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November 29, 2006, 9:33 PM CT

preserve fertility after cancer

preserve fertility after cancer
The Center for Reproductive Research at Northwestern University is launching a new, experimental research program for young women who may be at risk to lose their ovarian function and fertility following therapy for cancer.

The program, in which a woman's ovary is removed and frozen for possible future use, is being led by Teresa Woodruff, Ph.D., associate director of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and executive director of the Institute for Women's Health Research at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. The long-term goal of the program is to be able to extract and mature eggs from cryopreserved (frozen) ovarian tissues to initiate pregnancies once cancer therapy has been completed.

"This breakthrough may permit not only the potential preservation of fertility options for women and girls with cancer, but also can be applied to normal in vitro fertilization patients. This procedure, when developed, could radically change the way infertility is viewed, reduce and eliminate embryo storage and provide better options for women who do not respond to hormonal treatment, " said Woodruff.

In recognition of the Cancer Center's commitment to providing fertility options to women and men with cancer, it has been recognized as a Fertile Hope Center of Excellence, the fifth medical center in the country to receive this designation. Fertile Hope is a non-profit organization that assists cancer patients faced with infertility.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:50 AM CT

HPV Test Is A Better Long-term Predictor

HPV Test Is A Better Long-term Predictor HPV Virus
The best initial cervical cancer screening tool for younger women is still the traditional Pap smear. However, a large Danish study has observed that for older women (age 40 and older), a test for human papillomavirus (HPV) is a much more effective way to screen for potential cancer.

The reason, report scientists in the November 1 issue of Cancer Research, is that HPV infection is both frequent and transient in younger women, and they would often test positive for HPV when no actual risk of cervical cancer existed. But, in older women, HPV infection is rarer and more persistent, putting a woman at substantial risk for the disease before changes in cervical cells, detected by Pap smears, are obvious.

"We have documented that a single HPV test can actually predict older women at risk for cervical cancer better than a single Pap smear can," said the study's senior author, Susanne Krüger Kjaer, M.D., professor and head of the Department of Virus, Hormones and Cancer at the Danish Cancer Society.

The scientists specifically observed that the absolute risk of developing cervical cancer in an older woman who tests positive for HPV is greater than 20 percent within a 10-year period. They also note that most women who test positive for HPV also test negative on a Pap smear given at the same time.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


November 1, 2006, 4:08 AM CT

Amniocentesis Safe For Pregnant Women

Amniocentesis Safe For Pregnant Women
Amniocentesis is the most usually prescribed invasive test performed during pregnancies in the United States. Most women fear them while doctors recommend them based on guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. These guidelines stem from past research studies and recommendations by the CDC that were based only on maternal age. Studies that are decades old have suggested that amniocentesis increases the rate of miscarriage by 0.5% or 1 in 200 pregnancies. However, scientists at Mount School of Medicine in conjunction with other institutions involved in the First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk for Aneuploidy trial (FASTER trial) have just published in the recent issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, that pregnancy miscarriage rates after routine midtrimester amniocentesis are significantly lower than rates previously published years ago in the 1970s and 1980s. This study reports that the amniocentesis procedure- related loss risk is approximately 1 in 1,600 pregnancies.

Lead author of the study, "Pregnancy Loss Rates After Midtrimester Amniocentis", Dr. Keith E. Eddleman, MD, Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine has observed that this new study now refutes the typically quoted 0.5% pregnancy loss rate and suggests it may be even lower than 0.1%."Women should be counseled that this older loss rate is archaic and their decision about whether or not to have an amniocentesis should be based on contemporary information about miscarriage rates with newer screening techniques, rather than just relying on general age based risks," said Eddleman. "This new research breakthrough will have a significant effect on how women are counseled about amniocentesis by their doctors and the information they have when deciding about screening for their unborn child."........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 25, 2006, 4:47 AM CT

Twins More Likely To Have Premature Menopause

Twins More Likely To Have Premature Menopause
Twins are more likely to have a premature menopause than other women, as per research published on line today (Wednesday 25 October) in Europe's leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction[1].

In a study of more than 800 Australian and UK twin pairs, lead by Dr Roger Gosden, Professor of Reproductive Biology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York, premature ovarian failure was between three and five times greater when measured at age 40 and age 45 than in the general population. Ovarian failure before the age of 40 normally affects only around one woman in a hundred.

The finding applied whether or not the twins were identical (monozygotic) or non-identical (dizygotic). It confirms tentative prior data on premature ovarian failure (POF) in non-identical twins, but it is the first time it has been established in identical twins as well.

However, there were twins in the study where the menopausal ages were very different - a disparity of more than 20 years in a few cases. It was disparity in menopausal ages among twins that led to this study. First, it was prompted by the recent case of ovarian transplantation between 24-year-old identical twins at the Infertility Center in St. Louis carried out by this study's co-author Dr Sherman Silber. One twin had undergone unexplained POF at age 14, but this was reversed through ovarian tissue transplantation from her sister, and she later conceived. Subsequently, several more identical twin pairs came forward for possible therapy and the scientists received anecdotal information about other cases of disparity in menopausal ages among twins.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 19, 2006, 8:53 PM CT

Labor Induction Increases Risk Of Amniotic-fluid Embollism

Labor Induction Increases Risk Of Amniotic-fluid Embollism
A Canadian population-based cohort study has revealed that medical induction of labour increases the risk of amniotic-fluid embolism. The study was led by Dr. Michael Kramer, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Senior Investigator from McGill University, and would be reported in the October 21st issue of The Lancet.

Amniotic-fluid embolism (AFE) is a rare, but serious and even fatal maternal complication of delivery. While its cause is unknown, it is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in developed countries, accounting for seven of 44 direct maternal deaths in Canada in the period 1997-2000.

This population-based study examined the association of AFE and medical induction of labour in a cohort of three million hospital births in Canada, for the twelve fiscal years 1991-2002.

"AFE remains a rare occurrence," said Dr. Michael Kramer, principal investigator of the study and Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health. "Of the 180 cases of AFE we found, 24 or 13% were fatal. AFE arose almost twice as frequently in women who had medical induction of labour as in those who did not; fatal cases arose 3 times more frequently".

"Dr. Kramer's research has resulted in a discovery that will benefit physicians who look after pregnant women as they will now be aware of this potential complication should they induce labour", said Dr. Joseph Shuster, Interim Scientific Director of the MUHC. "This is an example of how academic university teaching hospitals improve the quality of patient care".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 19, 2006, 8:42 PM CT

In Early Embryos, Cilia Get The Message

In Early Embryos, Cilia Get The Message
Having your heart in the right place commonly means having it located on the left side of your body. But just how a perfectly symmetrical embryo settles on what's right and what's left has fascinated developmental biologists for a long time. The turning point came when the rotational beating of cilia, hair-like structures found on most cells, was identified as essential to the process.

Now, researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies take a step back and illuminate the molecular process that regulates formation of cilia in early fish embryos. As per a research findings published in a forthcoming issue of Nature Genetics, the Salk team, led by Juan Carlos Izpisa Belmonte, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory, identified a novel factor that links early developmental signals with the function of cilia and their role in controlling left-right specification in zebrafish.

"When we altered the function of the gene duboraya, we saw problems with cilia formation, eventhough the gene product itself is not a part of the structure. This opens up a new area of research," says Belmonte.

Cilia have been known to cell biologists for over a hundred years. Belmonte is convinced that these humble structures, which have until recently been ignored by physiologists and molecular biologists alike, are poised to take center stage in the field of biology. Explains Belmonte: "When you impair the function of cilia or the flow of cilia, you create substantial problems throughout the body."........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 17, 2006, 9:26 PM CT

Childhood Cancer Survivors May Have Low Birth Weight Children

Childhood Cancer Survivors May Have Low Birth Weight Children
Female childhood cancer survivors may face pregnancy problems, including early deliveries and low birth weight children, as per a research studyin the October 19 Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

New therapies for childhood cancer patients have increased survival, but a number of researchers are concerned about the long-term effects of the therapys, especially for patients exposed to radiation and chemotherapy.

Lisa B. Signorello, Sc.D., of the International Epidemiology Institute in Rockville, Md., and his colleagues assessed the records of 1,264 female participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study and their 2,201 children. They compared them with 601 cancer-free siblings of survivors and their 1,175 children. The authors assessed possible long-term effects from therapy, such as preterm births, low birth weight, and having babies who were small for their gestational age.

The authors observed that survivors' children were more likely than those of siblings to be born early or underweight. The risk was highest when a survivor had their uterus exposed to pelvic radiation as a child.

"Radiotherapy to the pelvis may raise the risks of both preterm birth and restricted fetal growth," they write.

In an accompanying editorial, Leslie Schover, Ph.D., of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, discusses the study and the overall interest in preserving fertility for childhood cancer survivors. "Given the complex terrain our young survivors need to traverse, we should design patient and professional education materials that map out the paths to making informed decisions".........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 16, 2006, 9:51 PM CT

Women On Hormone Therapy

Women On Hormone Therapy
Older women on hormone treatment are more sensitive to negative events, confirming speculation that age-related estrogen loss affects the brain's ability to process emotion, an Oregon Health & Science University study shows.

But that sensitivity to negative emotional events, such as viewing a photograph of a dead person, doesn't necessarily mean women taking estrogen remember those events any better.

In the study by scientists in the Cognition & Aging Laboratory at the OHSU School of Medicine's Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, hormone treatment in women appears to reverse the age-related loss of arousal to negative emotional events experienced by the elderly. It also points to specific changes in the brain's arousal system, in the regions that process emotion, and intensification of negative emotions.

The results were presented today at Neuroscience 2006, the Society for Neuroscience's 36th annual meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.

Researchers have suspected a link between sex hormones and emotion. Strengthening this theory is the fact that brain regions tuned for processing emotion and storing emotional memory - the amygdala and hippocampus - also respond to sex hormones and contain hormone receptors. Thus, changes in "emotional enhancement" people experience as they age, including a reduction in the ability to remember negative events, may be modified by age-related loss of sex hormones or hormone treatment.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 12, 2006, 10:20 PM CT

Down Syndrome: Not Just The Age Factor

Down Syndrome: Not Just The Age Factor
Whether or not a pregnant woman will give birth to a child with Down Syndrome is not simply a matter of how old she is. Eventhough it is a fact that as women get older, they are more likely to have a child with Down Syndrome, other factors also play a role. As per Markus Neuhäuser and Sven Krackow, from the Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology at University Hospital Essen, in Gera number of, the risk of a child being born with Down Syndrome is also dependent on how a number of existing siblings the child has and how big the gap is between the child and his immediate preceding sibling. The research is published in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften this week.

Neuhäuser and Krackow evaluated and analysed data from 1953 and 1972 (before abortion was widespread). They observed that other factors, besides the mother's increasing age, were associated with the number of Down Syndrome cases. Down Syndrome rates were significantly higher in older mothers in their first pregnancy than in older mothers who had already had children. Only late first pregnancies were more likely to produce a Down Syndrome baby, not late second or third pregnancies. In addition, the larger the gap between pregnancies, the higher the rates of Down Syndrome.

Down Syndrome is the result of the genetic abnormality trisomy 21. Trisomy has been the focus of extensive medical research but the exact mechanism is not yet understood. One feature common to most trisomies is an increase in frequency of trisomic pregnancies with increasing maternal age. There is good evidence for uterine selection against genetically disadvantaged embryos. However, as women approach the menopause and the risk of future infertility increases, this selection, or filtering stringency, is expected to relax.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


October 6, 2006, 4:48 AM CT

Babies With Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension

Babies With Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Dr. Stephen M. Black
If he can figure out which babies will be born unable to breathe properly, Dr. Stephen M. Black thinks he can help change that.

"When these kids are born, you have a short amount of time to intervene or you get brain damage," says Dr. Black, cell and molecular physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia Vascular Biology Center.

Unfortunately, persistent pulmonary high blood pressure comes as a surprise in full-term babies, says Dr. Jatinder J.S. Bhatia, chief of the MCG Section of Neonatology. The pregnancy seems uneventful until the hours following birth when breathing trouble requires rapid transport to a neonatal intensive care unit.

"What happens in utero is that all your gas exchange is through the placenta, so there is only about 8 percent of cardiac output actually going through the lungs," says Dr. Black. "When you are born, obviously there is 100 cardiac output and you need to breathe".

When babies can't breathe well, physicians quickly determine whether the primary problem is the heart or lungs, Dr. Bhatia says. When it's the lungs, babies first get oxygen treatment and possibly mechanical ventilation. If it is pulmonary hypertension, the powerful vasodilator, nitric oxide, is used to reduce high pressures in the pulmonary circuit and allow the transition to a normal circulation. Neonatologists also have begun using the popular erectile dysfunction drug, Viagra, to dilate tiny pulmonary vessels.........

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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