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September 27, 2006, 9:22 PM CT

Abortion Notification And Consent

Abortion Notification And Consent
Laws that require minors to notify or get the consent of one or both parents before having an abortion reduce risky sexual behavior among teens, as per a Florida State University law professor in Tallahassee, Fla.

Jonathan Klick, the Jeffrey A. Stoops Professor of Law, and Thomas Stratmann, professor of economics at George Mason University, came to that conclusion after they looked at the rates of gonorrhea among teenage girls as a measure of risky sex in connection to the parental notification or consent laws that were in effect at the time.

The scientists observed that teen gonorrhea rates dropped by an average of 20 percent for Hispanic girls and 12 percent for white girls in states where parental notification laws were in effect. The results were not statistically significant for black girls. The study will be published in an upcoming edition of The Journal of Law Economics and Organization.

"Incentives matter," Klick said. "They matter even in activities as primal as sex, and they matter even among teenagers, who are conventionally believed to be short-sighted. If the expected costs of risky sex are raised, teens will substitute less risky activities such as protected sex or abstinence."

In this case, the incentive for teens is to avoid having to tell their parents about a pregnancy by substituting less risky sex activities. In doing so, the scientists say, the rates of gonorrhea among girls under the age of 20 went down.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 23, 2006, 11:31 AM CT

Taller Women Are More Likely To Have Twins

Taller Women Are More Likely To Have Twins
Taller women are more likely to have twins according to experts. They suggest insulin-like growth factorr is responsible for this increased incedence. By comparing the heights of women who had given birth to twins or triplets with the average height of women in the United States, Gary Steinman, MD, PhD, an attending doctor at Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Center, observed that the multiple-birth mothers averaged more than an inch taller. The study was reported in the recent issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine.

"Any circumstance that affects the amount of available insulin-like growth factor so as to modify the sensitivity of the ovary to follicle-stimulating hormone appears to govern the rate of spontaneous twinning," said Dr. Steinman.

Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) is a protein that is released from the liver in response to growth hormone. It increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to follicle stimulating hormone, thereby increasing ovulation. Some studies also suggest that IGF may help embryos survive in the early stages of development.

Among its a number of effects in the body, IGF stimulates cells in the shaft of long bones to grow. Prior studies have demonstrated that people with short stature have significantly lower levels of IGF. Countries with taller women have higher rates of twinning in comparison to countries with shorter women.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 20, 2006, 10:10 PM CT

Prenatal vitamins may reduce risk of brain tumors in children

Prenatal vitamins may reduce risk of brain tumors in children
Women who take multivitamins early in pregnancy may reduce the risk that their child will develop some types of brain tumors.

Public health agencies already urge pregnant women to take multivitamins that contain folic acid early in pregnancy to reduce their fetus's risk of developing a neural tube defect such as spina bifida. "This current study suggests another possible protective effect for the vitamins," said study leader Greta R. Bunin, Ph.D., of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She added, "Children whose mothers took multivitamins close to the time of conception seemed less likely to suffer medulloblastoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain".

While childhood brain tumors are, fortunately, relatively rare, medulloblastoma is the second most common brain tumor in children. Occurring in one in 20,000 children under age six, it appears in the cerebellum, the lower portion of the brain, and the area of the brain that coordinates movement. Primitive neuroectodermal tumors of the brain (PNET) are similar to medulloblastoma but occur in other parts of the central nervous system.

Dr. Bunin led a study comparing 315 children diagnosed with those tumors before age six to 315 randomly chosen healthy children. The children with cancer, all of whom were diagnosed between 1991 and 1997, were registered in the Children's Oncology Group, a multicenter collaborative organization of pediatric cancer programs in the U.S. and Canada.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 18, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Preeclampsia and Fetal Development Problems

Preeclampsia and Fetal Development Problems
New research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill ties low levels of a hormone secreted by the uterus and embryos to problems with pregnancy and fetal development.

The findings also suggest that the hormone, adrenomedullin, plays a key role in maternal susceptibility to preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy complication that occurs in the third trimester. Preeclampsia affects roughly one in fifteen pregnant women and is the leading cause of death among expectant mothers.

The UNC scientists demonstrated that pregnant mice with low adrenomedullin levels had reduced litter sizes, and while embryos implanted normally in the uterus, their spacing was overcrowded and resulted in poor growth. Because the low hormone levels were caused by a genetic mutation affecting adrenomedullin production, similar genetic changes could be associated with problems in human pregnancy, the scientists said.

"Our study provides the first genetic evidence to suggest that a modest reduction in human adrenomedullin expression during pregnancy may cause profound defects during pregnancy," said Dr. Kathleen M. Caron, senior study author and an assistant professor in the departments of cell and molecular physiology and genetics at the UNC School of Medicine.

Among the potential problems are poor implantation of the embryo, failure of the placenta to establish blood flow between mother and fetus and restricted fetal growth, Caron said. "The clinical implications are that women who have mutations in the gene responsible for expressing adrenomedullin might have greater susceptibility to these pregnancy problems, including preeclampsia".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 10:21 PM CT

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing

Hormone-replacement therapy hurts hearing
The largest study ever to analyze the hearing of women on hormone-replacement treatment has observed that women who take the most common form of HRT have a hearing loss of 10 to 30 percent more in comparison to similar women who have not had the treatment. The results are being published on-line this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

It's as if the usual age-related hearing loss in women whose HRT included progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, was accelerated in comparison to women taking estrogen alone or women not taking HRT. On average, women who received progestin had the hearing of women five to 10 years older.

The results of the study involving 124 women confirm results from a smaller study that the same group reported in 2004 at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. The new results also identify progestin as the component of HRT doing possible damage.

"Whether a woman goes on HRT is certainly her decision, and she should discuss the options with her doctor," says senior author Robert D. Frisina, Ph.D. "In light of these findings, we feel that hearing loss should be added to the list of negative things to keep in mind when talking about HRT. Women particularly who already have a hearing problem should weigh this decision carefully. Women on HRT should consider having a thorough hearing check-up done every six months".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 5, 2006, 5:01 AM CT

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later

Drinking During Pregnancy And Alcoholism Later
Individuals whose mothers drink three or more glasses of alcohol at any one occasion in early pregnancy have an increased risk of developing alcohol disorders by 21 years of age, as per a report in the recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Exposure to maternal drinking during early childhood has been linked to difficulties in thinking, learning and memory, as well as mental and behavioral problems. However, few studies have examined the link between drinking during pregnancy and a child's later risk for alcohol dependence and other disorders, as per background information in the article. Animal studies have provided extensive evidence of a link between exposure to alcohol before birth and early acceptance of alcohol. "Similar results replicated in human studies would carry considerable implications for public health intervention," the authors write. "First, such studies would suggest that even small quantities of alcohol exposure, if consumed in a single session, may cause in utero neurodevelopmental changes that in turn may lead to the early onset of alcohol disorder in youth. Second, they would provide support for the role of a biological origin of alcohol disorders".

Rosa Alati, Ph.D., from The University of Queensland, Herston, Australia, and his colleagues explored whether maternal exposure to alcohol during pregnancy increased a child's risk of developing alcohol disorders in 2,138 participants who were followed from birth to age 21. A group of 7,223 mothers was originally interviewed at their first prenatal doctor visit, between 1981 and 1984 in Brisbane, Australia. The mothers and children were assessed at birth and again 6 months and 5, 14, and 21 years later. Before pregnancy, in early (first 18 weeks) and late (last three months) pregnancy, and when their children were age 5 and 14, the mothers were asked how often they drank alcohol and the number of drinks consumed on any one occasion. Children were reviewed for alcohol disorders at age 21.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


September 2, 2006, 9:05 PM CT

Carbon Monoxide To Help Pre-eclampsia

Carbon Monoxide To Help Pre-eclampsia
Carbon monoxide is poisonous? Scientists have shown that carbon monoxide may prevent the placental cell death caused by oxidative stress injury, possibly averting the risks of pre-eclampsia. The report by Bainbridge et al., "Carbon monoxide inhibits hypoxia/reoxygenation-induced apoptosis and secondary necrosis in syncytiotrophoblast," appears in the recent issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

Pre-eclampsia, a form of pregnancy-associated hypertension, affects 5-7% of pregnancies and poses serious risks for both mother and child. If maternal blood vessels at the placental barrier fail to remodel and adapt to the changing nutrient/oxygen needs of the growing fetus, the maternal blood pressure rises in an effort to improve nutrient delivery. This leads to oxidative stress and damage to the placenta, specifically to the syncytiotrophoblast. When syncytiotrophoblast cells die, they are released into the maternal circulation, initiating a cascade of inflammation that can damage maternal organs.

Interestingly, mothers who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy have a 33% decreased risk of developing pre-eclampsia in comparison to nonsmokers. New research questions whether the carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke, and subsequently carried in a smoking mother's blood, may be the cause. Carbon monoxide, which is produced naturally by the body at low levels, possesses vessel-relaxing and cytoprotective activities that may prevent syncytiotrophoblast cell death and the resulting injury to fetus and mother.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 31, 2006, 4:44 AM CT

Diagnostic Tests Have Low Risk Of Miscarriage

Diagnostic Tests Have Low Risk Of Miscarriage Amniocentesis
Pregnant women who seek prenatal diagnostic testing to identify genetic or chromosomal abnormalities have a lower risk of miscarriage than previously believed, as per a UCSF study.

The findings appear in the September 2006 issue of the journal "Obstetrics and Gynecology".

Two standard tests--amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS)--are common prenatal tests performed during the first and second trimester of pregnancy. Early testing using the CVS procedure has typically been thought to have a higher rate of miscarriage than amniocentesis. However, in a 20-year retrospective comparison study of the two procedures, scientists observed that the loss rates for both procedures decreased over time.

"This is a significant finding for use as information in both patient counseling and in establishing widespread prenatal diagnostic and screening programs," said co-author of study Mary E. Norton, MD, who is medical director of the Prenatal Diagnostic Center at UCSF Medical Center and associate clinical professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

Both amniocentesis and CVS are invasive diagnostic screening methods that carry a small risk of pregnancy loss. Amniocentesis requires insertion of a hollow needle through the abdominal wall and into the uterus to withdraw amniotic fluid. CVS is a biopsy procedure that involves removing a piece of tissue from the placenta. These samples are then cultured and chromosomes analyzed to determine abnormalities linked to Down syndrome and other genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and sickle cell disease.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 9:47 PM CT

Malpractice Concerns Deter Residents

Malpractice Concerns Deter Residents
The survey results were announced earlier this month at the Florida Obstetric and Gynecological Society (FOGS) annual meeting in West Palm Beach. Aaron Deutsch, MD, lead author of the study and chief resident in the USF Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, presented the findings. The paper received the 2006 first-place resident research award from FOGS.

"Florida is already a state without enough obstetrician/gynecologists to meet the needs of patients. In some parts of the state, women must wait several months to see an obstetrician, and there are no perinatologists or maternal-fetal medicine specialists to take care of high-risk pregnancies," Dr. Deutsch said. "Our findings suggest this shortage may get even worse".

The USF scientists sent surveys to all fourth-year medical students in Florida in fall 2005. The senior year is when medical students find out where they will conduct their residencies the period of specialized training for licensed medical graduates in their chosen medical field.

Florida mirrors a national trend of fewer medical students applying for ob/gyn residencies. The USF scientists hypothesized that student concerns about the rising cost of malpractice premiums and medical liability in Florida may contribute to the marked decline of students specializing in ob/gyn.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


August 29, 2006, 9:36 PM CT

Higher Risk For Cesarean

Higher Risk For Cesarean
For mothers at low risk, infant and neonatal mortality rates are higher among infants delivered by cesarean section than for those delivered vaginally in the United States, as per recent research reported in the latest issue of Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed over 5.7 million live births and nearly 12,000 infant deaths over a four-year period. In general, neonatal (<28 days of age) deaths were rare for infants of low-risk women (about 1 death per 1,000 live births). However, neonatal mortality rates among infants delivered by cesarean section were more than twice those for vaginal deliveries, even after adjustment for socio-demographic and medical risk factors.

The overall rate of babies delivered by cesarean increased by 41% between 1996 and 2004, while the rate among women with no indicated risk for cesarean delivery (term births with no indicated medical risk factors or complications of labor and delivery) nearly doubled.

"These findings should be of concern for clinicians and policy makers who are observing the rapid growth in the number of primary cesareans to mothers without a medical indication," says lead researcher Marian MacDorman. While timely cesareans in response to medical conditions have proven to be life-saving interventions for countless mothers and babies, we are currently witnessing a different phenomenon- a growing number of primary cesareans without a reported medical indication. Eventhough the neonatal mortality rate for this group of low-risk women remains low regardless of the method of delivery, the resulting increase in the cesarean rate may inadvertently be putting a larger population of babies at risk for neonatal mortality.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         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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