Monthly Archives: January 2015

Survival of very premature infants is improving in France

Since 2011, nearly 7,000 premature infants have been enrolled in the Inserm EPIPAGE 2 study. This study is aimed at assessing the survival of infants born between 22 and 34 weeks’ gestation, and their subsequent outcomes. Compared with data from the EPIPAGE 1 cohort in 1997, the proportion of infants born in 2011 from the 25th week of gestation, who survived without severe neonatal disease, showed a definite increase. However, survival is still rare for infants born before 25 weeks.

Ancient ‘genomic parasites’ spurred evolution of pregnancy in mammals

Large-scale genetic changes that marked the evolution of pregnancy in mammals have been identified by an international team of scientists. They found thousands of genes that evolved to be expressed in the uterus in early mammals. Surprisingly, these genes appear to have been recruited from other tissue types by transposons — ancient mobile genetic elements sometimes thought of as genomic parasites. The study sheds light on how organisms evolve new morphological structures and functions.

Flame retardants linked to preterm birth

Maternal exposure to high levels of flame-retardants may be a contributing factor in preterm births, researchers have discovered. Flame-retardant chemicals have been widely used for more than 40 years in home construction, furniture, clothing and electronic appliances. They save lives and reduce injury by giving people time to extinguish or escape from a spreading fire. These chemicals don’t permanently bond with the materials they are used on so they leach into the environment and become a pollutant over time.

Women’s Health Experts Recommend Obstetric Care Designations to Improve Maternal Care

Washington, DC — Organizations representing women’s healthcare providers today released the first-ever consensus document establishing levels of care for perinatal and postnatal women. “Levels of Maternal Care,” the second in the joint American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) Obstetric Care Consensus Series, proposes a classification system that would promote regionalized care, allowing pregnant women at high risk to receive care in facilities that are prepared to meet their specific needs.

Ob-Gyns Issue Task Force Report on Hypertension in Pregnancy

Washington, DC — The diagnosis of preeclampsia, a leading cause of maternal mortality in the US and worldwide, no longer requires the detection of high levels of protein in the urine (proteinuria), according to the new Task Force Report on Hypertension in Pregnancy by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). The Task Force recommends that physicians also consider other factors, in addition to elevated blood pressure, to make the diagnosis of preeclampsia.