Wednesday October 18, 2017

Vitamin D supplementation for Pregnant Women should be Tailor-made, suggests Research

The skin naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight but people also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D

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Pregnant woman. Flickr

London, October 28, 2016: Pregnant women respond differently to vitamin D supplementation depending on their individual attributes, thus the supplement levels should be tailored according to individual risk factors, suggests a research.

Vitamin D is a hormone that helps the body to absorb calcium. It plays a crucial role in bone and muscle health.

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The skin naturally produces vitamin D after exposure to sunlight but people also obtain smaller amounts of the vitamin through foods, such as milk fortified with vitamin D.

The findings showed that women who delivered in the summer season, who gained less weight during pregnancy and who had higher vitamin D levels early in pregnancy tended to have higher levels of vitamin D in the blood than their counterparts.

On the other hand, vitamin D supplements were found less effective at raising the levels of the vitamin in pregnant women who delivered their babies in the winter season, have low levels of vitamin D early in pregnancy or gain more weight during pregnancy.

Women who consistently took the supplement also had higher levels of vitamin D than participants who did not, the researchers said.

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“Our study findings suggest that in order to optimise vitamin D concentrations through pregnancy, the supplemental dose given may need to be tailored to a woman’s individual circumstances, such as the anticipated season of delivery,” said Nicholas Harvey, Professor at University of Southampton in Britain.

Evidence suggests vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy can harm maternal health, foetal development and the child’s long-term skeletal health.

“It is important for pregnant women to have sufficient levels of vitamin D for the health of their baby,” Harvey added.

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For the study, the team recruited and randomised more than 800 pregnant women to take either 1,000 units (25 micrograms) of vitamin D every day or a matched placebo capsule from 14 week’s gestation until delivery of the baby.

Analysis showed that participants who received the vitamin D supplement achieved different levels of vitamin D in the blood, even though they received the same dose.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. (IANS)

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‘Parent by Choice for Choice’ : Thousands Join Protests Against Ireland’s Abortion Laws

This year's march against abortion laws was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year

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Thousands gathered to protest against Ireland's abortion laws holding placards saying "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" and "Parent by choice for choice (representational image) Wikimedia

Dublin, September 1, 2017 : Thousands of people staged a massive protest in Dublin, calling for an end to Ireland’s strict abortion laws, the media reported.

Campaigners took part in the March for Choice in the capital’s city centre on Saturday, chanting: “Hey, hey Leo (Prime Minister Leo Varadkar), the eighth amendment has got to go” and carrying banners which read: “Keep your rosaries off my ovaries” and “Parent by choice for choice”, reports the Guardian.

This year’s march against abortion laws, the sixth in a series of annual events, was more significant than ever given the latest confirmation that there will be a referendum on abortion next year.

The Irish government recently set a potential timescale of early 2018 for the referendum on the eighth amendment, the section of Ireland’s constitution imposing tight legal restrictions on terminations.

ALSO READ Anti-abortion Activists and supporters of a Woman’s right choose staged demonstrations in US

The amendment, which was voted into the constitution by referendum in 1983, affords equal rights to unborn babies and pregnant women and gives foetuses the right to life by law, the Guardian reported.

Terminations are only permitted when the life of the mother is at risk, and the maximum penalty for having an illegal abortion in Ireland is 14 years in prison.

Thousands of Irish women travel to the British mainland each year to have a legal termination.

ALSO READ DIY abortions: To do or not to do?

Anti-abortion activists staged counter events in the city and across Ireland to warn against the relaxation of the current law reports the BBC.

A pro-choice rally was also staged outside the Irish embassy in London on Saturday, with campaigners highlighting the numbers of Irish women who have traveled to the UK for an abortion in the last three decades.  (IANS)

 

 

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Bacterial infection in pregnancy may up autism risk in kids

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Bacterial infection in pregnancy may up autism risk in kids. Pixabay

New York, September 15, 2017: Babies born to mothers who experience a bacterial infection severe enough to require hospitalisation during pregnancy may be at higher risk of developing autism, a study has found.

The study, conducted on mice, revealed that the composition of bacterial populations in the mother’s digestive tract can influence whether maternal infection leads to repetitive behaviour and impaired sociability — autistic-like behaviours in offspring.

Further, irregularities that the researchers call “patches” are most common in a part of the brain known as “S1DZ” and were responsible for the behavioural abnormalities seen in mice.

“We identified a very discrete brain region that seems to be modulating all the behaviours associated with this particular model of neurodevelopmental disorder,” said Gloria Choi, Assistant Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the paper appearing in the journal Nature.

A second study in the same jounal, revealed that not all mothers who experience severe infection end up having child with autism, and similarly not all the mice in the maternal inflammation model develop behavioural abnormalities.

“This suggests that inflammation during pregnancy is just one of the factors. It needs to work with additional factors to lead all the way to that outcome,” Choi said.

Moreover, the researchers found that only the offspring of mice with one specific type of harmless bacteria, known as segmented filamentous bacteria, had behavioural abnormalities and cortical patches.

When the researchers killed those bacteria with antibiotics, the mice produced normal offspring.

If validated in human studies, the findings could offer a possible way to reduce the risk of autism, which would involve blocking the function of certain strains of bacteria found in the maternal gut, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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Genetic Testing Likely To Raise Thorny Ethical Issues around Pregnancy: Study

Genetic testing directly affects a woman's experience of pregnancy and may contribute to a decision not to transfer an embryo or to terminate an established pregnancy

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Genetic testing raises ethical issues of pregnancy. Pixabay

Wellington, Sep 05, 2017: Having a baby may never be the same again as increasingly sophisticated genetic testing is likely to raise thorny ethical issues, a New Zealand study said on Tuesday.

“Pregnant women now face a bewildering world of genetic testing,” said Jeanne Snelling, the lead author of the New Zealand Law Foundation Report.

Genetic testing in the reproductive context is a particularly high-stakes endeavour, Snelling said, adding that it directly affects a woman’s experience of pregnancy, and may contribute to a decision not to transfer an embryo or to terminate an established pregnancy, reports Xinhua news agency.

The study looks at a number of rapidly evolving genetic technologies that a woman may be offered, either during pregnancy or regarding embryos created by IVF (in-vitro fertilization).

A common feature of all of these tests is that they enable an increasing and significant amount of health-related information to be derived, compared with traditional prenatal tests, and all are associated with particular technical, ethical and legal challenges, Snelling said.

“The report considers how this new landscape reignites debates about the implications of new technology for women and how it affects the experience of pregnancy.” (IANS)