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January 31, 2007, 8:05 PM CT

Folic Acid May Prevent Cleft Lip And Palate

Folic Acid May Prevent Cleft Lip And Palate
A new study finds that women who take folic acid supplements early in their pregnancy can substantially reduce their baby's chances of being born with a facial cleft.

Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, observed that 0.4 milligrams (mg) a day of folic acid reduced by one third the baby's risk of isolated cleft lip (with or without cleft palate). Folic acid is a B vitamin found in leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, beans, and whole grains. It can also be taken as a vitamin supplement, and it is added to flour and other fortified foods. The recommended daily dietary allowance for folate for adults is 400 micrograms or 0.4 mg.

"These findings provide further evidence of the benefits of folic acid for women," said Allen J. Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., lead NIEHS author on the new study published online in the British Medical Journal. "We already know that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects, including spina bifida. Our research suggests that folic acid also helps prevent facial clefts, another common birth defect." In the United States, about one in every 750 babies is born with cleft lip and/or palate.

"Folic acid deficiency causes facial clefts in laboratory animals, so we had a good reason to focus on folic acid in our clefts study," said Wilcox. "It was one of our main hypotheses."........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 30, 2007, 4:47 AM CT

Vaginal Birth Increases Risk Of Brain Hemorrhage

Vaginal Birth Increases Risk Of Brain Hemorrhage
The first scientists to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brains of a large group of babies soon after birth found a small amount of bleeding in and around the brains of one in four babies who were delivered vaginally. The study appears in the recent issue of Radiology.

"Small bleeds in and around the brain are very common in infants who are born vaginally," said John H. Gilmore, M.D., professor of psychiatry and Vice-Chair for Research and Scientific Affairs at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "It seems that a normal vaginal birth can cause these small bleeds".

For the study, 88 asymptomatic infants, equally divided between male and female, underwent MRI between the ages of one and five weeks. Sixty-five had been delivered vaginally and 23 had been delivered by cesarean section. MR images showed that 17 (26 percent) of the babies who had been delivered vaginally had intracranial hemorrhages (ICH), or small bleeds in and around the brain. Seven infants had two or more types of ICH. Previous studies have shown a smaller incidence-approximately 10 percent-of intracranial hemorrhage linked to vaginal birth.

While ICH was significantly linked to vaginal birth, it was not dependent on prolonged duration of labor or on traumatic or assisted vaginal birth.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


January 10, 2007, 4:31 AM CT

Cancer-related Gene Critical For Placenta Development

Cancer-related Gene Critical For Placenta Development
An important cancer-related gene may play a critical role in the development of the placenta, the organ that controls nutrient and oxygen exchange between a mother and her fetus during pregnancy, and perhaps in miscarriages.

Those conclusions come from a new study of the retinoblastoma (Rb) gene in mice. In humans, this gene, when mutated, raises the risk of a rare cancer of the eye called retinoblastoma. Two decades ago, it was identified as the first tumor-suppressor gene, a class of genes that protects cells from becoming cancerous. It has since been shown to be inactivated in many cancers.

In this study, researchers shut off the Rb gene in stem cells that give rise to most of the placenta, resulting in an abnormal placenta and death of the embryos.

The findings provide new insights into development of the placenta and into how the Rb gene blocks tumor growth.

They also raise the possibility that this important tumor-suppressor gene might play a role in miscarriages.

The study, led by researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, is published in the January 2007 issue of the journal Genes and Development.

"Our findings strongly suggest that the Rb gene is important in the development of the placenta, but they have other important implications, as well," says principal investigator Gustavo Leone, assistant professor of molecular virology, immunology and medical genetics and a researcher with Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center and human cancer genetics program.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source


December 21, 2006, 3:53 PM CT

Did You Eat Broccoli During Your Pregnancy?

Did You Eat Broccoli During Your Pregnancy?
Did you eat nutritious food during your last pregnancy? I never knew protection from cancer would start in uterus. That's exactly what the scientists are saying. They say that women should eat lots of food when they are bearing a child. Pregnant and nursing women should eat a good quantity of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage. Guess what? It would protect your infant from cancer both during infancy and during later life.

The study results come from study of animals. Scientists from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, studied laboratory mice, and observed that supplements of a key phytochemical found in certain vegetables provided a very high level of protection against leukemia and lymphoma in young animals, and also significantly protected against lung cancer during the rodent's equivalent of middle age.

Read more on the story

The research, reported in the journal Carcinogenesis, is one of the first of its type to demonstrate that diet may play a protective role in a fight against cancer that may begin - and could be won or lost - well before a person is ever born. And some of the protective benefits may last into adulthood.

"Research of this type is still in its infancy, but it's pretty exciting," said David Williams, an LPI researcher and director of the Marine and Freshwater Biomedical Sciences Center at OSU.........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


December 13, 2006, 8:06 PM CT

Elimination Of Menstrual Cycles Safe

Elimination Of Menstrual Cycles Safe
Scientists for the first time have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of continuous-use oral contraceptives that can eliminate menstrual cycles, as per a research studyreported in the recent issue of Contraception.

While low-dose oral contraceptives reducing the number of menstrual periods to four are on the market, this study marks the first time scientists have shown that it's safe to eliminate them, said lead investigator David F. Archer, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

"It is felt that the relief of menstrual cycle symptoms during continuous use of the contraceptive is a significant improvement in the quality of life," said Archer.

Traditional birth-control regimens include 21 days of active hormones with seven days of placebos to continue monthly menstruation. During menstruation, a number of women suffer a variety of symptoms including headaches, bloating and irritability, Archer said.

In the study, conducted at 92 sites in North America, scientists used a birth-control pill consisting of 20 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol and 90 micrograms of levonorgestrel, a formulation being developed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals under the name Lybrel. Healthy, sexually active women between 18 and 49 years old were given a continuous regimen without any breaks or placebos.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


December 7, 2006, 10:05 PM CT

Hormonal Contraception Does Not Increase HIV Risk

Hormonal Contraception Does Not Increase HIV Risk
Using hormonal contraception does not appear to increase women's overall risk of infection with the AIDS virus, report the authors of a large study commissioned by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

The study, published on the Web site of the journal AIDS, is the largest, most comprehensive of its kind to date. It followed thousands of women in Africa and compared their patterns of contraceptive use to their risk of infection with HIV.

The NIH project officer for the study, H. Trent MacKay, M.D., M.P.H, Chief of the Contraception and Reproductive Health Branch, said the study findings do not provide a basis for changing current recommendations regarding contraceptive use.

Dr. MacKay cautioned that, eventhough hormonal contraception provides an effective means of pregnancy prevention, it does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections. Abstinence is the only sure way to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, he said. Barring abstinence, use of a latex condom, consistently and correctly, is highly effective against HIV infection.

More than 100 million women around the world use hormonal contraception, the study authors wrote. In all, 18 million women have been infected with HIV, most during heterosexual relations. "Understanding whether hormonal contraceptive use alters the risk of HIV acquisition among women is a critical public health issue," the study authors wrote.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


December 6, 2006, 8:42 PM CT

Abnormal Pap Smears Not Unusual

Abnormal Pap Smears Not Unusual
A report, published in health journal Sexual Health, has found nearly all women had had at least one Pap smear test in their lives with 26 percent reporting an abnormal result.

Two thirds of these women were treated at clinics after abnormal tests with about one in five women reporting negative effects on their sex lives.

More than 900 women aged between 18-59, randomly selected from the Commonwealth electoral roll, took part in the survey from 1999.

Dr Fran Boyle, a contributing author and UQ School of Population Health Senior Lecturer, said abnormal test results were more common than what most women thought.

"With widespread screening inevitably comes a greater likelihood of detecting abnormalities," Dr Boyle said.

"An abnormal result can arise for many reasons, a number of of which are not cause for alarm.

"For a number of women the immediate assumption is that it is something very serious.

"We really need to think about how the term abnormal Pap smear and the different meanings of such a result are communicated to women.

"We also need to ensure that women are well-prepared for the possibility of an abnormal result because it is something that is relatively common in the community."

Dr Boyle said the strength of this study was that it was one of the few that were based on women from the general community and not on women who had been to clinics.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


December 5, 2006, 4:53 AM CT

chlorpyrifos exposure in pregnancy

chlorpyrifos exposure in pregnancy
Children who were exposed prenatally to the insecticide chlorpyrifos had significantly poorer mental and motor development by three years of age and increased risk for behavior problems, as per a peer-evaluated study published recently by the American Academy of Pediatrics in its journal, Pediatrics. Chlorpyrifos, which was banned for residential use in 2001, is still widely applied to agricultural crops in the U.S. and abroad, including a number of fruits and vegetables.

The study assessed development of approximately 250 inner-city children from New York City who were born between 1998 and 2002. By age three, the children with the highest levels of chlorpyrifos at birth (upper 20th percentile) had significantly worse mental development and poorer motor skills than children with lower exposure levels. The more highly exposed children were also more likely by age three to exhibit early indications of behavior and attention problems. The study was co-authored by scientists from the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"These findings indicate that prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos not only increases the likelihood of developmental delay, but may have long-term consequences for social adjustment and academic achievement" said lead author and investigator on the study, Virginia Rauh, ScD. "Relatively speaking, the insecticide effects reported here are comparable to what has been seen with exposures to other neurotoxicants such as lead and tobacco smoke".........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


December 5, 2006, 4:31 AM CT

Uterine Preservation In Treating Fibroids

Uterine Preservation In Treating Fibroids
Eventhough fibroidsnon-malignant tumors that grow in the uteruscan cause pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding and infertility, women of childbearing age often choose to forego therapy because the available therapy options dont guarantee fertility.

In a study in the recent issue of The Female Patient, physicians at.

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia present a case history of a 35-year-old women whose numerous fibroids formed a large mass in her pelvic area that, when initially diagnosed, was of a size comparable to a full-term pregnancy.

"Traditionally, therapy for such a large fibroid mass in the uterus has been limited to hysterectomy, because the patient would bleed extensively if an attempt was made to merely remove the fibroids." says Jay Goldberg, M.D., MSCP, lead author and director of the Jefferson Fibroid Center at Thomas Jefferson University. "In this particular case though, hysterectomy was not an option because the patient strongly desired future fertility and uterine preservation".

To meet the patients wishes and remove the fibroids, the physicians developed a plan to perform two procedures a month apart.

The Jefferson physicians first performed a uterine fibroid embolization (UFE), a minimally invasive radiologic procedure that blocks the arteries that supply blood to the fibroid tumors. The procedure was done to reduce the blood flow within the patients uterus and the risk of hemorrhaging at the time of surgery.........

Posted by: Emily      Permalink         Source


November 30, 2006, 4:57 AM CT

Pregnant Women With Placental Infection

Pregnant Women With Placental Infection Dr. Vanessa Laibl, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology
Pregnant women who develop an infection of the placenta or nearby membranes in their first pregnancy have twice the risk of getting it in their second pregnancy, scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.

The infection, called chorioamnionitis, occurs in 0.5 percent to 10 percent of births. It can cause bleeding and widespread infection in the mother and infect the fetus as well, possibly resulting in cerebral palsy. If the infection develops during gestation, the baby must be delivered immediately, sometimes prematurely, to protect its health. Mother and child can then be treated with antibiotics.

The longer the time between the amniotic sac (waters) breaking and birth, the higher the risk for the infection at the time of birth. The infection can also take root before the waters break.

The study, which involved reviewing the records of 28,410 women who gave birth at Parkland Memorial Hospital, indicates that there may be one or more intrinsic risk factors that predispose women to the infection, the scientists report. Those might be the genetic makeup of their immune response or stronger bacteria in their genital tracts, they said.

We do think that there probably is a genetic component that predisposes women to intrauterine infection, said Dr. Vanessa Laibl, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at UT Southwestern and lead author of the study. We also think that certain women could be colonized with bacteria that are more virulent and more likely to cause infection.........

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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