Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered a key tool that helps sperm and eggs develop exactly 23 chromosomes each. The work, which could lead to insights into fertility, spontaneous miscarriages, cancer and developmental disorders, is published April 13 in the journal Cell. Healthy humans have 46 chromosomes, 23 from the sperm and 23 from the egg. An embryo with the wrong number of chromosomes is usually miscarried, or develops disorders such as Down's syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21. During meiosis, the cell division process that creates sperm and eggs, matching chromosomes pair up and become connected by "crossing over" with each other, said Neil Hunter, a professor of microbiology at UC Davis and senior author of the new study.
Ninety-six per cent of women who attended a preconception clinic before undergoing IVF had three or more lifestyle problems and risk factors, according to a study in the May issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Half of the obese women lost weight and nearly a third of the smokers decided to quit after receiving advice at the clinic. But the nurses were surprised that some women had no motivation to lead healthier lifestyles, even though they were prepared to go through IVF to get pregnant. For example 30% of the smokers refused to quit and 16% of the obese women weren't prepared to lose weight. Researchers from the University Medical Center in Utrecht, The Netherlands, analysed the results of questionnaires completed by 101 women who had received preconception care before IVF, together with the seven nurses who advised them.
Frida Kahlo's many haunting self-portraits have been studied by experts for decades, have attracted worldwide attention and have sold for millions of dollars at auction. Yet, despite the fact that Kahlo's work focuses largely on anatomy and failed reproduction attempts, relatively little attention has been paid to Kahlo's own body and infertility. Intrigued by the messages manifested in Kahlo's work and surprised by the apparent lack of interest by scientists in Kahlo's clinical condition, Fernando Antelo, a surgical pathologist at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center, set out to reassess the condition that caused Kahlo's infertility and inspired some of her greatest pieces. "While art historians and journalists have written extensively on Kahlo's life and artwork, there is a lack of scientific comment by physicians - who have written only a handful of papers on her health, " Antelo explained.
Many women do not fully appreciate the consequences of delaying motherhood, and expect that assisted reproductive technologies can reverse their aged ovarian function, Yale researchers reported in a study published in a recent issue of Fertility and Sterility. "There is an alarming misconception about fertility among women, " said Pasquale Patrizio, M.D., professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Yale School of Medicine and director of the Yale Fertility Center. "We also found a lack of knowledge about steps women can take early in their reproductive years to preserve the possibility of conception later in life." The report stemmed from the observations Patrizio and colleagues made that more women are coming to the fertility clinic at age 43 or older expecting that pregnancy can be instantly achieved, and they're disappointed to learn that it can't be done easily.
Brown University biologists have found a new molecule in fruit flies that is key to the information exchange needed to build wings properly. They have also uncovered evidence that an analogous protein may exist in people and may be associated with problems such as cleft lip, or premature ovarian failure. As they work together to form body parts, cells in developing organisms communicate like workers at a construction site. The discovery of a new signaling molecule in flies by Brown University biologists not only helps explain how cells send many long-haul messages, but also provides new clues for researchers who study how human development goes awry, for instance in cases of cleft lip and palate. For all the diversity of life, animal cells employ only a small set of proteins to send those jobsite signals that coordinate construction.