Sunday December 17, 2017

Open defecation affects pregnancy, reveals study

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Photo from www.unwater.org

Bhubaneswar: Poor sanitation practices, such as open defecation, are affecting pregnancy outcomes of Indian women, especially premature birth, says a study.

Photo from www.unwater.org

The research, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, studied pregnancy outcomes in two rural areas of Odisha.

Bijaya K. Padhi from the Asian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar, and colleagues enrolled 670 women during the first trimester of their pregnancy, recorded information about toilet access and sanitation practices for each woman at enrollment, and followed them through pregnancy until birth.

They found that compared with women who used a latrine, women who defecated in the open had a significantly greater risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes overall and preterm birth, but not low birth weight.

Although the researchers adjusted for numerous confounding factors in their analysis, including poverty, social class, and caste, the women who defecated in the open may have shared other unknown characteristics that were actually responsible for their increased risk of an adverse pregnancy outcome.

“This study indicates that in the context of maternal and child health prevention research, sanitation is an important dimension of women’s health and distinct from social class and caste,” said senior study author Pinaki Panigrahi from the University of Nebraska in the US.

(IANS)

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Immunotherapy Drug Pembrolizumab May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer, Says Research

An immunotherapy drug - Pembrolizumab- has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show

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Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy Drug May Treat Rare Pregnancy Cancer. Pixabay.

London, Nov 27: An immunotherapy drug has the potential to treat a rare pregnancy cancer belonging to a group of diseases called gestational trophoblastic disease (GTD), results of a clinical trial show.

Three out of four patients with the cancerous forms of GTD went into remission after receiving the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab in a clinical trial carried out by researchers at London’s Imperial College.

The findings, published in the journal Lancet, suggest that immunotherapy could be used as a a safer alternative to conventional treatment for the disease.

Pembrolizumab is the trial drug/ immunotherapeutic agent:

The trial, which took place at Charing Cross Hospital, is the first to show that Pembrolizumab can be used to successfully treat women with GTD, according to the study

The researchers hope that this small early stage study could provide another treatment option for women who have drug-resistant GTD and lead to a 100 per cent cure rate.

“We have been able to show for the first time that immunotherapy may be used to cure patients of cancerous GTD,” said Professor Michael Seckl, lead author of the study.

The current treatments to tackle GTD cure most cases of the disease. However, there are a small number of women whose cancers are resistant to conventional therapies and as a result have a fatal outcome,” Seckl added.

“Immunotherapy may be a life-saving treatment and can be used as an alternative to the much more toxic high dose chemotherapy that is currently used,” Seckl said.

GTD is the term used to describe abnormal cells or tumors that start in the womb from cells that normally give rise to the placenta. They are extremely rare but can happen during or after pregnancy.

Globally, 18,000 women are diagnosed annually with cancerous forms of GTD, most of whom are cured with chemotherapy or surgery.

However, up to five per cent of these women’s outcomes are fatal due to factors such as chemotherapy resistance and rare forms of the cancer such as placental site trophoblastic tumours (PSTT) that develop four or more years after the causative pregnancy has ended. (IANS)

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Breastmilk Aids to Combat Food Allergies in Newborns, says Research

Breastmilk of nursing mothers can help in protecting the newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research

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Breastmilk
Breastmilk aids in combatting diseases in Newborns. Pixabay.

New York, Nov 23: Breastmilk of nursing mothers who eat foods that commonly cause allergy, such as milk, eggs, peanut, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish during pregnancy can help protect newborns from developing food allergies, suggests a new research.

The mouse study, led by the University of Michigan, showed that when a nursing or pregnant mother is exposed to a food protein, it combines with her antibodies, which are transferred to the offspring through breasmilk and breastfeeding.

The food protein-antibody complexes are then introduced to the offspring’s developing immune system, triggering the production of protective T immune cells that suppress allergic reactions to the food.

These protective cells also persist after antibodies from the mother are gone, promoting long-term tolerance to the food.

The findings support the recent allergy prevention guidelines, which reject prior advice urging mothers to avoid high allergic foods during pregnancy or while breastfeeding breastmilk.

“This controlled study shows that mothers should feel free to eat a healthy and diverse diet throughout pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” said James R. Baker, Professor at the University of Michigan.

“Eating a range of nutritious foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding will not promote food allergies in developing babies, and may protect them from food allergy,” Baker said.

The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, showed that breast milk from mothers who consumed allergenic foods protected against food allergy, preventing anaphylaxis as well as production of immunoglobulin E and expansion of mast cells, both hallmarks of an allergic response.

Breast milk was found protective even when fed to unrelated offspring not exposed to food allergens in utero.

In other experiments, mothers who had never consumed allergenic foods were given food-specific antibodies from other mothers. This, too, protected their breastfed offspring.

Human breast milk, fed to mice with humanised immune systems (tailored to respond to human antibodies), was also protective, suggesting that the mouse findings may translate to human infants. (IANS)

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Wonder Woman Gal Gadot says second pregnancy was ‘part of the plan’

Gal Gadot was in the early stages of her pregnancy while filming "Justice League".

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Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot talks about her well-planned pregnancy. Wikimedia

Los Angeles, November 6, 2017 : Actress Gal Gadot had planned her second pregnancy well so that it caused minimal disruption to her work commitments.

The 32-year-old actress – who has daughters Alma, six, and Maya, seven months, with husband Yaron Versano – says she knew she wanted a second child, but wanted to plan it carefully, reports femalefirst.co.uk.

“I scheduled it so I wasn’t going to be too pregnant for ‘Justice League’ or when I promoted ‘Wonder Woman’. I had a lot of luck. It’s been difficult, but I had wanted to have a second child for a while,” Gadot told Glamour magazine.

She was in the early stages of her pregnancy while filming “Justice League”.

“It was challenging with morning sickness and migraines. But you adjust. You get used to feeling like s**t and having to perform,” she said, and added that working with the likes of Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill and Ezra Miller in the movie was fun”.

“Making the film with so many men, I’ve never felt so safe. Big men!”

The success of “Wonder Woman” led to several offers come her way, but Gal Gadot remains grounded.

“I’m super-appreciative because I know it’s all a big game and the rules are known in advance. When you’re successful, the phone will ring, if a film flops, there will be crickets. So I take everything with a grain of salt and enjoy it while it’s there,” she added. (IANS)