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Cases of Zika-Linked Birth Defects Dropped in Brazil in 2016

Posted 2 hours 24 minutes ago by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, March 29, 2017 – Brazil experienced a smaller-than-expected increase in cases of microcephaly in 2016, despite the continued spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. Researchers predicted 1,133 cases of microcephaly would occur between May and December 2016, but only 83 cases were reported by local health officials, said senior researcher Christopher Dye. He is director of strategy, policy and information for the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. Zika causes microcephaly, a birth defect where babies are born with abnormally small skulls and underdeveloped brains. Brazil served as the epicenter of the 2015 Zika outbreak in South America, and it was the country that endured the highest rates of microcephaly and other Zika-related neurological birth defects that year. Zika reemerged in Brazil early in 2016, and so researchers expected more cases of microcephaly ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

Zika Virus May Also Harm the Heart

Posted 9 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 9, 2017 – Zika may cause heart problems in some people infected with the mosquito-borne virus, researchers report. A new study has identified nine Venezuelan patients who suffered from heart problems shortly after coming down with Zika virus symptoms. Eight of the nine patients developed dangerous heart rhythm disorders, and two-thirds had evidence of heart failure, a condition in which the heart isn't pumping enough blood to meet the body's needs. Lead researcher Dr. Karina Gonzalez Carta said doctors should consider electrocardiograms (ECG) for all Zika-infected patients, and follow-up testing if an irregular heartbeat is detected. "While we anticipated we would see cardiovascular effects from Zika, we were surprised at the severity of the findings," said Carta, a Venezuelan native, and a cardiologist and research fellow at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minn. This is ... Read more

Related support groups: Eye Conditions, Heart Disease, Conjunctivitis, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

Risk of Birth Defects 20 Times Higher for Zika Moms: CDC

Posted 2 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, March 2, 2017 – Pregnant women infected with the Zika virus are 20 times more likely to have a baby born with certain birth defects as mothers who gave birth before the Zika epidemic began, U.S. health officials reported Thursday. Even worse, "when you look just at brain abnormalities and microcephaly, what we are seeing is more than 30 times higher than the prevalence before Zika was introduced to the Americas," said Margaret Honein. She is chief of the birth defects branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With microcephaly, babies are born with a smaller-than-normal head and an underdeveloped brain. Since the mosquito-borne virus first began to spread through South America in April 2015, thousands of babies have been born with Zika-linked microcephaly. The large majority have been born in Brazil, but the consequences of Zika infection during pregnancy ... Read more

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

Zika Infection Shrinks Testicles in Mice

Posted 23 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 22, 2017 – Zika virus can be sexually transmitted through semen, and a new mouse study could help explain why that occurs – and how the virus might damage male fertility. In lab research, Zika attacked the testicles of mice, targeting cells that produce the male hormone testosterone and ultimately causing testes to shrink, the researchers said. These findings "explain the persistence of the virus in semen," said Dr. Amesh Adalja. "If these findings hold in humans, the long-term consequences could include diminished fertility in males who were infected with Zika," said Adalja, an affiliated scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. He was not involved in the study. Zika typically is transmitted via mosquito bites, but researchers have learned that the virus also can be transmitted through a man's semen. As a result, the U.S. Centers for ... Read more

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

Scientists Probe Zika's Devastating Effect on Pregnancy

Posted 21 Feb 2017 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

New Zika Vaccine Candidate Provides Powerful Protection

Posted 3 Feb 2017 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

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

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, Hydrocephalus, Premature Labor, Toxic Reactions Incl Drug and Substance Abuse, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor Pain, Cesarean Section, Prematurity/Underweight in Infancy, Acute Alcohol Intoxication, Fetal Maturation

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

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

MRI Helps Assess Fetal Brain Abnormalities: Study

Posted 15 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Dec. 15, 2016 – A follow-up MRI scan after a mid-pregnancy ultrasound could help improve diagnosis of a possible fetal brain abnormality, a new British study reports. Women selected for this study had undergone an ultrasound at 18 to 21 weeks of pregnancy that detected a potential brain abnormality in the fetus. The extra information provided by the follow-up MRI helped doctors give a more accurate diagnosis and advice, according to the study authors. The study was published Dec. 14 in The Lancet. "Adding an MRI scan when a problem is detected provides additional information to support parents making decisions about their pregnancy," said lead author Paul Griffiths. He's a professor of radiology at the University of Sheffield. "Based on our findings we propose that an MRI scan should be given in any pregnancy where the fetus may have a suspected brain abnormality," Griffiths ... Read more

Related support groups: Folic Acid, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Hydrocephalus, Diagnosis and Investigation, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Folacin-800, Body Imaging, Ethinyl Estradiol/folic Acid/levonorgestrel, Ferrous Fumarate/folic Acid/docusate, B-Nexa, Ircon-FA, Cholecalciferol/folic Acid, Bonisara, Ferrous Fumarate/Folic Acid, Zingiber, Slow Fe with Folic Acid, Restora Rx, FA-8, FaLessa, Folic Acid/Cyanocobalamin Deficiency

Lab Vaccine Shields Mice Against Zika Virus

Posted 14 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14, 2016 – Antibodies drawn from a patient infected with Zika could form the basis of a vaccine against the notorious virus, a new animal study suggests. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system. In laboratory studies, two antibodies drawn from the blood of a Zika-infected patient shielded mice from Zika virus infection, according to a team of Chinese researchers. Further, these antibodies appear to avoid one of the problems researchers have come up against in trying to develop a Zika vaccine, the study authors noted. Zika belongs to the flavivirus family, a group of mosquito-borne viruses that also includes dengue, yellow fever and West Nile virus. Flaviviruses tend to cross-react, meaning that prior infection with any of them can increase a person's risk of contracting a nastier version of another flavivirus, explained Dr. Daniel Caplivski. ... Read more

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

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