From Your Health Journal…..MedScape Today is one of my favorite web sites for quality health news, so I am happy to promote their page. Recently, I saw an interesting article on their site called Obesity May Increase Risk For Brain Abnormality In Newborns written by Laird Harrison. According to a new study, genes in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women who are overweight suggest that the brains of their growing babies are developing differently. We see so many stories about how being overweight or obese can effect one’s life, causing many health problems, but new evidence is pointing to the fact the overweight pregnant woman could also cause negative responses in their newborn babies. It is going to be interesting to read more about this in the future, once the do more research on it. An important next step in the research will be to compare brain images of the fetuses of obese and lean women. Please visit the Medscape Today web site (link provided below) to read the complete article.”
From the article…..
Genes in the amniotic fluid of pregnant women who are overweight suggest that the brains of their growing babies are developing differently, according to a new study.
This is particularly concerning because about one third of American women are obese at the time of conception (defined as a body mass index [BMI] above 30 kg/m²).
“Our analysis of cell-free fetal RNA in the amniotic fluid of obese women demonstrates differences in gene expression as early as the second trimester,” said lead researcher Andrea Edlow, MD, from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, here at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine 33rd Annual Meeting.
This small study builds on previous research that identified differences in the fetuses of lean and obese women. Epidemiologic studies have found an association between obesity in mothers and disorders such as autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in their children, Dr. Edlow pointed out to Medscape Medical News.
Meta-analyses have shown the association to be quite strong, although not unequivocal.
Brain cells don’t just multiply as a fetus matures; sometimes they die, Dr. Edlow explained. She equated the process to pruning or sculpting. “It prevents the overgrowth of unnecessary precursor cells,” she said.
Research in rodents has identified genetic and structural brain differences, including apoptosis, in the fetuses of obese and lean rats. “We know that apoptosis plays a critical role in normal brain development,” said Dr. Edlow.
So far, no genetic differences in human fetuses of obese mothers have been identified.
This study looked for such changes in amniotic fluid, which “provides a crucial window into brain development,” said Dr. Edlow.
Researchers analyzed amniotic fluid samples from 8 women with a BMI of at least 30 kg/m² and 8 with an BMI below 25 kg/m². The samples came from amniocentesis that the women underwent for reasons unrelated to this study.
Other than BMI, the 2 groups were similar, and there was no statistically significant difference in maternal or gestational age. Both groups had 4 male and 4 female fetuses.
To read the full article…..Click here