Monthly Archives: August 2015

New embryo image processing technology could assist in IVF implantation success rates

Biologists and engineers have developed a new non-invasive image processing technique to visualize embryo formation. Researchers were able to see, for the first time, the movement of all of the cells in living mammalian embryos as they develop under the microscope. This breakthrough has important implications for IVF treatments and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. In the future, this approach could help with embryo selection to improve IVF success rates.

Lack of folic acid enrichment in Europe causes mortality among fetuses

A new international study shows that 5,000 fetuses in Europe annually are affected by spina bifida and other severe defects on the central nervous system. Seventy percent of these pregnancies are terminated, while increased mortality and serious diseases affect the children who are born. At least half of the cases can be avoided by adding folic acid to staple foods as is already being done in 70 non-European countries.

Women with hypertension in pregnancy and their siblings face increased risk of heart disease

High blood pressure during pregnancy is a risk factor for future hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but it’s not clear if this increased risk is because these women are more likely to have a family history of heart disease or if elevated blood pressure during pregnancy causes long-term metabolic and vascular abnormalities. A new study is now providing some insights.

Cervical pessary does not reduce the rate of preterm births or neonatal complications in twin gestations

Having twins accounts for only 1.5% of all births but 25% of preterm births, the leading cause of infant mortality worldwide. Successful strategies for reducing singleton preterm births include prophylactic use of progesterone and cervical cerclage in patients with a prior history of preterm birth. To investigate whether the use of a cervical pessary might reduce premature births of twins, an international team of researchers conducted a large, multicenter, international randomized clinical trial (RCT) of approximately 1200 twin pregnancies. They report that placement of a cervical pessary did not reduce spontaneous preterm births or reduce neonatal complications.

Low-level arsenic exposure before birth associated with early puberty and obesity

Female mice exposed in utero, or in the womb, to low levels of arsenic through drinking water displayed signs of early puberty and became obese as adults, according to scientists. The finding is significant because the exposure level of 10 parts per billion used in the study is the current US Environmental Protection Agency standard, or maximum allowable amount, for arsenic in drinking water.

Many pregnant women have insufficient iodine; may impair baby’s neurological development

New research has found that pregnant women in Sweden had inadequate levels of iodine in their diets. Proper iodine nutrition is necessary for neurological development of the fetus. Iodine is an element that is involved in the production of thyroid hormones. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need about 50% more iodine in the diets, and WHO recommends a total daily iodine intake of 250 ?g/d for pregnant and lactating women. Medical evidence confirms that moderate to severe iodine deficiency during pregnancy may impair the baby’s neurological development.