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Brain Anomalies incl Congenital News

Mom-to-Be's Immune Response May Trigger Zika Birth Defects

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 5, 2018 – Zika might not directly cause the miscarriages and birth defects that have been associated with the notorious virus, a new study in mice suggests. Instead, the ravaging effects of Zika infection on a developing fetus appear to stem from the immune response of the expecting mother, researchers said. Lab mice bred without a key step in their immune response wound up birthing pups that survived Zika infection, while normal mice either lost their pregnancy or produced very underweight pups, the study found. "The antiviral response generated in response to Zika infection is causing the miscarriage of the fetus, as opposed to the virus itself," according to senior researcher Akiko Iwasaki. She is a professor of immunobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Iwasaki and her colleagues are now investigating whether a woman's immune response also causes some or ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

Zika Babies Facing Increasing Health Problems With Age

Posted 15 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 14, 2017 – Most children born with brain abnormalities caused by the Zika virus are facing severe health and developmental challenges at 2 years of age, a new study suggests. These problems may include seizures, an inability to sit independently as well as problems with sleep, feeding, hearing and vision, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their findings come from a study of 19 Zika-infected children in Brazil, the epicenter of a Zika outbreak that began in 2015. Most of the children were found to have problems in multiple areas as a result of prenatal exposure to the mosquito-borne virus, the researchers reported. "Children severely affected by Zika virus are falling far behind age-appropriate developmental milestones, and their challenges are becoming more evident as they age," CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald said in ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Ritalin During Pregnancy May Raise Risk of Heart Defect in Baby

Posted 13 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 13, 2017 – If you take Ritalin or Concerta for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and you plan to become pregnant, you might want to talk to your doctor about switching your medication first. A new study found a small increased risk of having a baby with a heart defect if Ritalin/Concerta (methylphenidate) was taken by the mother-to-be. However, taking amphetamines for ADHD did not carry the same risk, researchers said. "Our findings suggest a small increase in the risk of cardiac malformations associated with first-trimester exposure to methylphenidate, but not to amphetamines," said study author Krista Huybrechts. She with Brigham and Women's Hospital's division of pharmacoepidemiology and pharmacoeconomics, in Boston. "This information may be important to patients and their physicians as they weigh the risks and benefits of alternative treatment ... Read more

Related support groups: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Concerta, Ritalin, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Methylphenidate, Daytrana, Methylin, Metadate CD, Ritalin LA, Methylin ER, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Quillivant XR, Ritalin-SR, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, QuilliChew ER, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Metadate ER, Cotempla XR-ODT, Aptensio XR, Executive Function Disorder

Is Air Pollution a Threat to a Fetus?

Posted 11 Dec 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 11, 2017 – Women who are exposed to air pollution right before or after they become pregnant may be more likely to have a baby with birth defects, new research suggests. The increased risk is modest, but scientists say their findings warrant more investigation since all pregnant women are exposed to some level of pollution. "The most susceptible time of exposure appears to be the one month before and after conception," said study senior author Dr. Emily DeFranco, a physician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Public health efforts should continue to highlight the importance of minimizing population-level exposure to harmful particulate matter in the air," she added in a hospital news release. For the study, the researchers investigated the effects of fine particulate matter – tiny particles and droplets of liquid that get into the air. Once inhaled, they ... Read more

Related support groups: Delivery, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Long Spaceflights Could Put Pressure on the Brain

Posted 1 Nov 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 1, 2017 – The brains of astronauts who spend months in space appear to shift upward inside their skulls by the time they return to Earth, a new study finds. The repercussions, if any, are uncertain for now, researchers said. It's not clear how quickly the brain might settle back into its rightful place once Earth's gravity has taken hold, said lead researcher Dr. Donna Roberts. But one concern is this: If the brain moves upward, it could compress a major vein that drains blood from the head – possibly increasing pressure within the skull. And in fact, it's already known that some astronauts have returned from the International Space Station with vision problems. NASA has dubbed the phenomenon "visual impairment and intracranial pressure" syndrome, or VIIP. Roberts said her team suspects the brain's upward shift can help explain VIIP – though it's too early to say for ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Papilledema Associated with Increased Intracranial Pressure, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Head Imaging

Conjoined Twins Separated in Medically, Ethically Complex Surgery

Posted 25 Oct 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 25, 2017 – A new report on the separation of conjoined twins illustrates the gut-wrenching decisions doctors often have to make in highly complicated medical cases. The choice was difficult for doctors at MassGeneral Hospital for Children: Separate twin girls from East Africa in a 14-hour surgery and save the stronger one, or do nothing and lose both children. In the end, only one of the 22-month-olds survived. But without the operation, both would have perished, said the surgeons, who added they were tested technically and ethically. "The major challenges we faced were coordinating the large, multidisciplinary team – including pediatric general surgery, orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, critical care, cardiology, radiology, nursing, palliative care, social work, ethics and the operating room staff – and confronting the ethical implications of an operation in which ... Read more

Related support groups: Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

How Zika Virus Went From Mild to Devastating

Posted 28 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2017 – A single genetic mutation just a few years back gave the Zika virus the ability to cause severe neurological birth defects like microcephaly, a new study in mice suggests. Scientists have known about the Zika virus since 1947, when it was discovered in a monkey from the Zika Forest in Uganda. At that point, it was only linked to mild symptoms. It wasn't until the Zika epidemic of 2015 in Central and South America that Zika became known as a cause of microcephaly, a devastating condition in which a newborn's brain and skull are severely underdeveloped. How did that happen? One particular genetic change, which likely occurred in 2013, boosted Zika's ability to damage the neural stem cells that serve as building blocks for a fetus' developing brain, Chinese researchers report. "The evidence suggests this particular mutation somehow increased the ability of the ... Read more

Related support groups: Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

Mom-to-Be's Cellphone Use May Not Harm Fetal Brain

Posted 5 Sep 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Sept. 5, 2017 – Chatting away on a cellphone while pregnant doesn't appear to have a negative effect on the brain development of the growing fetus, a new study reports. "The concern for harm to the fetus caused by radio frequency electromagnetic fields, such as those emitted by mobile phones, is mainly driven by reports from experimental animal studies with inconsistent results," said study lead author Eleni Papadopoulou, with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. "Even though this is an observational study, our findings do not support the hypothesis of adverse effects on child's language, communication and motor skills due to the use of mobile phone during pregnancy," she said. The researchers examined a large pool of data from a population-based pregnancy study in Norway. The data included information from more than 45,000 women and their babies during pregnancy and ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Hydrocephalus, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Some Newborns Don't Get Heart Defect, Hearing Loss Tests

Posted 25 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 25, 2017 – Some newborns in the United States still aren't getting screened for hearing loss or congenital heart disease, a new report shows. "Newborn screening at birth is crucial to quickly identify infants at risk of hearing loss and congenital [inherited] heart disease so they can receive early intervention and follow-up care," said Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Finding these conditions early can give infants the best chance to properly develop, and lead healthy lives," Fitzgerald added in an agency news release. Since the 1970s, newborns in the United States have been screened for numerous health conditions through dried bloodspots, the agency explained. An estimated 4 million babies undergo screening each year. Now, national recommendations suggest that newborns be screened for hearing loss and critical ... Read more

Related support groups: Delivery, Premature Labor, Hearing Loss, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Heart Murmur, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Zika Hijacks Pregnant Woman's Immune System

Posted 21 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 21, 2017 – The Zika virus thrives in pregnant women by suppressing their already dampened immune systems and running roughshod over their body's natural defenses, which allows the virus to directly attack the fetus, a new study reports. A woman's immune system naturally suppresses itself during pregnancy to keep the body from recognizing the fetus as a foreign body and attacking it, explained senior researcher Jae Jung, chair of the department of molecular microbiology and immunology at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine. Zika hijacks this process, turning off most of a pregnant woman's immune defense so the virus can spread unhindered, Jung said. "The virus really tricks the host's immune system," Jung said. "It commandeers the pregnant woman's immune strategy to protect the fetus and utilizes that strategy for its own benefit." This helps ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

'Herd Immunity' May Be Curbing U.S. Zika Numbers

Posted 17 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 16, 2017 – The number of Zika infections has dropped dramatically in Florida this summer, and scientists say herd immunity may be the reason why. In practical terms, herd immunity means that people traveling to the United States from South America and the Caribbean may have been infected with Zika in the past, but they can no longer pass the virus on to mosquitoes that might pass it on to local residents. "People that were infected before can't be infected again. That's our understanding," Dr. Henry Walke, incident manager for Zika response at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Miami Herald. The latest statistics in Florida seem to bear that theory out: The number of Zika cases reported in the state this year has reached 140, a drastic decrease from nearly 1,500 in 2016, Florida health officials report. At the time of the Florida outbreak, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Prenatal Exposure to Certain Flame Retardants Linked to Lower IQs

Posted 4 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Aug. 4, 2017 – Exposure to certain flame-retardant chemicals in pregnancy may be linked to lower intelligence in children, a new research review suggests. The synthetic chemicals are known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs. Although phased out in manufacturing in the United States, they remain in many products, including old couches and other household items, building materials and electronics, the researchers said. Together, the studies reviewed suggested that IQs dip by 3.7 points for every 10-fold increase in prenatal exposure to these flame retardants. "Even the loss of a few IQ points on a population-wide level means more children who need early interventions, and families who may face personal and economic burdens for the rest of their lives," said study co-author Tracey Woodruff. Although the findings don't show a direct cause-and-effect relationship, they "go ... Read more

Related support groups: Poisoning, Toxic Reactions Incl Drug and Substance Abuse, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Geneticists Repair Mutation in Human Embryo

Posted 2 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 2, 2017 – In a first-ever experiment, geneticists have successfully modified a human embryo to remove a mutation that causes a life-threatening heart condition. This is the first study to demonstrate that a gene-editing technique can be used in human embryos to convert mutant genes back to their normal version, the researchers said. The new procedure tackled a genetic mutation in human embryos that causes hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an inherited condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. The mutation was successfully repaired in 72 percent of 18 embryos that were created in a lab using sperm from a male donor who carries the hereditary heart condition, said team member Dr. Paula Amato. She is an adjunct associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland. The procedure also might work in other ... Read more

Related support groups: Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Idiopathic Hypertrophic Subaortic Stenosis

Zika Probably Not Spread Through Saliva: Study

Posted 1 Aug 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2017 – Scientists have some interesting news about Zika: You're unlikely to get the virus from kissing or sharing utensils with someone. A new study with monkeys suggests that Zika doesn't appear to be transmitted through saliva. "If passing the virus by casual contact were easy, I think we would see a lot more of what we would call secondary transmission in a place like the United States," said lead researcher Tom Friedrich, from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. "But we're not seeing clinically apparent spread of Zika throughout the continental U.S. without the presence of the mosquitoes that carry the virus, and our study helps to put into context some of the transmission risk," he added in a university news release. Mosquitoes are the main cause of Zika infection in people. After infection, the virus remains in blood and ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Viral Infection, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

No Sign That Antidepressants in Pregnancy Harm Kids' Brains: Study

Posted 12 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, July 12, 2017 – For women battling depression, the decision over whether or not to continue their antidepressant during a pregnancy can be a difficult one. Now, reassuring news: A new study finds little risk of intellectual disability in children whose mothers take these pills while pregnant. The data "provides more information for clinicians to evaluate the risks in pregnant women taking antidepressants," said study co-author Abraham Reichenberg. He is a professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. The new findings "should be factored into other considerations, such as the increased risk for the mother if [she is] not medicated, the drug's side effects, and other medical conditions," Reichenberg explained in a hospital news release. One specialist in the developing brain stressed that going without a needed antidepressant during ... Read more

Related support groups: Lexapro, Zoloft, Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Celexa, Citalopram, Paxil, Sertraline, Pristiq, Amitriptyline, Venlafaxine, Effexor XR, Fluoxetine, Mirtazapine, Escitalopram, Remeron, Savella, Nortriptyline, Elavil

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