Monthly Archives: March 2016

Mom’s smoking alters fetal DNA

A study of over 6,000 mothers and their newborn children — one of the largest studies of its kind — solidifies the evidence that smoking cigarettes while pregnant chemically modifies a fetus’ DNA, mirroring patterns seen in adult smokers. The researchers also identify new development-related genes affected by smoking. The work suggests a potential explanation for the link between smoking during pregnancy and health complications in children.

Seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancy may reduce risk of stillbirth

Seasonal influenza vaccination may guard against stillbirth, a new study suggests. Researchers in Western Australia analyzed data from nearly 60,000 births that occurred during the southern hemisphere’s 2012 and 2013 seasonal influenza epidemics, and found that women who received the trivalent influenza vaccine during pregnancy were 51 percent less likely to experience a stillbirth than unvaccinated mothers.

Asthma-free? Maybe Mom experienced a sunny second trimester

The best way to reduce a child’s chances of developing asthma might be making sure Mom had enough vitamin D during the second trimester, a new study shows. The most cost-effective way to get Mom more vitamin D could be as simple as health recommendations that consider the benefits of soaking up a little more sun, a practical and cost-effective way to get a dose of D.

Why neural stem cells may be vulnerable to Zika infection

Zika’s hypothesized attraction to human neural stem cells may come from its ability to hijack a protein found on the surface of these cells, using it as an entryway to infection. Researchers show that the AXL surface receptor, normally involved in cell division, is highly abundant on the surface of neural stem cells, but not on neurons in the developing brain.

Many in families with pregnant women don’t know key facts about Zika

Many people in US households where someone is pregnant or considering getting pregnant in the next year are unaware of key facts about Zika virus, according to a new poll. The poll of 1,275 adults was conducted March 2-8, 2016 in cooperation with the National Public Health Information Coalition, an organization serving state and local public health communications officers.

Early-stage embryos with abnormalities may still develop into healthy babies, study shows

Abnormal cells in the early embryo are not necessarily a sign that a baby will be born with a birth defect such as Down’s syndrome, suggests new research carried out in mice. Scientists show that abnormal cells are eliminated and replaced by healthy cells, repairing — and in many cases completely fixing — the embryo.