Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Clinical Trial Is Favorable for a Prenatal Gene Test
A new method of prenatal testing that can detect more genetic problems in a fetus than ever before could be headed toward wider use after encouraging results from a clinical trial, researchers say. The new technique surpassed standard testing in detecting chromosomal abnormalities, the study found. (via NY Times)
Fertility Treatments May Put Women At Risk for PTSD Symptoms, Study Suggests
Women who undergo fertility treatments may find the situation so distressing that they develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a new study says. In the study, close to 50 percent of participants met the official criteria for PTSD, meaning they could be diagnosed with the condition. (via MSNBC)
Diabetes and the Obesity Paradox
Type 2 diabetes, a condition widely thought of as a disease of the overweight and sedentary, also develops in people who aren’t overweight—and it may be more deadly. Scientists found those who were of normal weight around the time of their diagnoses were twice as likely to die within the same period. (via NY Times)
Boys Appear to Be More Vulnerable Than Girls to the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos
A new study found, at age 7, boys had greater difficulty working memory, a key component of IQ, than girls with similar prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Having nurturing parents improved working memory, especially in boys, though it didn’t lessen the negative effects of exposure. (via Science Daily)
Air Pollution Linked to Stillbirth Risk
Air pollution has been linked to a number of breathing problems, mainly in developing countries, and now a new preliminary study looking at pollution levels in New Jersey has found an increased risk of stillbirths among women exposed to certain pollutants. (via NBC News)
Stressed People Use Different Strategies and Brain Regions
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Researchers have found stressed and non-stressed people use different brain regions and different strategies when learning. Non-stressed individuals applied a deliberate learning strategy, while stressed subjects relied more on their gut feeling. (via Science Daily)
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Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
Depressed Dads More Likely to Spank, Shortchange Kids: Study
Depressed dads are more likely to shortchange their children and use physical punishment, even on tots who are still crawling, new research suggests.A study involving fathers of 1-year-olds found they were more likely to spank and less likely to read to their youngsters than mentally healthy fathers. The finding adds more weight to the emerging awareness of “postpartum depression” among new fathers. [Yahoo News]
Mom’s Prenatal Stress Raises Child’s Disease Risk
The children of women who experience a stressful life event either during or before pregnancy are at an increased risk of being hospitalized from infectious disease, according to a new study. Children whose mothers experienced a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, while they were pregnant were 71 percent more likely to be hospitalized with a severe infectious disease than children of women who did not undergo prenatal stress, said study researcher Nete Munk Nielsen, an epidemiologist at Statens Serum Institute in Denmark. [MSNBC]
Children Still Play the Old Schoolyard Favorites
Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found. Playground games are “alive and well … they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other,” it said. [Yahoo News]
Updates Urged for Kids’ Heart, Breathing Rate Guidelines
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Guidelines for children’s heart and breathing rate reference ranges need to be updated, say researchers who reviewed 69 studies that included a total of about 143,000 children. The review produced new reference ranges that differ widely from existing published guidelines, according to Dr. Matthew Thompson, of Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues. The reference ranges are used for assessing and resuscitating children. [Yahoo News]
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Thursday, February 10th, 2011
A new study released by the National Institutes of Health and published in The New England Journal of Medicine revealed fetal surgery (surgery performed on a fetus while it’s still in the uterus) is now possible to reduce complications from spina bifida after birth.
Spina bifida is a common birth defect where the fetus’s spine does not form fully or close completely around the spinal cord, often leaving an opening in the vertebrae. Babies born with various types of spina bifida are at risk for dangerous excess brain fluid, brain and physical deformities, loss of bladder control, trouble walking, and paralysis.
Traditionally, postnatal surgeries (surgeries after birth) are performed to correct spina bifida, which includes using a tube (shunt) to drain the fluid. Now, by closing the opening during fetal surgery, the chance for excess brain fluid can be reduced and the ability to walk without crutches, braces, or other orthotics can be increased.
For the study, 183 mothers who had fetuses with myelomeningocele volunteered for the study. Myelomeningocele is the most severe form of spina bifida where the spine protrudes through an opening in the spinal column and is enclosed in a fluid-filled sac. The women were divided randomly into two groups: one group underwent prenatal surgery (at 26 weeks of pregnancy) while the other underwent postnatal surgery.
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