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Brain Anomalies incl Congenital News

Scientists Probe Zika's Devastating Effect on Pregnancy

Posted 1 day 5 hours ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Feb. 21, 2017 – Working with mice, researchers have learned more about how exposure to Zika virus early in pregnancy may increase the risk for miscarriage. Normally, the placenta protects a developing fetus from viral infections. But, somehow, Zika seems able to cross the placenta in early pregnancy, the study authors said. The mouse study also found that Zika-exposed fetuses that survive are more likely to be born with thinner-than-normal brain tissue, as well as brain cell inflammation. The researchers believe that their findings highlight a point of vulnerability that could be a potential target for future Zika interventions. "We need to find a way to stop transmission of Zika through the placenta into the fetus, because that is where the damage is being done," said study co-leader Sabra Klein. She is an immunologist and microbiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Naps May Sharpen a Preschooler's Language Skills

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 9, 2017 – Learning new words can be a challenge for any preschooler, but kids who take naps may have an advantage when it comes to developing language skills, a new study suggests. Researchers assessed 39 youngsters who were all 3 years old and found those who napped after learning new verbs had a better understanding of the words 24 hours later. "There's a lot of evidence that different phases of sleep contribute to memory consolidation, and one of the really important phases is slow-wave sleep, which is one of the deepest forms of sleep," said study co-author Rebecca Gomez. She is principal investigator of the University of Arizona's Child Cognition Lab. "What's really important about this phase is that essentially what the brain is doing is replaying memories during sleep, so those brain rhythms that occur during slow-wave sleep ... are actually reactivating those ... Read more

Related support groups: Insomnia, Sleep Disorders, Fatigue, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital

Space Reshapes Astronauts' Brains: Study

Posted 13 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 9, 2017 – Astronauts' brains change shape while in space, a new study indicates. Brain scans of astronauts before and after spaceflight found their brains compress and expand during space missions. The findings could lead to new ways to treat health conditions that affect brain function, according to the University of Michigan researchers. The NASA-funded study included 12 astronauts who spent two weeks on the Space Shuttle and 14 who spent six months on the International Space Station. MRIs showed that all had increases and decreases in gray matter in different parts of the brain. Those changes were greater the longer the astronauts spent in space. "We found large regions of gray matter volume decreases, which could be related to redistribution of cerebrospinal fluid in space," principal investigator Rachael Seidler said in a university news release. "Gravity is not ... Read more

Related support groups: Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Head Imaging

30 Former NFL Players Pledge Their Brains for Research

Posted 19 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Feb. 3, 2017 – Thirty former NFL players have joined the growing number of retired players who have pledged to donate their brains to research on a devastating brain disease that has been linked to the repetitive head trauma. Scientists believe that multiple concussions, or even less severe blows to the head, may trigger chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain condition, according to the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Numerous NFL players have been diagnosed with CTE after their deaths. Performing an autopsy is the only way to definitively diagnose the condition, the Boston-based foundation explained in a news release. Last month, a $1 billion concussion lawsuit settlement for former NFL players was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court despite legal challenges from some retired players. The ruling means that payouts can begin to former players who develop ... Read more

Related support groups: Head Injury, Encephalopathy, Head Injury with Intracranial Hemorrhage, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Head Injury w/ Intracranial Hemorrhage and Loss of Consciousness, Head Injury with Loss of Consciousness

New Zika Vaccine Candidate Provides Powerful Protection

Posted 20 days ago by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Feb. 2, 2017 – A single dose of an experimental Zika vaccine protected mice and monkeys from the virus, researchers report. Following Zika virus outbreaks in Latin America and some parts of the southern United States, scientists have been trying to develop a vaccine against the virus. Several vaccines have been tested in animals, but this is the first one to show strong and long-lasting protection without the use of a live virus, the researchers said. However, animal research does not always pan out in humans. Traditional vaccines contain a weakened or killed version of the target virus or isolated viral proteins. This vaccine uses tiny strands of RNA that contain the genetic codes for making viral proteins, according to the study authors. One injection of the vaccine triggered a rapid immune response in mice and protected them from intravenous exposure to Zika two weeks ... Read more

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

Parents of Kids With Heart Defects Face PTSD Risk: Study

Posted 1 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1, 2017 – Parents of children born with serious heart defects may be at high risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health problems, a new study suggests. PTSD refers to anxiety and fear triggered by a past stressful event. Mental health issues in parents can put their children at risk for long-term health and behavioral problems, the researchers added. "The parents need extra support and mental health treatment that is feasible and accessible, and one thing that we propose is integrating mental health screening and treatment into pediatric cardiology care," said study senior author Sarah Woolf-King. She's an assistant professor in the psychology department at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y. "Health care providers on the front line of treatment for these parents could play a significant role in connecting them to care," she added. These ... Read more

Related support groups: Depression, Anxiety, Anxiety and Stress, Major Depressive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Heart Disease, Agitation, Psychosis, Dysthymia, Psychiatric Disorders, Neurosis, Depressive Psychosis, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital

Risk of Death Due to Birth Defects Higher If Baby Covered by Medicaid

Posted 26 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 2017 – Severe birth defects cause about one in every five infant deaths in the United States. Now, new research finds that the odds for one of these tragic events rise if a newborn is covered by Medicaid rather than private insurance. For babies born at term, deaths due to birth defects "were approximately 45 percent higher for deliveries covered by Medicaid than those covered by private insurance," said a team led by Lynn Almli. She's from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Medicaid is the publicly funded insurance program for the poor. Severe birth defects are rare, but can include heart defects; central nervous system defects such as spina bifida; or chromosomal abnormalities that can result in severe mental and/or physical disabilities. The new study sought to determine ... Read more

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

Could a Therapy for Irregular Heartbeat Harm the Brain?

Posted 24 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 24, 2017 – Catheter ablation is a common treatment for a form of irregular heartbeat known as premature ventricular contractions. Now, a small new study suggests the approach may put some patients at risk for brain injury. The findings are preliminary, but are "relevant to a large number of patients undergoing this procedure," study senior author Dr. Gregory Marcus said in a news release from the University of California, San Francisco. The study suggests that the procedure may help encourage the formation of brain lesions. Marcus, who directs clinical research at UCSF's department of cardiology, said he hopes the research "will inspire many studies to understand the meaning of and how to mitigate these lesions." The study included 18 patients who underwent catheter ablation for premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) – a type of abnormal heartbeat originating in a ... Read more

Related support groups: Bleeding Disorder, Arrhythmia, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Premature Ventricular Depolarizations, Head Imaging

U.S. Health Care Costs From Birth Defects Total Almost $23 Billion a Year

Posted 20 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 19, 2017 – About three of every 100 U.S. newborns have a serious birth defect, and health care costs tied to these difficulties total almost $23 billion annually, new research shows. The findings might help "motivate change" in reducing costs associated with birth defects "through prevention, early detection and care throughout the life span," said researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the advocacy group March of Dimes, birth defects are health conditions in newborns that "change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body." Common and serious birth defects include heart defects, cleft lip/palate and spina bifida (a major spinal cord defect), the group said. Each year in the United States, more than 120,000 babies are born with a birth defect, the March of Dimes said. The costs to the baby's health – and the ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Emergency Contraception, Postcoital Contraception, Delivery, Labor Induction, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Labor Pain, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome a Global Problem: Report

Posted 17 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 – About 119,000 children worldwide are born each year with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a new report finds. The syndrome refers to a group of conditions that include poor growth for the baby both in the womb and after birth, and mental, physical and developmental problems for the child that can last through adulthood, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Globally, an average of nearly 10 percent of women drink alcohol during pregnancy. But, the rate is as high as 45 percent in some countries, said researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. The five countries with the highest alcohol use in pregnancy were Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belarus and Ireland. As a region, Europe had a 2.6 higher prevalence of the syndrome than the global average. The lowest levels of drinking during pregnancy and fetal alcohol ... Read more

Related support groups: Alcohol Dependence, Alcohol Withdrawal, Delivery, Alcoholism, Hangover, Premature Labor, Hydrocephalus, Toxic Reactions Incl Drug and Substance Abuse, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor Pain, Cesarean Section, Prematurity/Underweight in Infancy, Fetal Maturation, Acute Alcohol Intoxication

Pregnancy OK for Most Women With Congenital Heart Conditions: Report

Posted 12 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 12, 2017 – Women with serious congenital heart defects can usually have successful pregnancies – but they should work closely with their doctors before, during and after pregnancy, according to new recommendations from the American Heart Association (AHA). At one time, women born with complex heart conditions were told they could never have a baby, said Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn, a cardiologist and one of the authors of the AHA scientific statement. But that old thinking has evolved, said Aboulhosn, who is based at University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. Studies in recent years have shown that when those women work with an experienced team of health care providers, they generally can have healthy pregnancies, the statement said. The key is planning, said Mary Canobbio, a registered nurse who led the committee that crafted the new recommendations. "Prepregnancy ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Emergency Contraception, Arrhythmia, Postcoital Contraception, Pulmonary Hypertension, Delivery, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Hydrocephalus, Aortic Stenosis, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Doctors Describe First U.S. Case of Locally Acquired Zika in Pregnancy

Posted 12 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 12, 2017 – The first case of locally acquired Zika virus in a pregnant woman in the United States did not result in devastating birth defects, doctors report. In a case study from the University of Miami, doctors provide new insight into the mosquito-borne virus, showing fetal exposure doesn't necessarily mean infection. The report also alerts doctors to suspect Zika in patients who may have traveled to south Florida, not just to areas outside the country where the virus is more prevalent. The infant – born full-term in October – showed none of the devastating birth defects linked to Zika, such as microcephaly (an abnormally small head and underdeveloped brain). "Initially, everything with the baby looked fine," said Dr. Ivan Gonzalez. He is co-director of the Zika response team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, where the mother and baby were ... Read more

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

New Guidelines Reaffirm Prenatal Folic Acid to Curb Birth Defects

Posted 10 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 10, 2017 – In a recommendation that reaffirms previous guidelines, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said that folic acid supplements reduce the risk of neural tube defects. As it advised in 2009, the independent panel of experts said women who are pregnant or able to get pregnant should take a daily supplement that contains between 400 and 800 micrograms of folic acid to prevent these potentially fatal birth defects. Neural tube defects occur when the brain or spinal cord do not develop properly, leading to serious disabilities or even death. These birth defects take place very early in pregnancy. Sometimes they occur even before a woman knows that she is expecting, the task force explained. Folic acid supplements are most beneficial if women take them one month before becoming pregnant and continue taking them for the first three months of pregnancy, the panel ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Folic Acid, Delivery, Folic Acid Deficiency, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Ethinyl Estradiol/folic Acid/levonorgestrel, Folacin-800, Ferrous Fumarate/folic Acid/docusate, Nephro-Fer RX, B-Nexa, Ed Cyte F, Ferrous Sulfate/Folic Acid, Cholecalciferol/folic Acid, Tandem F, Zingiber, Ferrocite F, Restora Rx, FaLessa

Why Major Zika Outbreak Is Unlikely in U.S.

Posted 3 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Jan. 3, 2017 – The United States' comfortable standard of living makes a large-scale outbreak of Zika virus unlikely, a new scientific paper suggests. Exposure to mosquitoes in the United States is limited by widespread access to clean water, air conditioning, screened doors and windows, and other household amenities that most Americans take for granted, said lead author Max Moreno-Madrinan. He's an assistant professor with Indiana University-Purdue University Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. Thus, the mosquito-borne Zika virus is not likely to gain a foothold in the United States as it did in Brazil and a host of other Latin American countries, according to Moreno-Madrinan. More than 80,000 people in 69 countries have been infected during an ongoing Zika outbreak that originated in Brazil in 2015. The prevalence of mosquito-transmitted diseases like Zika in ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Yellow Fever Prophylaxis, Zika Virus Infection, Dengue Fever

Mothers of Kids With Severe Birth Defects May Have Shorter Lives: Study

Posted 20 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, Dec. 20, 2016 – A mother raising a child with a major birth defect may face a higher risk of dying early compared with a mother whose child doesn't have a birth defect, Danish research suggests. But, the researchers added, the risk of early death was "marginal." The finding is based on a review involving more than 455,000 Danish mothers. Some had given birth to children with single- or multiple-organ birth defects, including genetic conditions, such as heart or kidney disease, and/or structural anomalies, such as a cleft palate. The result: raising a child with a birth defect was associated with a higher – though still low – maternal risk for dying from heart disease or respiratory illness. "It's important to say that young women just don't die very frequently," stressed study lead author Dr. Eyal Cohen. He's a physician in the department of pediatrics with The Hospital for ... Read more

Related support groups: Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Cesarean Section, Prematurity/Underweight in Infancy, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

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