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September 17, 2008, 5:08 PM CT

Pelvic disorders affect large number of women

Pelvic disorders affect large number of women
Dr. Joseph Schaffer, professor of obstetrics and gynecology, participated in a national study showing that nearly one-quarter of all women suffer from pelvic-floor disorders, such as incontinence, at some point
Nearly one-quarter of all women suffer from pelvic-floor disorders, such as incontinence, at some point in their lives, a national study, including scientists from UT Southwestern Medical Center, has found.

The study of nearly 2,000 women in seven U.S. cities observed that 23.7 percent of participants had experienced at least one pelvic-floor disorder, and the risk increased with age.

"This study is the first nationwide study to confirm what we consider a high prevalence of pelvic-floor disorders in the U.S.," said Dr. Joseph Schaffer, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern and an author of the study, which appears in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Nearly a quarter of all women suffer from at least one pelvic-floor disorder, and, with the aging of the population, this will become more prevalent," he said.

The national rate of pelvic-floor disorders has not been well-studied, eventhough several regional studies have observed that almost 10 percent of women go through surgery for such conditions at some point in their lives, while one-third of those women have two or more surgeries.

The current study was designed to assess the national rate of such disorders. The participating women were interviewed in 2005 and 2006 at their homes or at a mobile interview center and did not undergo physical examination. The questions were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 10, 2008, 8:43 PM CT

Gap junction protein vital to successful pregnancy

Gap junction protein vital to successful pregnancy
Deleting the Cx43 gene in the uterus immediately after pregnancy in mice dramatically reduced blood vessel growth and in most cases prevented successful pregnancy. The image on the left shows normal blood vessel growth in the mouse uterus following pregnancy. On the right, a uterus lacking Cx43.

Credit: Photo by Mary J. Laws

Scientists studying a critical stage of pregnancy implantation of the embryo in the uterus have found a protein that is vital to the growth of new blood vessels that sustain the embryo. Without this protein, which is produced in higher quantities in the presence of estrogen, the embryo is unlikely to survive.

This is the first study to detail the mechanism by which the steroid hormone estrogen spurs cell differentiation and blood-vessel growth in the uterus during pregnancy, the scientists report.

The findings, from scientists at the University of Illinois, Emory University, Baylor College of Medicine and New York University, appear in the journal Development

Connexin 43 (Cx43) belongs to a family of proteins that form junctions between cells that regulate the flow of ions and small signaling molecules from cell to cell. At the time of embryo implantation, this gap junction protein is essential to the rapid growth of new blood vessels needed to support the development of the embryo and allow it to implant in the uterine wall, the scientists discovered.

The scientists chose to study Cx43 after analyzing genes that are activated in the presence of estrogen in uterine cells. They observed that Cx43 was prominent among the genes whose expression was increased in cells after exposure to estrogen.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 9, 2008, 8:54 PM CT

Calcium during pregnancy reduces harmful blood lead levels

Calcium during pregnancy reduces harmful blood lead levels
Pregnant women who take high levels of daily calcium supplements show a marked reduction in lead levels in their blood, suggesting calcium could play a critical role in reducing fetal and infant exposure.

A new study at the University of Michigan shows that women who take 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily have up to a 31 percent reduction in lead levels.

Women who used lead-glazed ceramics and those with high bone lead levels showed the largest reductions; the average reduction was about 11 percent, said Howard Hu, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the School of Public Health.

Hu is the principal investigator of the study and one of the senior authors on the paper, which is available online in Environmental Health Perspectives, the official journal of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Hu, who is also affiliated with the University of Michigan School of Medicine, said this is the first known randomized study examining calcium supplementation on lead levels in pregnant women.

"We and others have previously shown that during pregnancy, mothers can transfer lead from their bones to their unborn -- with significant adverse consequences--making maternal bone lead stores a threat even if current environmental lead exposures are low," Hu said. "This study demonstrates that dietary calcium supplementation during pregnancy may constitute a low-cost and low-risk approach for reducing this threat."........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 9, 2008, 8:44 PM CT

Eating fish while pregnant and longer breastfeeding

Eating fish while pregnant and longer breastfeeding
Both higher fish consumption and longer breastfeeding are associated with better physical and cognitive development in infants, as per a research studyof mothers and infants from Denmark. Maternal fish consumption and longer breastfeeding were independently beneficial.

"These results, together with findings from other studies of women in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, provide additional evidence that moderate maternal fish intake during pregnancy does not harm child development and may on balance be beneficial," said Assistant Professor Emily Oken, lead author of the study.

The study, which appeared in the recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, was conducted by scientists from the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and the Maternal Nutrition Group from the Department of Epidemiology at Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, Denmark. These findings provide further evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and compounds in breast milk are beneficial to infant development.

The study team looked at 25,446 children born to mothers participating in the Danish Birth Cohort, a study that includes pregnant women enrolled from 1997-2002. Mothers were interviewed about child development markers at 6 and 18 months postpartum and asked about their breastfeeding at 6 months postpartum. Prenatal diet, including amounts and types of fish consumed weekly, was assessed by a detailed food frequency questionnaire administered when they were six months pregnant.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


September 3, 2008, 6:55 PM CT

Natural childbirth makes mothers more responsive to own baby-cry

Natural childbirth makes mothers more responsive to own baby-cry
A new study has observed that mothers who delivered vaginally in comparison to caesarean section delivery (CSD) were significantly more responsive to the cry of their own baby, identified through MRI brain scans two to four weeks after delivery.

The results of the study, would be published recently in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggest that vaginal delivery (VD) mothers are more sensitive to own baby-cry in the regions of the brain that are believed to regulate emotions, motivation and habitual behaviours.

CSD is a surgical procedure, in which delivery occurs via incisions in the abdominal and uterine wall. It is considered necessary under some conditions to protect the health or survival of infant or mother, but it is controversially linked with postpartum depression. In the US the occurrence of CSD has increased steeply from 4.5% of all deliveries in 1965 to a recent high in 2006 of 29.1%.

The critical capacity of adults to develop the thoughts and behaviours needed for parents to care successfully for their newborn infants is supported by specific brain circuits and a range of hormones. The experience of childbirth by VD compared with CSD uniquely involves the pulsatile release of oxytocin from the posterior pituitary, uterine contractions and vagino-cervical stimulation. Oxytocin is a key mediator of maternal behaviour in animals.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 31, 2008, 8:14 PM CT

'Superbug' breast infections controllable in nursing mothers

'Superbug' breast infections controllable in nursing mothers
A number of nursing mothers who have been hospitalized for breast abscesses are afflicted with the "superbug" methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, but as per new research by UT Southwestern Medical Center physicians, conservative therapy can deal with the problem.

The study focused on hospitalized women with mastitis, and showed that MRSA was much more likely to be found in those who had both mastitis (an inflammation of the milk glands) and abscesses (pockets of infection).

"The take-home message is that a patient with mastitis does not necessarily need an antibiotic against MRSA," said Dr. George Wendel, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and senior author of the study, which appears in the recent issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. "She will improve with a less specific antibiotic as long as she also empties her breasts, either through feeding or pumping, and if there's an abscess, gets it treated".

The study also showed that if a nursing mother has an abscess, she does not immediately need antibiotics against MRSA, but can be switched to them if tests reveal she has MRSA.

The study was designed to determine which antibiotic therapy is best for severe cases of mastitis, which can be caused by clogged milk ducts with or without infection, and breast abscesses, which are caused by bacterial infections, generally by aureus. There are a number of strains of staph, one of which is MRSA.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 27, 2008, 9:13 PM CT

Pregnancy situations have impact on brain development

Pregnancy situations have impact on brain development
Brain development in infants who are born very prematurely is still incomplete. Factors that cause premature birth may have an impact on the development of the premature infant's brain both during pregnancy and later on after birth. A project conducted as part of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO) is concerned to study brain growth and development invery premature or low-weight infants.

The central nervous system in small premature infants is highly susceptible to damage as the immature organism tries to adapt to the intensive care environment following release from the intrauterine environment. Researchers working on the PIPARI project at Turku University Central Hospital have followed premature low-weight infants and investigated factors impacting the growth and development of their brain as well as their two-year prognosis from pregnancy onwards. A total of 232 pre-term infants have been followed and in comparison to 246 full-term controls. The children will be followed for a total of six years, from birth through to school age.

The results of the project indicate that the redistribution of foetal blood flow, indicative of placental insufficiency, leads to smaller brain volume in preterm infants at term equivalent age. In this situation the foetus directs a larger proportion of the blood flow to its brain.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 27, 2008, 6:56 PM CT

Factors may prevent postpartum smoking relapse

Factors may prevent postpartum smoking relapse
Eventhough a number of women quit smoking during pregnancy to protect their unborn children from the effects of cigarettes, half of them resume the habit within a few months of giving birth.

By shedding light on the factors that enable the other half to put down that cigarette for good, a study by scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill could lead to programs designed to help women quit and stay quit.

As per the study, women with a live-in partner who shared some of the burden of child-rearing were more likely to remain smoke free, while women who were single mothers or who lacked the social and financial resources to deal with being a new parent were more likely to relapse.

"In the future we can look at these and other factors in women who quit smoking during pregnancy to assess who is at low or high risk of relapse," said Carol E. Ripley-Moffitt, MDiv, research associate in UNC's department of family medicine and the study's lead author. "We can then offer more intensive interventions for those at higher risk to address the physical, behavioral and social issues correlation to relapse".

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risks of pregnancy complications, decreased birth weight and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), Ripley-Moffitt said. She noted that the past 15 years have seen a steady decrease in the number of women who smoke while pregnant, in part because of an overall decline in smoking rates among all women of childbearing age and in part because of interventions targeting women during the prenatal period.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


August 20, 2008, 1:27 AM CT

Alcohol dependence linked to delayed childbearing

Alcohol dependence linked to delayed childbearing
Alcohol use during the teen years can not only lead to subsequent alcohol problems, it can also lead to risky sexual behavior and a greater risk of early childbearing. An examination of the relationship between a lifetime history of alcohol dependence (AD) and timing of first childbirth across reproductive development has observed that AD in women is linked to delayed reproduction.

Results would be reported in the recent issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View.

"Reproductive dysfunctions include a range of menstrual disorders, sexual dysfunctions, and pregnancy complications that include spontaneous abortion or miscarriage," explained Mary Waldron, assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine and corresponding author for the study. "Teenagers who drink tend to have disruptions in their menstrual cycle as well as unplanned pregnancies."

These complications may become more pronounced with time, added Sharon C. Wilsnack, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the department of clinical neuroscience at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences. "Higher rates of reproductive dysfunction in adult women may reflect the cumulative effects of longer exposure to alcohol for older women than for female adolescents," she said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


August 18, 2008, 8:55 PM CT

Oral contraceptives may ease suffering of women with severe PMS

Oral contraceptives may ease suffering of women with severe PMS
A new clinical trial at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill using a popular low-dose contraceptive could uncover a more effective therapy for the 5 to 10 percent of women who suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

PMDD is much more severe than premenstrual syndrome, or PMS. The disorder interferes with a woman's ability to function effectively several days out of each month, every month. Physical symptoms include bloating, low energy, heart palpitations and joint or muscle pain. Far more disruptive emotional symptoms include irritability, anxiety, depression, mood swings, difficulty focusing and trouble sleeping. For a number of women with PMDD, five or more of these symptoms occur the week before menstruation starts and disappear a few days after the period begins.

The National Institute of Mental Health awarded UNC a $3 million grant for a five-year clinical trial using a low-dose contraceptive called YAZ (ethinyl estradiol/drospirenone). The trial is based on prior research by David Rubinow, M.D., the Asad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and chair of psychiatry in the UNC School of Medicine.

Rubinow discovered it is the change in not the level of reproductive hormones that triggers depression in women who are susceptible to PMDD. In other words, women with the disorder don't have abnormal levels of reproductive hormones, but are more sensitive to the shifts in them that occur previous to menstruation. That sensitivity triggers mood symptoms.........

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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