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May 23, 2007, 10:02 PM CT

In utero exposure to smoking and risk of ADHD

In utero exposure to smoking and risk of ADHD
Women smokers who become pregnant have long been encouraged to reduce or eliminate their nicotine intake. A new study being reported in the June 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry provides further reason to do so, as it presents new evidence that in utero exposure to smoking is linked to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) problems in genetically susceptible children.

The study investigated male and female twin pairs, aged 719 years, to assess the relationship between genetic variations, prenatal substance exposures, and ADHD sub-types. Rosalind Neuman, Ph.D., one of the studys authors, explains the findings: "When genetic factors are combined with prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, the ADHD risk rises very significantly. When the child has either or both of two specific forms of dopamine pathway genes (DAT and DRD4), and was exposed to cigarette smoking in utero, the risk for having combined type ADHD (a number of inattention and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms) increased 3 to 9 fold".

John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, adds, "These data highlight a new risk of maternal smoking, increasing the risk for ADHD in their children. ADHD, in turn, increases the risk for substance abuse. Thus, it appears that in utero exposure to nicotine may help to perpetuate a cycle across generations that links addiction and behavioral problems".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

May 22, 2007, 9:58 PM CT

Treating Female Urinary Incontinence

Treating Female Urinary Incontinence
A minimally invasive device for treating recurrent stress urinary incontinence in women has been shown to be safe and effective in early clinical trials and is now under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says Emory University School of Medicine urologist and trial co-principal investigator Niall Galloway, MD.

Preliminary results from the North American Adjustable Continence Therapy (ACT) clinical study group will be presented today at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association convened in Anaheim, Calif.

The first phase of the multi-center ACT clinical trial, which included Emory, launched in December 2001 and will conclude in June. It tested the device in 160 women diagnosed with stress urinary incontinence who failed to respond to prior therapys.

During the outpatient procedure, which lasts 20-30 minutes, two adjustable balloons are implanted on each side of a patient's urethra. The ACT clinical trial patients on average reported significant continence improvement one year after undergoing therapy. Complications were commonly mild.

"The ACT device spells hope for millions of women dealing with incontinence, especially those who've experienced severe weakness of the urethra muscles," says Dr. Galloway. "Follow up is needed, but the results we have thus far are promising".........

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May 21, 2007, 12:16 AM CT

Eating apples and fish during pregnancy

Eating apples and fish during pregnancy
Women who eat apples and fish during pregnancy may reduce the risk of their children developing asthma or allergic disease, suggests a new study presented at the American Thoracic Society 2007 International Conference, on Sunday, May 20.

The SEATON study, conducted at the University of Aberdeen, UK, observed that the children of mothers who ate the most apples were less likely to ever have wheezed or have doctor-confirmed asthma at the age of 5 years, in comparison to children of mothers who had the lowest apple consumption. Children of mothers who ate fish once or more a week were less likely to have had eczema than children of mothers who never ate fish.

The study did not find any protective effect against asthma or allergic diseases from a number of other foods, including vegetables, fruit juice, citrus or kiwi fruit, whole grain products, fat from dairy products or margarine or other low-fat spreads.

The scientists studied 1212 children born to women who had filled out food questionnaires during their pregnancy. When the children were 5 years old, the mothers filled out a questionnaire about the childrens respiratory symptoms and allergies, as well as a questionnaire about their childs food consumption.

The children were also given lung function and allergy tests.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

May 14, 2007, 10:53 PM CT

Pregnant Women Have At Least One Kind Of Pesticide In Their Placenta

Pregnant Women Have At Least One Kind Of Pesticide In Their Placenta
A doctoral thesis written at the Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine reveals an average presence of eight organochlorine contaminants in the organisms of pregnant women, which are commonly ingested by means of food, water and air.

- These chemical substances may cause some malformations in the genito-urinary system of the foetus, such as cryptorchidism and hypospadias.

C@MPUS DIGITAL Human beings are directly responsible for more than 110,000 chemical substances which have been generated since the Industrial Revolution. Every year, we "invent" more than 2,000 new substances, most of them contaminants, which are emitted into the environment and which are consequently present in food, air, soil and water. Nonetheless, human beings are also victims of these emissions, and involuntarily (what is known in this scientific field as "inadvertent exposure"), every day humans ingest a number of of these substances which cannot be assimilated by our body, and are accumulated in the fatty parts of our tissues.

This is particularly worrying for pregnant women. During the gestation period, all the contaminants accumulated in the organism have direct access to the microenvironment where the embryo/foetus develops. The doctoral thesis "Maternal-child exposure via the placenta to environmental chemical substances with hormonal activity", written by MarĂ­a Jose Lopez Espinosa, from the Department of Radiology and Physical Medicine of the University of Granada, analyzes the presence of organochlorine pesticides -normally used as pesticides- in the organisms of pregnant women. The analysis was developed at San Cecilio University Hospital , in Granada, with 308 women who had given birth to healthy children between 2000 and 2002. The results are alarming: 100% of these pregnant women had at least one pesticide in their placenta, but the average rate amounts to eight different kinds of chemical substances.........

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May 14, 2007, 8:59 PM CT

Breastfeeding duration rates for infants born in an inner-city

Breastfeeding duration rates for infants born in an inner-city
A new study in the recent issue of the Journal of Human Lactation reports that being born in a Baby-Friendly hospital gives babies the best possible chance of breastfeeding to 6 months. This is especially true for low-income populations and for families from backgrounds that traditionally have low breastfeeding rates.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other respected groups recommend that babies breastfeed exclusively until six months of age. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative was established by WHO and the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) to help the participating hospitals become centers of breastfeeding support.

The research published by SAGE in the Journal of Human Lactation, for the International Lactation Consultant Association, studied breastfeeding rates among babies who were born in an inner-city US Baby-Friendly hospital. They looked at the factors influencing a mothers decision to begin to breastfeed while in the hospital and what influenced whether that baby was still being nursed at six months old.

The study observed that the rates of breastfeeding at six months was decreased for families with public insurance or if there was an early feeding problem. And eventhough other studies have concluded that demographics commonly factor into poor breastfeeding duration rates in low-income, black populations, this study observed that those mothers who gave birth in a Baby-Friendly hospital breastfed at rates comparable to the overall US population, suggesting that the Baby-Friendly initiatives were positively affecting the health of those babies.........

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April 24, 2007, 10:30 PM CT

Smoking Common During Pregnancy

Smoking Common During Pregnancy
While pregnancy may be considered an effective motivator for smoking cessation, results of a new study by scientists at the Mailman School of Public Health indicate that pregnant U.S. women usually smoke, placing themselves and their unborn children at risk for health and developmental complications. The research also finds a significant association between cigarette use, nicotine dependence, and the presence of mental disorders among pregnant women.

The data show that almost 22 percent of these women smoked cigarettes and more than 10 percent were nicotine dependent. The results also indicate that approximately 30 percent of pregnant women who used cigarettes had a mental disorder, with personality disorders, major depressive disorder, and specific phobia among the most common psychological ailments. Mental disorders were even more common among pregnant women with nicotine dependence, affecting more than 57 percent. In terms of specific disorders, the strongest associations with nicotine dependence were seen for prolonged depression, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder.

"Our research shows that prenatal smoking appears to be more common in pregnant women who are already vulnerablethose who are unmarried, have less than high school education, and have lower personal incomes," says Renee Goodwin, assistant professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School, and lead scientist. "They also are likely to have limited access to health care services, which may contribute to a lower likelihood of some women quitting smoking upon becoming pregnant".........

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April 13, 2007, 4:48 PM CT

Not Just a Menopausal Symptom

Not Just a Menopausal Symptom
new study in Psychophysiology confirms a surprising fact - men who have undergone chemical castration for conditions such as prostate cancer experience hot flashes similar to those experienced by menopausal women. Using a technique called sternal skin conductance, doctors were able to positively identify hot flashes in males, a positive step toward providing treatment for those patients in need.

"Most people are unaware that men can have hot flashes," says study author Dr. Laura Hanisch. "Even the patients themselves are often unaware that they are having them." Having a test that objectively measures when hot flashes are occurring can help both doctors and patients identify the episodes, and can assist scientists in finding their root cause.

"If we can use sternal skin conductance to monitor the frequency and perception of hot flashes, the data could then be used to develop safe and effective therapys that would be a better alternative than taking hormone therapys or discontinuing cancer-related therapys," says Hanisch.

Hanisch also says that hot flashes going unnoticed may be a sign that people can adapt to them. Therefore, patients could possibly benefit from cognitive behavioral treatment in addition to pharmacological therapys.........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

April 9, 2007, 11:03 PM CT

Chance of hysterectomy predicted

Chance of hysterectomy predicted
A woman's chance of undergoing a hysterectomy can now be accurately predicted, as per new UCSF study findings.

Results from a four-year study of 762 women with various symptoms of uterine distress, such as chronic pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding or fibroids, are published in the April 2007 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Surgeons." Study findings also are available online at

The findings confirm a widely held, but untested, belief in gynecology that the more symptoms of discomfort a woman has, as well as the longer she has tried alternative therapies unsuccessfully, the more likely she is to have a hysterectomy, said lead investigator Lee Learman, MD, a professor in the UCSF Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences.

"In the past, we were never entirely sure which symptoms were most likely to lead to a hysterectomy and which were most likely to be controlled with conservative therapys, so women received differing advice from individual doctors across the country," he added. "Now, for the first time, we have easily-measured, clinical characteristics that we can assess and use to accurately counsel patients on their options".

That, in turn, means women with a high likelihood of hysterectomy can avoid years of pain and discomfort while trying other options first and women with a low likelihood of hysterectomy can explore other options with more confidence of their success, Learman said.........

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March 25, 2007, 9:16 PM CT

Estrogen and Bone Protection

Estrogen and Bone Protection
Scientists at the University at Buffalo have described a novel pathway by which estradiol, the primary estrogen in humans, aids in maintaining bone density, a function critical to avoiding osteoporosis.

It is well known that estrogen is essential for healthy bone, and that when the production of estrogen is reduced, as occurs normally in postmenopausal women and pathogenically after exposure to radiation or chemotherapeutic drugs, bones become brittle and break easily. However, the mechanisms involved aren't clearly understood.

The new study observed that one way estradiol helps to maintain bone density is by stopping the activation of an enzyme known as caspase-3. Also called the executioner caspase, caspase-3 is the central player in initiating the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death of osteoblasts, the bone cells that aid in the growth and development of new bone and teeth.

Results of the study will be presented Friday, March 23, at the International Association of Dental Research meeting in New Orleans.

Peter G. Bradford, Ph.D., senior author on the study said of the results: "Basic and clinical studies have shown that estrogens can prevent both bone loss and reduce the occurence rate of bone fractures. Our research at the molecular and cellular level suggests that the underlying basis of this protective effect of estrogens involves the prevention of apoptosis in osteoblasts and that the key event in this prevention is the inhibition of caspase-3 activity".........

Posted by: Emily      Read more         Source

March 19, 2007, 9:26 PM CT

Protein May Increase Chances of Pregnancy

Protein May Increase Chances of Pregnancy
In its early and most critical stages, human reproduction requires precise, vital functions. The role of one sperm-delivered protein, which is crucial to the process, is being closely observed by researchers from the United States and Canada. Lab tests in recent years have produced valuable information and hopes of regulating that protein to enhance fertility.

Peter Sutovsky, assistant professor of animal sciences in the University of Missouri-Columbia's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources and assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology in the School of Medicine, has collaborated with Richard Oko, professor of anatomy and cell biology at Queen's University (Ontario), and other academic scientists examining the role of postacrosomal sheath WW domain binding protein (PAWP), which during fertilization must function properly to initiate the reproduction process. If not, reproduction won't occur, Sutovsky said.

PAWP's role is one of the earliest reproduction requirements, he said. The protein is located inside of the sperm head and separates from the sperm shortly after the sperm fuses with the egg cell. PAWP activates the fertilized egg to divide and become an embryo, and triggers a defense mechanism that stops additional sperm from penetrating the egg cell.........

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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.". Archives of obgyn news blog

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