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

Posted 11 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, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

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, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection

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

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

Impaired Eyesight May Be First Sign of Zika Damage in Babies

Posted 17 Jul 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, July 17, 2017 – Infants exposed to the Zika virus in the womb should have their eyes examined for possible virus-related abnormalities, according to a new report. "All infants with potential Zika virus exposure should undergo screening eye examinations regardless of [central nervous system] abnormalities, timing of maternal infection during pregnancy, or laboratory confirmation," said Dr. Andrea Zin and colleagues. Zin is with the National Institute of Women's Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In some cases, evidence of Zika infection may only show up in the eyes, the study found. The results were published July 17 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. "Eye abnormalities may be the only initial finding in congenital Zika virus infection," Zin said in a journal news release. Zika, a mosquito-borne virus, usually causes only mild symptoms in healthy adults. But fetal exposure during ... Read more

Related support groups: Birth Control, Contraception, Eye Conditions, Delivery, Hydrocephalus, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Cesarean Section, Visual Defect/Disturbance, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

1 in 20 Pregnant Women Infected With Zika Have Babies With Birth Defects: CDC

Posted 9 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 8, 2017 – One in 20 women in the U.S. territories who were infected with Zika during pregnancy had babies with serious birth defects, officials reported Thursday. The exact percentage of infants born with these Zika-linked defects depended on when during pregnancy the woman was infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. Among women infected in the first trimester, 8 percent had a baby with defects; 5 percent in second trimester, and 4 percent in third trimester. The findings also showed that birth defects could occur even in women who had no symptoms of Zika infection, CDC officials stressed. In fact, 5 percent of those with symptoms gave birth to an infant with a birth defect, while 7 percent of those who had no symptoms had a baby born with a birth defect, said CDC Acting Director Dr. Anne Schuchat. "Just because you don't have ... Read more

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

Zika's Set to Return to Mainland U.S., But Budget Cuts Threaten Response

Posted 2 Jun 2017 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, June 1, 2017 – The Zika virus will strike the continental United States again this summer, and looming federal budget cuts will make it hard for local officials to curb its spread, public health experts said Wednesday. The experts believe it's a foregone conclusion that more local Zika outbreaks will occur on the U.S. mainland in the coming months, much like what happened in Miami and Brownsville, Texas, last summer. "We can virtually guarantee there will be activity, particularly along the Gulf region," said Michael Osterholm. He directs the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. Local health departments will shoulder the burden of any response to a local Zika outbreak, infection control experts said during a media briefing hosted by the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO). Funding authorized by Congress last ... Read more

Related support groups: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Hydrocephalus, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection

'Groundbreaking Strides' Made in Zika Vaccine Research

Posted 10 May 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, May 10, 2017 – Development of a Zika vaccine is proceeding rapidly, but it still will be years before such a vaccine is available to the public, says the author of a new report on research efforts. Three leading vaccine candidates are being tested in humans. Two are based on cutting-edge DNA vaccine technology and the third is based on the more standard inactivated virus model, said Dr. Stephen Thomas. He's a professor of infectious disease with the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. "The pace of R&D for a Zika vaccine is incredibly brisk," Thomas said. "Truly, some groundbreaking strides have been made in very short periods of time." But Thomas believes it will be at least two to four years before a vaccine has received federal approval and enters mass production. Human testing currently is aimed at making sure that the vaccine is safe, ... Read more

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

Zika Risk May Be Lower Than Thought for Some Pregnant Women

Posted 9 May 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 9, 2017 – U.S. women traveling to areas where the Zika virus is circulating might be less likely to be infected than expected, but risk remains, a new study suggests. Only one out of 185 pregnant women at a Los Angeles clinic who visited an active Zika area between January and August 2016 wound up infected, researchers report. "Overall, for women who have had exposures to Zika virus, the risk of maternal infection is low," said lead researcher Dr. Rashmi Rao, an obstetrician and gynecologist with the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center. But, the risk of Zika infection "isn't zero, and I want to make that very clear," Rao continued. "Our party line for women remains that we don't recommend they travel to these areas at all, particularly if they are considering pregnancy or are pregnant." The one woman who contracted Zika developed her infection during a ... Read more

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

Zika Can Harm Babies' Vision, Too

Posted 18 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, April 18, 2017 – Although Zika virus is most well-known for the devastating neurological damage it can cause in the womb, a new study reports that some babies infected with Zika also may have lifelong vision impairment. Forty-three babies born in Colombia and Venezuela suffered damage to both eyes after being exposed to Zika through their pregnant mothers, researchers said. Their mothers showed no signs of eye problems. The damage mainly involved scar tissue on their retinas and optic nerves. But, five babies also appeared to have congenital glaucoma, said Dr. Fernando Arevalo, chair of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore. Congenital glaucoma is a condition that causes increased pressure in the eye, likely because the eye's drainage system didn't develop properly. It can cause damage to the optic nerve, according to the Glaucoma Research ... Read more

Related support groups: Glaucoma, Hydrocephalus, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation, Zika Virus Infection, Visual Defect/Disturbance

Epilepsy: Another Potential Zika Threat to Babies

Posted 17 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 17, 2017 – Beyond its known links to birth defects and other problems, the Zika virus may also trigger cases of epilepsy in infants, warn experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among 48 babies from Brazil with probable congenital Zika infection, "50 percent reportedly had clinical seizures," said Dr. Daniel Pastula, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp and Rosemarie Kobau. All three have studied Zika at the CDC, and co-wrote an essay on the Zika-epilepsy connection, published online April 17 in JAMA Neurology. The Zika virus is transmitted via mosquito bites, and its most devastating effects occur when pregnant women are infected. In those cases, Zika can trigger severe neurological birth defects such as microcephaly, where infants are born with underdeveloped skulls and brains. Thousands of such cases have occurred in South America, most notably in ... Read more

Related support groups: Seizures, Epilepsy, Seizure Prevention, Seizure Prophylaxis, Hydrocephalus, Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation during Pregnancy/Lactation, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Labor and Delivery including Augmentation

U.S. Blood Supply Safe From Zika Virus, Officials Say

Posted 7 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, April 7, 2017 – U.S. blood banks are confident they have the tools to protect America's blood supply from possible new Zika virus outbreaks during the upcoming mosquito season. A transfusion of Zika-tainted blood can pass the virus to an unsuspecting recipient, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But sophisticated genetic tests and blood processing procedures make it highly unlikely that anyone will contract Zika from donated blood, according to a series of articles in a special issue of the journal Transfusion. Every blood donation in the United States undergoes testing for the presence of Zika virus, based on guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said Susan Stramer, vice president of scientific affairs for the American Red Cross. About 40 U.S. donations have tested positive for Zika since screening began, mostly in Florida, Stramer ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Transfusion, Viral Infection, Hydrocephalus, Insect Bites, Brain Anomalies incl Congenital, Zika Virus Infection, Blood Cell Transplantation

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