Prescription drug use during pregnancy is prevalent, however, not enough is known about the adverse effects they may have on the developing fetus, concludes a new review published in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist. The majority of women take prescriptions for pregnancy-related complaints and minor infections. However, a small proportion of women receive medication for treatment for chronic diseases such as asthma, depression or hypertension. The prevalence of congenital malformations is estimated at 2% of all births, of which approximately 1% are considered attributable to prescription drug use during pregnancy, states the review. Two common groups of drugs, anti-epileptics and antidepressants are explored in the review. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are the most studied group of drugs in pregnancy, with an estimated 1 in 250 pregnancies exposed.
A team of researchers has discovered a treatment for a common metabolic disorder. The study, published by Cell Press in the American Journal of Human Genetics, the official journal of the American Society of Human Genetics, reports that supplementation of nitric oxide (NO) in mice and man afflicted with argininosuccinic aciduria (ASA), a urea cycle disorder (UCD), results in long-term heart and neuropsychological improvements. UCDs are genetic metabolic conditions resulting from a deficiency in any of the enzymes of the urea cycle, which takes place primarily in the liver and is responsible for removing ammonia (a toxic nitrogen compound) from the blood stream. When this cycle cannot proceed normally, ammonia accumulates in the blood and damages the liver and nervous system. ASA is the second-most-common UCD and is caused by a deficiency in arginosuccinate lysase (ASL), the only mammalian enzyme able to generate arginine, a precursor for the synthesis of many metabolites, including nitric oxide (NO).
Chocolate, considered by some to be the "food of the gods, " has been part of the human diet for at least 4, 000 years; its origin thought to be in the region surrounding the Amazon basin. Introduced to the Western world by Christopher Columbus after his fourth voyage to the New World in 1502, chocolate is now enjoyed worldwide. Researchers estimate that the typical American consumes over 10 pounds of chocolate annually, with those living on the west coast eating the most. Wouldn't it be great if only chocolate were considered healthy? In fact, chocolate is a great source of myriad substances that scientists think might impart important health benefits. For instance, it contains compounds called "flavanols" that appear to play a variety of bodily roles including those related to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions.
High normal blood pressure becomes less of a risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD) with age, according to a new study presented today at the World Congress of Cardiology. The study, carried out over 9.3 years, evaluated the risk of different blood pressure categories among 6, 273 participants aged 30 years old and above. The results showed that the risk of developing incident CVD and CHD was significantly higher in people with high normal blood pressure during middle-age (between 30 and 60 years of age) than for people with the same high normal blood pressure aged 60 years and older. Incident CVD and CHD risk was, however, similarly high in people with diagnosed high blood pressure across all age-groups. "These results reinforce the fact that high blood pressure is a serious risk for CVD in all age groups, " said Dr.
Taking large doses of vitamin C may moderately reduce blood pressure, according to an analysis of years of research by Johns Hopkins scientists. But the researchers stopped short of suggesting people load up on supplements. "Our research suggests a modest blood pressure lowering effect with vitamin C supplementation, but before we can recommend supplements as a treatment for high blood pressure, we really need more research to understand the implications of taking them, " says Edgar "Pete" R. Miller III, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor in the division of general internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and leader of the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Roughly 30 percent of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, or hypertension, an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke.