination of those coming in close contact with them. Few studies have examined the effectiveness of the flu vaccine during pregnancy.

Led by Marietta Vzquez, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine, this newly released study is a case-control trial of the effectiveness of vaccinating pregnant women to prevent hospitalization of their infants. During nine flu seasons from 2000 to 2009, Vzquez and his colleagues identified and tracked over 350 mothers and infants from 0 to 12 months of age who were hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital. They compared 157 infants hospitalized due to influenza to 230 influenza-negative infants matched by age and date of hospitalization. The team interviewed parents to determine risk factors for influenza and evaluated medical records of both infants and their mothers to determine rates of vaccination with the influenza vaccine.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 29, 2009, 10:04 PM CT

Pregnant women using psychiatric medications

Pregnant women using psychiatric medications
The odds triple for premature child delivery pregnant women with a history of depression who used psychiatric medication, as per a newly released study.

Scientists at the University of Washington, University of Michigan and Michigan State University observed that a combination of medicine use and depression either before or during pregnancy was strongly associated with delivery before 35 weeks' gestation.

Amelia Gavin, main author and UW assistant professor of social work, said the findings highlight the need for carefully planned studies that can clarify associations between depression, psychiatric medications and preterm delivery.

"Women with depression face difficult decisions regarding the benefits and risks of using psychotropic medications in pregnancy," Gavin said. "Therefore, a focus on disentangling medicine effects and depression effects on mother and offspring health should be a major clinical priority".

"Medication use appears to be an indicator of depressive symptom severity, which is a direct or indirect contributing factor to pre-term delivery," added Kristine Siefert, co-author and a Michigan professor of social work.

Most physicians initiated preterm deliveries after the women suffered complications, such as pre-eclampsia, poor fetal growth or acute hemorrhage.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 29, 2009, 7:21 AM CT

Hormone replacement therapy decreases mortality in some women

Hormone replacement therapy decreases mortality in some women
Hormone replacement treatment (HRT) to treat menopausal estrogen deficiency has been in widespread use for over 60 years. Several findings based on observation over the years showed that HRT use by younger postmenopausal women was linked to a significant reduction in total mortality; available evidence supported the routine use of HRT to increase longevity in postmenopausal women. However, the 2002 publication of a major study, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), indicated increased risk for certain outcomes in older women, without increasing mortality. This sparked debate regarding potential benefits or harm of HRT. In an article reported in the November 2009 issue of The American Journal of Medicine, scientists conducted a meta-analysis of the available data using Bayesian methods and concluded that HRT almost certainly decreases mortality in younger postmenopausal women.

Bayesian analysis uses previous data, updated with new information, to make statistical inferences. The authors pooled results from 19 randomized trials that included age-specific data from the WHI, with 16,000 younger postmenopausal women (mean age 55 years) followed for 83,000 patient-years, and showed a mortality relative risk of 0.73. When data from 8 findings based on observation were added to the analysis, the resultant relative risk was 0.72. Using Bayesian analysis to synthesize the available data, the probability of a mortality benefit in this population was 1.0. This means that the probability of the hypothesis that hormone treatment reduces total mortality in younger women is essentially 1.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 28, 2009, 6:31 AM CT

Vegetables can protect unborn child against diabetes

Vegetables can protect unborn child against diabetes
New evidence is emerging for how important it is for pregnant women to eat good, nutritious food. Expecting mothers who eat vegetables every day seem to have children who are less likely to develop type 1 diabetes, a newly released study from the Sahlgrenska Academy has revealed.

The study waccording toformed in collaboration with Linkoping University, which is conducting a population study called ABIS (All Babies in Southeast Sweden). The results have been reported in the journal Pediatric Diabetes.

"This is the first study to show a link between vegetable intake during pregnancy and the risk of the child subsequently developing type 1 diabetes, but more studies of various kinds will be needed before we can say anything definitive," says researcher and clinical nutritionist Hilde Brekke from the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Blood samples from almost 6,000 five year-olds were analysed in the study. In type 1 diabetes, certain cells in the pancreas gradually get worse at producing insulin, leading to insulin deficiency. Children at risk of developing type 1 diabetes have antibodies in their blood which attack these insulin-producing cells.

Of the 6,000 children tested, three per cent had either elevated levels of these antibodies or fully developed type 1 diabetes at the age of five. These risk markers were up to twice as common in children whose mothers rarely ate vegetables during pregnancy. The risk was lowest among children whose mothers stated that they ate vegetables every day.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


October 1, 2009, 6:48 AM CT

Smoking during pregnancy is risky

Smoking during pregnancy is risky
Mothers who smoke during pregnancy put their children at greater risk of developing psychotic symptoms in their teenage years.

New research reported in the recent issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry shows a link between maternal tobacco use and psychotic symptoms.

Scientists from Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham and Warwick Universities studied 6,356 12-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All the children completed an interview for psychotic-like symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Just over 11% of the children (734) had suspected or definite symptoms of psychosis.

Smoking during pregnancy was found to be linked to an increased risk of psychotic symptoms in the children. The scientists observed a 'dose-response effect', meaning that the risk of psychotic symptoms was highest in the children whose mothers smoked the most heavily during pregnancy.

The study also examined whether alcohol use and cannabis use during pregnancy was linked to a higher risk of psychotic symptoms.

Drinking during pregnancy was linked to increased psychotic symptoms, but only in the children of mothers who had drunk more than 21 units of alcohol a week in early pregnancy. Only a few mothers in the study said they had smoked cannabis during pregnancy, and this was not found to have any significant association with psychotic symptoms.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 24, 2009, 7:14 AM CT

Pregnant women need flu shots

Pregnant women need flu shots
Pregnant women should be sure to get all their flu shots as soon as the vaccines become available this year to protect them against both the seasonal flu and the H1N1 (swine) flu, as per eight leading national maternal and infant health organizations.

The eight organizations the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, the Infectious Disease Society for Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine today partnered to issue a joint statement because the H1N1 virus has proven to be particularly dangerous to pregnant women.

"The normal changes of pregnancy make pregnant women at increased risk of the harmful effects of flu infection," the groups say.

Some pregnant women appears to be reluctant to take these shots. But Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes, says, "We urge every pregnant woman to discuss influenza immunization with her health care provider because the risk of serious illness during pregnancy is substantial. It is important to note that the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 23, 2009, 7:15 AM CT

Childbearing Increases Chance of Developing the Metabolic Syndrome

Childbearing Increases Chance of Developing the Metabolic Syndrome
Childbearing is associated directly with future development of the metabolic syndrome - abdominal obesity, high triglycerides, insulin resistance and other cardiovascular disease risk factors - and for women who have had gestational diabetes, the risk is more than twice greater, as per a co-author of studyed by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) scientists reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

UAB Professor of Preventive Medicine Cora E. Lewis, M.D., M.S.P.H., and his colleagues used data collected in the CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) study to determine the connection between a higher occurence rate of the metabolic syndrome among women ages 18-30 at the start of the study who bore at least one child during the 20-year period following.

"Pregnancy can have lasting, adverse physiological effects and may result in behavioral changes," Lewis said. "Some prior studies have shown an association between childbearing and the metabolic syndrome, and some have shown that a history of gestational diabetes is a strong predictor of Type 2 diabetes.

"However, these studies lacked the preconception measurements to establish a baseline with which to measure the changes brought on by pregnancy," she said. "A number of have not had control groups of women who had not had pregnancies, and thus they have rarely provided conclusive evidence linking pregnancy-related risk factor changes to disease onset. CARDIA began following participants ages 18-30 years in 1985-1986 and continues today, and we had the necessary information to track women both before and after pregnancy and to compare women with pregnancies to those without".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 20, 2009, 6:56 PM CT

Key factor in regulating placenta and fetal growth

Key factor in regulating placenta and fetal growth
Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have shown that a common biological protein molecule called SHP-2 is crucial for encouraging placenta growth. The research is published recently in Endocrinology

Dr Melissa Westwood, one of the team at the University of Manchester said: "For fetuses to grow well in the womb they need to get nutrients and oxygen from their mother. These come via the placenta and so as the fetus grows and its demand on mum increases, the placenta also must increase in size. If the placenta doesn't grow properly, the fetus is unable to receive all it needs from the mother and its growth is restricted. This can impact seriously on the health of the newborn. Furthermore we have learned recently that it dramatically increases the risk of ill health in adult life".

The scientists have investigated a group of proteins called the insulin-like growth factors (IGF). They have discovered that SHP-2, a molecule within placental cells, is a crucial mediator of the effects of IGFs in stimulating the placenta to grow.

Dr Westwood continued: "We know that placentas need an array of factors to support their growth, but until now we didn't realise that SHP-2 was so important for ensuring that these factors do their job.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 20, 2009, 6:40 AM CT

Women with abnormal paps

Women with abnormal paps
Less than half of Ontario women with abnormal Pap tests receive recommended and potentially life-saving follow-up care, as per a new women's health study by scientists at St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). What's more, low-income women are less likely to be screened for cancer in comparison to their high-income counterparts.

"Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, yet in Ontario more than one million women have not been screened, and a disproportionate number of these are women living in lower-income communities," says Dr. Arlene Bierman, a doctor at St. Michael's Hospital and principal investigator of the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report (POWER). "We need to make special efforts to reach women who are screened, but do not receive the necessary follow-up and may eventually fall through the cracks. To improve surveillance and therapy, we need a system that ensures all abnormal Pap tests are followed-up so that Ontario women can receive the best care possible," added Dr. Bierman, a researcher at ICES.

The joint study titled POWER (the Project for an Ontario Women's Health Evidence-Based Report), from St. Michael's Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), is the first in the province to provide a comprehensive overview of women's health in relation to gender, income, education, ethnicity and geography. The findings are detailed in the report titled Cancer the second to be released this year as part of the study. Findings can be used by policymakers and health-care providers to improve access, quality and outcomes of care for Ontario women. Dr. Monika Krzyzanowska, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital/University Health Network is the main author on the cancer chapter. The POWER Study is funded by Echo: Improving Women's Health in Ontario, an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 2, 2009, 11:00 PM CT

Gas gauge to prevent pregnancy loss

Gas gauge to prevent pregnancy loss
New Haven, Conn. To combat the a number of fetal deaths that occur annually because the placenta is too small, scientists at Yale School of Medicine have developed a method to measure the volume of the placenta, which provides nourishment to the fetus.

Limits in current technology keep doctors from being able to monitor the growth of the placenta, which, like the gas tank of a car, is the source of fuel for the fetus. The placenta can be so small that the fetus literally runs out of food and oxygen and dies, as per main author Harvey J. Kliman, M.D., a research scientist in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences. He and colleagues published the results of their findings in the August 3 issue of the American Journal of Perinatology

Fetal death, or intrauterine fetal demise (IUFD), affects 30,000 women each year in the United States. Until now, there has been no easy way to determine how much gas is left in the placentas tank.

Kliman decided to study this issue after noting that a number of late-term pregnancy losses were linked to very small placentas. He theorized that in much the same way that an obstetrician uses ultrasounds to follow the growth of the fetus, or a pediatrician weighs and measures children to ensure they are growing normally, the growth of the fetus placenta could be monitored.........

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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