More than half of U.S. children could be obese by age 35

The majority of children growing up in America today will be obese by age 35, a new computer analysis predicts. The study's lead author, Zachary Ward, described the forecast as "sobering." But, he added, "It should not be surprising that we are heading in this direction. We are already approaching this level of adult obesity for certain subgroups [and] areas of the country." Still, Ward expressed some surprise at how strongly being obese at a very young age predicted obesity decades down the road. "For example, we found that three out of four 2-year-olds with obesity will still have obesity at age 35," he said. "For 2-year-olds with severe obesity, that number is four out five." Ward is a do

Breathing Dirty Air May Raise Miscarriage Risk

Smog might raise a woman's risk of miscarriage early in her pregnancy, a new study suggests. Chronic exposure seemed to increase that risk by more than 10 percent, according to researchers who tracked hundreds of pregnancies among couples in Michigan and Texas. "We found that both ozone and particles in the air were related to an increased risk of early pregnancy loss," said senior researcher Pauline Mendola. She is an investigator with the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Mendola and her team reviewed data from a long-term study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health that followed 501 couples between 2005 and 2009. There were 343 couples who achieved pregn

Vitamin D Linked to Fertility Outcomes in IVF Treatment

Adequate levels of vitamin D were associated with better fertility outcomes in women undergoing assisted reproduction treatment (ART), a meta-analysis of recent studies found. The analysis of 11 studies including 2,700 women reported that those with adequate vitamin D were 33% more likely to achieve live birth than those with deficient or insufficient levels (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.08-1.65), said researchers led by Justin Chu, PhD, of the University of Birmingham in the U.K. Women with adequate vitamin D were also 34% more likely to achieve a positive pregnancy test (OR 1.34, 95% CI 1.04-1.73) and 46% more likely to achieve a clinical pregnancy (OR 1.46, 95% CI 1.05-2.02), Chu's group reported on

Medical first: Doctors attempt to gene-edit a living patient's DNA

A man may soon be forever free of the previously incurable disease he was born with 44 years ago. On Monday, in a medical first, Brian Madeux received an experimental in-body gene-editing treatment intended to cure him of Mucopolysaccharidoses II, known as MPS II or Hunter syndrome, a rare disorder that causes progressive damage to the body's cells. From Madeux's point of view, the revolutionary treatment appears anything but: It was a simple matter of getting hooked up to an IV, which delivered a gene editor into his bloodstream along with copies of a corrected gene to replace the mutation he carries that is responsible for the disorder. "The infusion takes place for anywhere from two to th

Weighing Too Much or Too Little When Pregnant Can Be Risky

For women contemplating having a baby, new research adds to the evidence suggesting that starting a pregnancy at a normal weight is best. The study found that too much or even too little weight increases an expectant mom's risk for severe illnesses and death. "Not only for baby's sake, but also for your own sake, have a healthy diet and get regular exercise before pregnancy," said study lead author Dr. Sarka Lisonkova. She's an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia and the Children's and Women's Health Centre in Vancouver. "It's never too late, even if you're already pregnant," Lisonkova said, adding that weight gain during p

Waiting to conceive after miscarriage may not be needed

One miscarriage doesn’t necessarily increase the risk of another, and counseling women to delay conception after a pregnancy loss may not be warranted, a recent study suggests. Researchers in the U.S. found that women participating in a larger long-term study who conceived within three months of a pregnancy loss had the lowest likelihood of another miscarriage compared to women who waited 6 to 18 months. “We observed that the advice doctors give to women about when to start trying to get pregnant after experiencing a miscarriage varies significantly,” senior study author Digna Velez Edwards said. “Using the ‘Right from the Start’ prospective pregnancy cohort we wanted to further examine this

US fertility rate hits a record low

The US fertility rate has dropped to the lowest number reported since fertility records started being kept more than a century ago. There were 61.5 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in the year ending the first quarter of 2017, according to numbers released by the National Center for Health Statistics on November 7, 2017. This demonstrates a further decline from the previous year; at the same point in 2016, the rate was 62.5 births per 1,000 women. The report states the shift from last year to this year is significant, meaning the difference is more than experts would expect mere chance to produce, said Brady Hamilton, a statistician-demographer with the center and an expert on fertility

Male Infertility Crisis in U.S. Has Experts Baffled

Hagai Levine doesn’t scare easily. The Hebrew University public health researcher is the former chief epidemiologist for the Israel Defense Forces, which means he’s acquainted with danger and risk in a way most of his academic counterparts aren’t. So when he raises doubts about the future of the human race, it’s worth listening. Together with Shanna Swan, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Levine authored a major new analysis that tracked male sperm levels over the past few decades, and what he found frightened him. “Reproduction may be the most important function of any species,” says Levine. “Something is very wrong with

Obesity Rising: Can We Do Anything to Reverse This Deadly Trend?

Obesity is rising in many countries, but so far none have been able to stop or reverse this trend. The United States still retains the dubious distinction of being the heaviest country in the world. But obesity is a growing problem for many other nations as well. “Since 1975, the prevalence of obesity worldwide has nearly tripled,” said Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, chairman for the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, and professor of health policy and management at Emory University in Georgia. “It’s also the leading cause of preventable mortality,” he added, “because obesity leads to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other diseases.” This trend is a big shift from 20 years ago, when un

Pesticides in produce linked to infertility

New US study suggests women are less likely to get pregnant with IVF if they eat more fruit and vegetables high in residues. Women who eat fresh produce with high pesticide levels may be less likely to get pregnant, an American study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has shown. The research project examined 325 women undergoing infertility treatment with assisted reproductive technology at a clinic in Boston. Of these, 228 women had live births. The study by Environmental and Reproductive Health (EARTH) ranked the women in five groups according to their exposure to pesticide residue based on their responses in a dietary questionnaire. The results showed that

Preterm births in the U.S. rise again, signaling worrisome trend

The preterm birth rate in the U.S. has increased for the second consecutive year, according to a new report, and minorities are suffering a disproportionate share of those births. The increases, which follow nearly a decade of declines, raise concerns that gains made in women’s health care are now slipping, experts say. The annual report on preterm births by the March of Dimes, released Wednesday, found that 9.8 percent of U.S. infants were born preterm in 2016, up from 9.6 percent in 2015. And rates found in some parts of the U.S. are on par with those found in undeveloped countries in Africa and the Middle East. Preterm birth is the largest contributor to infant death in the United States

Early blood test could indicate risk of miscarriage

A blood test in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy could indicate a risk of miscarriage or premature birth, early research suggests. US doctors believe they have found molecules in the blood that can be linked to serious birth complications, months before symptoms are apparent. The findings could help doctors take steps to avoid premature birth. But experts warned against overstating the findings, citing the "small and preliminary" nature of the research. The proposed blood test screens for molecules called microRNA, which are found in blood cells in the placental bed - a thick membrane that lines the uterus during pregnancy. Predicting problems The team, from the Laboratory for Reproductive Me

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