Infertility treatment ‘does not affect offspring’s early development’

There are ongoing concerns that conception through infertility treatment may negatively impact the development of offspring. But a new study hopes to alleviate these concerns, after finding that children conceived thorugh infertility treatment were at no higher risk for early developmental delays than those who were not conceived through such treatment.

Edwina Yeung, PhD, of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) – part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – and colleagues publish their findings in JAMA Pediatrics.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1.5% of all infants in the US are conceived using assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Previous studies have suggested such treatment may lead to developmental problems among offspring; Yeung and colleagues point to a 2013 Swedish study that identified an 18% greater risk of intellectual disability among children conceived through a form of ART called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). However, many other studies have found no such association.

Additionally, the researchers note that few studies have assessed how non-ART infertility treatments, such as ovulation induction (OI) – the stimulation of ovulation through medication – impacts the risk for developmental delays among offspring.

“In response to critical data gaps, we designed the Upstate KIDS Study to specifically assess the association between the mode of conception and children’s development through age 3 years,” say the authors.

Drawing data on infertility treatment types and offspring’s development
The Upstate KIDS Study involved 1,422 mothers of 1,830 children who were conceived through infertility treatment and 3,402 mothers of 4,011 children who were not conceived through such treatment. All children were born in New York State between 2008-2010.

The team notes that parents of twins and other multiples were included in the study, and there were around three times as many singleton children in the non-treatment group than the treatment group.

Four months after the mothers gave birth, they were asked to complete a questionnaire detailing the type of infertility treatment they underwent. These included ART treatments, such as IVF, frozen embryo transfer, assisted hatching and zygote intrafallopian transfer, and the non-ART treatment OI, with or without intrauterine insemination (IUI).

When the children were aged 4-6, 8, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months, their mothers completed a questionnaire that was used to identify developmental disabilities. Specifically, the questionnaire was used to assess children’s fine motor skills, gross motor skills, communication, problem-solving abilities and personal and social functioning.

Findings ‘provide reassurance’ to couples receiving infertility treatment
Overall, the researchers found there was no difference in the risk of developmental disabilities between children conceived via infertility treatment – regardless of ART or non-ART treatments – and those who were not.

Accounting only for children who were conceived via ART, the researchers found they were more likely than those in the non-treatment group to have developmental delays; they were most likely to have difficulties with problem-solving and personal and social functioning.

However, when the team accounted for the significantly higher number of twins in the ART group – after noticing twins were at higher risk of developmental problems than singletons – there was no difference in the risk of developmental disabilities between children conceived through ART and those in the non-treatment group.

Additionally, the researchers found no difference in the percentage of children who were referred for assessment by developmental specialists between treatment and non-treatment groups.

Among children who were diagnosed with a developmental disability aged 3-4 years, the researchers identified no significant differences between those conceived through infertility treatment and those who were not.

Source: medicalnewstoday

Parkinson’s boosts creativity: Study

Parkinson's boosts creativity

If you are in a creative profession, Parkinson’s may be a blessing in disguise as researchers have found that patients of the nerve cells disease in the area of brain are more creative than their healthy peers.

Those Parkinson’s patients taking higher doses of medication are more artistic than their less-medicated counterparts, the study added.

“It began with my observation that Parkinson’s patients have a special interest in art and have creative hobbies incompatible with their physical limitations,” said Rivka Inzelberg, professor at Tel Aviv University in Israel.

For the study, the researchers conducted tests on 27 Parkinson’s patients treated with anti-Parkinson’s drugs and 27 age and education-matched healthy controls.

The tests included the Verbal Fluency exam, in which a person is asked to mention as many different words beginning with a certain letter and in a certain category (fruit, for example) as possible.

The participants were then asked to undergo a more challenging Remote Association Test, in which they had to name a fourth word (following three given words) within a fixed context.

The groups also took the Tel Aviv University Creativity Test, which tested their interpretation of abstract images and assessed the imagination inherent in answers to questions like “What can you do with sandals?”

The final exam was a version of the Test for a Novel Metaphor, adapted specifically for the study.

Throughout the testing, Parkinson’s patients offered more original answers and more thoughtful interpretations than their healthier counterparts.

In order to rule out the possibility that the creative process evident in the hobbies of patients was linked to obsessive compulsions like gambling and hoarding, to which many Parkinson’s patients fall prey, participants were also asked to fill out an extensive questionnaire.

An analysis indicated no correlation between compulsive behaviour and elevated creativity.

The study appeared in the journal Annals of Neurology.

Source: Business Standard


Skipping meds linked to more hospital visits for kids

Skipping meds linked to more hospital visits for kids

Kids and teens with asthma and type 1 diabetes often don`t take their medication as prescribed, and those that skip doses are more likely to end up in the emergency room, according to a new review.

More than half of children with a chronic illness are put on medication, but past studies have found anywhere from 50 percent to 88 percent don`t take their drugs as prescribed.

“In our experience, most patients and families are surprised to learn how prevalent this problem is, and many clinicians are as well,” lead author Meghan McGrady of the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children`s Hospital Medical Center, said.

She and co-author Kevin Hommel set out to gauge the long-term healthcare utilization consequences of children with chronic illnesses not taking their medicine.

Their review included 10 past studies, nine of which found a link between skipping medication and more hospital visits.

Nine of the studies included children with asthma and the tenth focused on those with type 1 diabetes. Most studies looked at kids between two and 18 years old; one included young adults up to age 29.

Studies tracked children`s medication use through pharmacy refill records, family questionnaires and electronic monitors.

On average, kids with asthma whose families did not fill any of their prescriptions were more likely to go to the ER than children with at least one filled prescription. Likewise, those who rarely refilled their drugs had more ER trips than children who got at least half of their prescribed refills.

For example, one 2007 study of close to 1,500 children found those with no filled prescriptions for an inhaled corticosteroid, compared to one or two, were over 10 times more likely to have an ER visit for asthma.

But the opposite seemed to be true for outpatient and primary care visits. Two studies included outpatient visits and found that the fewer prescriptions a child with asthma had filled, the less likely it was that the child would have an asthma-related primary care visit.

Taking medication as prescribed and regularly scheduling checkups are both part of proper management of chronic conditions, so a child who lags in one category might logically lag in the other, the authors write in the journal Pediatrics.

“It could be that these findings capture the profile of families who have difficulties not only taking their medications, but also attending regularly scheduled follow-up clinic visits,” McGrady told Reuters Health.

According to the American Lung Association, about 7.1 million U.S. children and teens have asthma, and in 2009, there were approximately 774,000 asthma-related ER visits for kids under 15.

Children and teens who don`t take their prescribed medications regularly are at an increased risk of health complications, and also cost the healthcare system more money in the long run, researchers said.

It`s hard to say for sure how much money kids skipping their medication costs the U.S., but estimates suggest non-adherence in general accounts for $100 to $300 billion in healthcare costs each year, Kimberly Driscoll, a pediatric psychologist who studies type 1 diabetes treatment adherence at Florida State University College of Medicine in Tallahassee, said.

“More emergency department visits means more school absences, more hospitalizations and more unnecessary medical expenses,” said Michael Rapoff, who studies pediatric adherence to medication at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

For conditions such as asthma, long-acting medications reduce inflammation but don`t appear to have an immediate effect on symptoms, so some kids are more likely to skip them, Rapoff, who wasn`t involved in the new research, told Reuters Health.

The review did not differentiate between necessary and unnecessary ER visits, but there are acute incidents when kids with asthma or diabetes really do need to go to the hospital, whether they take their medicine properly or not, he said.

“The results of this study have implications for children, their parents and their health care providers,” McGrady said. “In all, multi-disciplinary approaches to adherence promotion are an important part of providing optimal medical care.”

Source: Zee News