Preterm birth, prolonged labor influenced by progesterone balance

New research by the National Institutes of Health found that unbalanced progesterone signals may cause some pregnant women to experience preterm labor or prolonged labor. The study in mice — published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — provides novel insights for developing treatments.

HORMONE DIFFERENCES

During birth, hormones in the body surge in both mother and baby, sent along by the nervous system. These stress hormones are there to spur delivery and to help a baby adapt to living outside the womb. A new study finds how one is born can have an effect on the amount of stress hormones released at the time of delivery. For example, vaginal delivery had the highest presence of birth signaling hormones.

Why Do More Women Have Alzheimer’s than Men? It’s Not Just from Living Longer

Middle-aged women are more likely than men to have changes in the brain related to Alzheimer’s disease, as detected by imaging, even when there are no differences in thinking and memory. This may be associated with hormonal changes due to menopause, specifically the loss of estrogen, according to a study published in the June 24, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Mother/Infant Skin-to-Skin Touch Boosts Baby’s Brain Development and Function

As the world prioritizes social distancing due to COVID-19, new research shows that extended use of Kangaroo Care, a skin-to-skin, chest-to-chest method of caring for a baby, can positively benefit full-term infants and their mothers, which has important implications for post-partum depression. The study provides evidence that the physiology of mothers and their full-term infants is influenced by Kangaroo care: it increases oxytocin levels in mothers, and during infancy, can favorably influence both neurodevelopmental trajectories and infant neurobiological functioning.

BREAK POINT

At a glance:

Experiments in worms reveal the molecular damage caused by DEHP, a chemical commonly used to make plastics flexible
DEHP interferes with proper cell division during egg formation, leads to excessive DNA breakage, alters chromosome appearance
Abnormalities help explain known link between DEHP and human birth defects, male infertility
If replicated in further research, the insights can help inform regulatory changes, consumer choice

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Mount Sinai Researcher’s Examine the Metabolic Effects of an Oral Blood Cancer Drug

Recent study found that an effective blood cancer treatment was associated with weight gain, obesity, and increased systolic blood pressure