To determine whether and to what extent vitamin D deficiency is associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) risk.
We conducted a prospective nested case-control study among women in the Finnish Maternity Cohort (FMC). The FMC had 1.8 million stored serum samples taken during the pregnancies of over 800,000 women at the time of this study. Through linkages with hospital and prescription registries, we identified 1,092 women with MS diagnosed between 1983 and 2009 with at least 1 serum sample collected prior to date of MS diagnosis; =2 serum samples were available for 511 cases. Cases were matched to up to 3 controls (n = 2,123) on date of birth (±2 years) and area of residence. 25-Hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels were measured using a chemiluminescence assay. We used conditional logistic regression adjusted for year of sample collection, gravidity, and parity to estimate relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
A 50 nmol/L increase in 25(OH)D was associated with a 39% reduced risk of MS (RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.44-0.85), p = 0.003. Women with 25(OH)D levels
Cadmium, zinc, and copper from placental tissue and blood samples at the first trimester (n = 64) and at term (n = 152) were analyzed; the welfare of newborns and placental 7-ethoxycoumarin O-deethylase (ECOD) activities in vitro were determined. The study material was collected from Finland, Estonia, and Russia. The results demonstrate that Cd starts to accumulate in the placenta during the first trimester and that Zn and Cu contents were significantly higher at the first trimester than at term. Among nonsmokers a negative correlation was found between placental Cu content and birth weight of neonates. Among smokers a positive correlation between placental Zn content and birth weight and ECOD activity was found. The birth weights correlated inversely with the length of time the mothers smoked. The highest Cd concentrations were detected in the samples collected from St. Petersburg. The data demonstrate an inverse accumulation of Zn and Cd throughout the pregnancy in the placenta and maternal blood samples. Zn may act as a positive marker or even an enzymatic enhancement for the human placental vital functions. Smoking, parity, age, and especially the place of residence affect the Cd, Zn, and Cu contents and ratios in placenta and mother's blood.
To assess the accuracy of the calculated risk for trisomy 18 assigned to individual women screened with the second-trimester triple test.
The study was based on 382598 women screened in the Ontario Maternal Serum Screening Programme between October 1993 and September 2000. Of the women screened, 111 cases of trisomy 18 were identified. Originally, 92874 women were screened using a risk cut-off level method. Estimated risks of trisomy 18 were calculated by applying published population parameters for the remaining women screened using a fixed analyte cut-off method. Women were ranked according to their individual risk for trisomy 18 syndrome in decreasing order and divided into 12 groups. The mean calculated risks of having an affected pregnancy at term for each group were compared with the birth prevalence of the corresponding group after allowing for spontaneous fetal losses.
Agreement between the mean calculated risks and the observed prevalence was seen across the entire risk range, although women identified as having high-risk pregnancies had an actual prevalence that was somewhat lower than that estimated by the screen.
The calculated risk for trisomy 18 syndrome assigned to the individual woman on the basis of the risk cut-off method accurately reflects their risk of having a term trisomy 18 syndrome pregnancy.
The prospective cohort study design is ideal for examining diseases of public health importance, as its inherent temporal nature renders it advantageous for studying early life influences on health outcomes and research questions of aetiological significance. This paper will describe the development and characteristics of the All Our Babies (AOB) study, a prospective pregnancy cohort in Calgary, Alberta, Canada designed to examine determinants of maternal, infant, and child outcomes and identify barriers and facilitators in health care utilization.
Women were recruited from health care offices, communities, and through Calgary Laboratory Services before 25 weeks gestation from May 2008 to December 2010. Participants completed two questionnaires during pregnancy, a third at 4 months postpartum, and are currently being followed-up with questionnaires at 12, 24, and 36 months. Data was collected on pregnancy history, demographics, lifestyle, health care utilization, physical and mental health, parenting, and child developmental outcomes and milestones. In addition, biological/serological and genetic markers can be extracted from collected maternal and cord blood samples.
A total of 4011 pregnant women were eligible for recruitment into the AOB study. Of this, 3388 women completed at least one survey. The majority of participants were less than 35 years of age, Caucasian, Canadian born, married or in a common-law relationship, well-educated, and reported household incomes above the Calgary median. Women who discontinued after the first survey (n=123) were typically younger, non-Caucasian, foreign-born, had lower education and household income levels, were less likely to be married or in a common-law relationship, and had poor psychosocial health in early pregnancy. In general, AOB participants reflect the pregnant and parenting population at local and provincial levels, and perinatal indicators from the study are comparable to perinatal surveillance data.
The extensive and rich data collected in the AOB cohort provides the opportunity to answer complex questions about the relationships between biology, early experiences, and developmental outcomes. This cohort will contribute to the understanding of the biologic mechanisms and social/environmental pathways underlying associations between early and later life outcomes, gene-environment interactions, and developmental trajectories among children.
BACKGROUND: A full-term pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, but the underlying biologic mechanism has not been elucidated. During pregnancy, maternal serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein, an estradiol-binding protein, rise sharply. In culture, alpha-fetoprotein inhibits the growth of estrogen-sensitive cells, including estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells. Thus, we investigated whether a high level of alpha-fetoprotein in maternal serum during pregnancy is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. METHODS: From a population-based cohort of 42057 pregnant women in Denmark, enrolled in an alpha-fetoprotein-screening program from 1978 through 1996, we obtained a complete reproductive history, vital status, and a possible diagnosis of breast cancer (in 117 women) to the end of follow-up on September 1, 1998. RESULTS: During pregnancy, women with an alpha-fetoprotein level greater than or equal to the median value had a 41% lower risk of breast cancer than women with an alpha-fetoprotein level below the median value (relative risk [RR] = 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.41-0. 85). RRs for breast cancer by mother's age at childbirth were as follows: 29 years or younger, RR = 0.21 (95% CI = 0.08-0.56); 30-34 years, RR = 0.61 (95% CI = 0.32-1.14); 35-37 years, RR = 0.96 (95% CI = 0.49-1.89); and 38 years or older, RR = 0.71 (95% CI = 0.29-1. 75) (P for trend =.02). Further analyses suggested that high levels of alpha-fetoprotein were associated with a reduced incidence of aggressive disease. The most striking finding was that women with high levels of serum alpha-fetoprotein, compared with women with low levels of serum alpha-fetoprotein, showed a particularly reduced incidence of large tumors (>2 cm; RR = 0.24 [95% CI = 0.11-0.50]). CONCLUSION: A high level of alpha-fetoprotein in maternal serum during any pregnancy is associated with a low overall incidence of breast cancer and, in particular, with a low incidence of advanced breast cancer at diagnosis. This association appears particularly strong for a pregnancy occurring at a young age.
To assess pregnancy outcome in women with anaemia during pregnancy.
The study design involved a retrospective chart review of all women registering for prenatal care in the area of Kuopio University Hospital between 1990 and 2000. A haemoglobin concentration below 100g/l was used as a cutoff for anaemia and affected women (N=597) were stratified by the trimester at which anaemia was diagnosed. Multiple regression analysis was used to compare obstetric outcomes in the study groups and in non-anaemic women (N=22,202).
The frequency of anaemia was 2.6%, with 0.3% occurring in the first trimester. After controlling for confounding factors, anaemia detected in the first trimester was associated with low-birth-weight infants (OR=3.14, 95% CI: 1.35-7.28) whereas the mid- and third-trimester anaemia groups showed no significantly different outcomes when compared with the non-anaemic women. First trimester anaemia was not significantly associated with small birth weight for gestational age (OR=0.98, 95% CI: 0.41-2.17) or with premature delivery
BACKGROUND: To investigate a possible effect of age on maternal androgen levels in uncomplicated pregnancies. METHODS: A study of 134 parous women with uncomplicated pregnancies was carried out at three university hospitals in Norway and Sweden. Maternal levels of androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, testosterone and the free testosterone index were measured during weeks 17 and 33 of pregnancy. RESULTS: Maternal levels of androstenedione and testosterone had a negative association with maternal age in weeks 17 and 33 of pregnancy, while dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate and the free testosterone index were associated negatively in week 33 only. Adjustment for maternal parity, pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking and fetal gender did not affect the results. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal androgen levels decrease with increasing maternal age. The cause and possible implication of this finding remain unknown.
INTRODUCTION: Presently, no well-validated predictive tools are available for human placental transfer. We studied the transplacental passage of diazepam (DZP) in a recirculating dual human placental perfusion and compared the data with in vivo clinical data from the literature. METHODS: Term placentas from healthy mothers without medication were used. The dual, recirculating perfusion technique was used. DZP (2 microg/ml, n = 4; 200 ng/ml, n = 3) and the reference compound antipyrine (100 microg/ml) were added into the maternal circulation simultaneously. The disappearance of drugs from the maternal circulation and appearance into the fetal circulation were followed every 15 min for 2 h. RESULTS: DZP was detectable in the fetal circulation within 15 min in all of the perfusions indicating rapid transfer. DZP concentrations in the maternal circulation were higher than in the fetal circulation throughout the perfusion with both initial concentrations. At the end of the perfusion, the feto-maternal ratio was 0.48 +/- 0.11 (mean +/- S.D.) and the transfer from the maternal to the fetal compartment 18.4 +/- 3.6% with 2 microg/ml of DZP and 0.55 +/- 0.10 and 20.5 +/- 3.1% with 200 ng/ml of DZP, respectively. DZP concentrations in the perfused area of the placenta were in average 2 times higher than in the maternal perfusate and 3.6 times higher than in the fetal perfusate. Total recovery of DZP from samples, perfusion fluid, and perfused tissue was 37.6 +/- 21%. DISCUSSION: Since animal studies in vivo do not accurately predict human placental transfer and it is problematic to study placental transfer of drugs in humans in vivo, the present human placental perfusion system could serve as one part of a test battery for fetotoxicity. However, although our earlier studies and those from the literature indicate a good correlation between in vivo and placental perfusion data, the present study shows this is not the case for all drugs.
BACKGROUND: Seafood is an important source of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPs), which are essential for normal growth and development. However, the nutritional benefits could be limited by polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination. In particular, inhibition of desaturase activities by PCBs may affect the maintenance of arachidonic acid (AA) status during development. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to evaluate AA status in a birth cohort from a fishing community with a high seafood intake and a wide range of PCB exposures. DESIGN: We measured LCP concentrations in paired mother and umbilical cord serum samples obtained from 182 consecutive births in the Faroe Islands, where PCB-contaminated whale blubber forms part of the diet. PCB exposure was determined from maternal concentrations. RESULTS: Serum phospholipid AA concentrations averaged 9.14% and 16.5% (by wt) in maternal and cord serum, respectively. After adjustment for gestational age and concentrations of linoleic, alpha-linolenic, and eicosapentaenoic acids, a decrease in AA concentrations of 0.17% (by wt) (95% CI: 0.03%, 0.31%) and 0.31% (by wt) (95% CI: 0.10%, 0.52%) was seen in maternal and cord serum, respectively, for each doubling of PCB exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Increased PCB exposure was associated with a modest decrease in serum AA concentrations, which is in accordance with the experimental evidence of desaturase inhibition by PCBs. Such interference with LCP utilization could attenuate the beneficial effects of the essential lipids contained in seafood. Because AA is of key importance for growth and development, these results suggest that this possible mechanism for PCB toxicity deserves to be explored.
The association between maternal anemia and pregnancy outcomes has been investigated in many epidemiological studies, but the findings remain inconsistent. In our previous study based on the Kola Birth Registry (KBR), we observed that maternal anemia defined as hemoglobin concentration below 120 g/l was negatively associated with the risk of stillbirth and preterm birth and positively associated with foetal growth (1). However, our anemic group was heterogeneous and included women with hemoglobin between 110 and 120 g/l, which cannot be classified as anemic according to the WHO. This study aims to achieve a more detailed analysis of different maternal hemoglobin concentrations and their associations with stillbirth, preterm birth and foetal growth in using the data from the KBR.