Category Archives: Health and Medicine

Pregnant with twins? Here are the weight gains recommended by a researcher

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh sets new guidelines for weight gain in pregnant women who expect twins. Unlike non-partners, the guidelines for twin pregnancies are not always as precise, which is why the doctors at the Graduate School of Public Health have decided to remedy the situation.

The researchers who published their study on Obstetrics & Gynecology analyzed statistical data on 27,723 pregnancies and twin births (with two children) between 2003 and 2013. This data was then compared with those of the mother, in particular with height and weight both before pregnancy and at birth.

They then worked out three upper and lower recommended weight gain limits for three types of pregnant twin women: Underweight or normal, overweight or obesity.

According to the results presented in the press release of the study, there was an increased risk of poor birth results if the weight gain was:

  • Less than 31 pounds or more than 60 pounds in underweight and normal-weight women;
  • Less than 24 pounds or more than 62 pounds in overweight women;
  • Less than 14 pounds or more than 57 pounds for obese women.

“We are not saying that an increase within these weight ranges is necessarily better for the health of the mother and her children, but simply that an increase above or below them poses a greater risk of poor health. Women should talk to their doctors to determine safe weight gain for them,” says Lisa Bodnar, lead author of the study and professor at the University of Pittsburgh.



Longer hormone therapy associated with better cognitive status in women

Increasingly, the reduction of estrogen levels during the transition to menopause is highlighted in terms of overall brain health, especially cognitive function, and cognitive decline. In order to counteract this reduction, so-called “hormone therapy” is increasingly used. A new study published during the menopause points to a longer time window for the use of hormone therapy.

Among other things, it is suspected that estrogens can play a role in increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women, considering, for example, that two-thirds of the 5.5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the USA are caused by women. Previous studies have also highlighted the role of estrogen in learning and memory.

In this new study, researchers analyzed data from 2000 postmenopausal women followed for 12 years. The results showed, according to the press release presenting the study, that increased estrogen exposure could be associated with a better cognitive status in adult women. In addition, researchers found that women who started hormone therapy earlier had higher cognitive status in cognitive tests than women who started hormone therapy later.

Stephanie Faubion, Medical Director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), comments on these findings in the press release: “Although the risk-benefit assessment of the use of hormone therapies is complicated and needs to be adjusted, this study provides further evidence of the positive cognitive effects of hormone therapy, especially when initiated immediately after menopause. This study also highlights the potential effect of early estrogen deficiency on cognitive health associated with premature or early menopause without adequate estrogen replacement.”



According to a new study, 15,000 Spaniards could suffer from a rare hereditary bone disease without knowing it

Some 15,000 Spaniards may not know they have rare bone hypophosphatasia, according to a new study published in Scientific Reports and conducted by a group of scientists from the CIBERFES research group and the University of Granada (UGR).

In fact, the researchers have created a new protocol to better detect hypophosphatasia, a rare metabolic bone disease that can also be fatal.

The researchers have discovered two new genetic mutations that can be associated with this disease, which at the diagnostic stage can be confused with other bone diseases such as osteoporosis.

By extrapolating the data from the database they analyzed, based on 78,590 patients, the researchers concluded that there could be several thousand Spaniards, between 4000 and 15000, who could be affected by this disease without knowing it.

Hypophosphatasia can lead to loss of bone mineralization and increased risk of fracture, as well as chronic pain. In children or infants (pituitary gland in childhood), it can be even more severe, leading to premature death, brain damage and respiratory problems.

This hereditary disease is potentially life-threatening, difficult to diagnose and is caused by several genetic code mutations for alkaline phosphatase (ALPL).



Children exposed to lead may have poorer neurocognitive abilities

Children and adolescents exposed to lead, an environmental pollutant, may have more difficulty falling asleep, according to a new study by the University of Michigan.

According to Erica Jansen, one of the authors of the study, children exposed to lead may have poorer neurocognitive abilities.

It is also known that sleep is associated with neurocognitive problems in children: “This highlights the possibility that sleep can play an intermediate role between exposure to lead and cognitive outcomes,” the researcher says in the press release.

The researcher herself states that she has found links between increased exposure to lead in early childhood and inadequate sleep in adolescence.

The children tested, who fell in 25% of those with the highest blood lead content, slept on average 23 minutes less than 25% of those with the lowest level.

This clearly shows a correlation between blood supply and sleep quality. The study used data from 395 participants included in a cohort study of people from Mexico City observed for up to 25 years.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.



New study shows when the best time is for taking blood pressure medication

According to a study in the European Heart Journal and the press release it presents, people with high blood pressure who take antihypertensive medication before going to bed seem to have better blood pressure control and therefore a lower risk of death or heart disease than people who take the medication in the morning.

Researchers analyzed data from 19,084 patients who had to take a pill to treat high blood pressure in the morning or before bed. These people were followed for an average of six years and their blood pressure checked at least once a year. Researchers found that patients who took medication before bed showed a risk of almost half (45%) of death or heart attack, stroke, heart failure or disease requiring a procedure to unblock narrow blood vessels (coronary revascularization) compared to patients who took pills after waking. The researchers also looked at a number of other factors such as gender, age and the presence of other diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and cholesterol.

According to Ramón C. Hermida, director of the Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Vigo and one of the authors of the study, does not currently mention the preferred time of day for taking antihypertensive drugs in the guidelines. Sometimes doctors advise taking the medication in the morning, but the researcher believes it would be a recommendation based on a misleading objective, namely lowering the typical morning blood pressure.

However, the researchers behind this study believe that a person’s average systolic blood pressure during sleep is the most important and independent indicator of cardiovascular risk. Moreover, according to the researchers behind this study, there are no studies that would show that treating high blood pressure in the morning reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“The results of this study show that patients who usually take their antihypertensive medication at bedtime, as opposed to waking up, have better blood pressure and, above all, a significantly lower risk of death or heart disease and vascular problems,” the researchers report.