Loading...
Browsing Category

News

Study links Prozac, Paxil use with birth defects

paxil zoloft

A sweeping government study of thousands of women has found links between the older antidepressants Prozac and Paxil and birth defects, but has cleared other popular treatments in the class, including Celexa, Lexapro and Pfizer’s Zoloft, which is the subject of a major lawsuit over birth defect claims.

Earlier studies had raised questions about antidepressants in a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs, prompting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2005 to issue a safety warning about use of the treatments during pregnancy.

In the current study, published on Wednesday in the British Medical Journal, researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wanted to see if the birth defect risk affected the entire class of drugs, or only select treatments.

For the study, the researchers asked nearly 28,000 women if they took Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft any time from one month before conception through the third month of pregnancy and analyzed which women bore children with birth defects.

They found that many popular antidepressants – Celexa, Lexapro or Zoloft – are not associated with birth defects. Only two in the study, Prozac, sold generically as fluoxetine, and Paxil, sold generically as paroxetine, were implicated.

In women who took those two drugs early in pregnancy, birth defects occurred 2 to 3.5 times more frequently compared with women who did not take them.

continue reading

A South African man is the First Penile implant patient to father a child

 

 

The world’s second successful penile implant patient is going to be a dad, according to BBC News.

A 21-year old South African man, who had his penis removed after a botched tribal circumcision ritual, and his girlfriend are expecting their first child.

The young man, whose identity has been withheld for ethical reasons, received his new penis only this past December 2014 after a 9-hour operation.

Dr. Andre van der Merwe, the surgeon who performed the procedure, told BBC News that he was “very pleased” upon learning of the pregnancy.

The patient’s girlfriend is 4 months along. 

Per BBC:

The news of this man’s impending fatherhood is especially promising, as South Africa has some of the greatest need for penis transplants in the world, according to BBC News. Young boys in the Xhosa tribe in South Africa, for example, undergo a ritual circumcision as young as age 12. 

During this journey to manhood, boys are often isolated in mountains and forced to recover in a way that is both painful and dangerous; the penis is wrapped in strips of goat skin and the boys are allowed no food or water. The risk of infection is high in these conditions and by the time many of them seek medical help, it’s too late to save the member.

Now, at least there’s hope for the most unfortunate of these young men — and for men facing similar circumstances around the world.

According to SkyNews, it is estimated that 250 penis amputations occur in Africa every year as a result of mutilated circumcisions, which up until were often left untreated. Dr. Van der Merwe says this new transplant project can now be seen as a source of hope for many young men who are lining up to be next.

The first successful transplant was performed in 2006 on a man in China who asked that it be removed after he and his wife reports having psychological problems with it. 

Apparently, according to reports, it didn’t function well because the surgeons put it in a warming lamp after the operation. 

Volvo Innovates Pre-Installed Swivel Car Seats

volvo seat car

Volvo has revealed a concept for a swivel baby car seat installed in place of a passenger seat.

The idea is to allow parents to sit in the back seat facing the child so she can maintain eye contact with, soothe or calm baby.

Alternatively, the seat can also swivel toward the door for ease of putting the baby in and taking him out the seat.

Volvo showed the design for the XC90 crossover in Shanghai, China this week.

“We started by asking ourselves if we could make life easier for parents and safer for their children when it comes to the child seat experience,” Chief designer of interiors at Volvo Cars Concept and Monitoring Center Tisha Johnson said.

This innovation and this version of this vehicle wouldn’t be allowed in the United States.  It requires all infant and child car seats be secured in the back for maximum security from harm in the event of a sudden stop, accident or crash.

It looks neat nonetheless but maybe they could do that for the backseat for US cars.

h/t USA Today

 

Court: French Surrogate Children Finally Granted Birth Certificates and Civil Status

gavel

France’s highest court has granted legal recognition to surrogate children, in a major turnaround that will make their daily lives easier and could lead to greater acceptance of new forms of families.

The Cour de cassation ruled Friday that, while surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and immediate means to prove their French citizenship.

“This means no less than the recognition of our child, of these children’s French citizenship and of the rights that go with it,” said Dominique Boren, 51, father of a 4-year-old boy born in Russia from a surrogate mother, with his husband beside him.

Surrogacy can involve a woman carrying an embryo created by in vitro fertilization using another woman’s egg. In some cases the surrogate mother is also the genetic mother of the child. The procedures are used by heterosexual couples unable to conceive, gay couples, as well as single parents.

Until now, surrogate children were deprived of any legal connection to their parents, or any civil status in France. They were considered as children born from unknown legal parents, since their foreign birth certificates weren’t recognized. One lawyer has described them as “ghosts of the republic.”

Unlike other children born abroad to a French parent, these children couldn’t get automatic ID cards or passports, or register for state health care or other services.

This exposed them to frequent problems, because many basic tasks are impossible in France without an ID or authorization from a legal parent.

In addition to potential psychological troubles due to their incomplete identities, the children were also deprived of eventual inheritance, and faced major imbroglios in case of a divorce or the death of one parent.

continue reading

Salute to Ultimate Soccer Mom Christie Rampone, a 2015 Women’s World Cup Champ

christie rampone usa

Tonight, we congratulate the “Ultimate Soccer Mom” Christie Rampone  on winning and becoming the 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion along with members of Team USA. We also salute the 16 year team vet on her final World Cup appearance.

Rampone, who recently turned 40-years old, is the last remaining Team USA member from the 1999 team which was the last US team to win the World Cup.  She just wrapped her 5th World Cup appearance.

Rampone is also a three-time gold medalist, having won championship titles at the 2004 Athens Olympics, 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. She has finished no lower than third place in each of the World Cup or Olympic tournaments in which she has competed.

christie rampone mom

Although Rampone didn’t get a chance to play as much this tournament, she still represented moms well as she is one of a few mothers on the team. When she played against Nigeria earlier in the tournament, Rampone became the oldest woman to ever play in a World Cup.

Now, the married mom of two plans to retire and turn her focus solely on her daughters 9-year-old Riley and 5-year-old Reece and whatever sport they will pursue.

“They’ve spent a lot of their lives watching mom and traveling with mom because of what mom loves to do, so I want to be there to support them,” Rampone told ABC news “So when, you know, they start playing their games , like I want to be there for that.”

Nice. She was profiled last month by ABC News in this quick segment during Good Morning America.



ABC US News | World News

Happy Independence Day, America!

happy 4th of july

We wish all of our friends, followers, readers and supporters in the United States a very Happy 4th of July. Whether you are on the beach, cooking out, at the park, heading to the fireworks, have fun, but be alert and safe!

 

Enjoy!

 

Cuba is First Nation to Eliminate Mom-to-Baby HIV & Syphilis Transmission

cuba hiv

Great news!

The World Health Organization has announced that Cuba has become the first nation in the world to eliminate mother-to child HIV transmission.

The WHO said this advancement is proof that the end of the AIDS epidemic is indeed possible. The island nation, with whom the US has recently reconnected diplomatic ties, is also the first nation to eliminate mother-to-child syphilis transmission.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, said in a Tuesday press release. “This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation.”

To accomplish this feat, the communist nation worked with the WHO and the Pan American Health Organization in 2010 on a mission to eliminate both mother-to-child HIV and syphilis transmission. The nation provided HIV and syphilis testing for pregnant women and their partners, treatment for women who test positive and their babies then substituting vaginal deliveries for cesarean ones and bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding.

Annually, an estimated 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant and, if not treated, there is a 15% to 45% chance they will transmit the virus during pregnancy, labor, delivery or through breastfeeding. However when antiretroviral medicines are given to moms and their babies, the risk drops to a little over 1%.

This is excellent news and great to see that a “developing” non “First World” nation accomplished this milestone as it gives hope to those countries without sufficient resources that they too can eliminate the transmission as well.

h/t CNN

The Ethical Problem with DNA-Manipulated Designer Babies

Guest Post

Baby playing with a DNA strand

Ethical warning bells went off in April when Chinese researchers reported they had experimented with 85 defective human embryos to try to alter genes in every cell without otherwise damaging the DNA.

They failed. In most cases the genes were not altered at all, and in the few cases where the scientists managed to alter the genes, there were problems.

Even though the researchers had no plans to produce a live baby, their work once again raised the issue of how soon science will be able to engineer designer babies and, just as importantly, whether doing so is ethical.

“Science is moving at such a rapid pace that society can’t put off much longer deciding what it thinks about the concept,” says Peter Schattner, a scientist and author of the book Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human (www.peterschattner.com).

“Abortion has long been a challenging and controversial issue, but with our increased ability to use fetal DNA to glimpse into the potential child’s future, the moral issues have multiplied.”

As science progresses, parents may be able to choose a child based not just on the sex, but on such criteria as a child’s likelihood of excelling in sports or mathematics.

That’s when the “should they” questions will become ever more pressing, Schattner says, and several scenarios could be raised that society must face. Among them:

  •  DNA testing is less expensive than it once was. As a result, more genetic conditions are being screened in newborn babies. In 1995, five conditions generally were included in those screens. A decade later, many states were testing for 24 or more. Before long, a whole-genome DNA screening will be less expensive than individual genetic tests. But what should be done with that data? Should parents know every potential health condition a child could face throughout his or her entire life? “You also need to think about the wishes of the children,” Schattner says. “As they grow into adulthood, are they going to want to know everything about their genetic makeup?”
  •  Prenatal DNA data already lets prospective parents know whether a child will be born with Down syndrome or Tay-Sachs disease. Some parents choose abortions in those cases. But as science’s understanding of DNA improves, those parents may soon be able to learn more than just whether a future child will face a devastating disease or condition. Medical professionals will be able to tell them whether their yet-to-be-born child will be affected by less severe disabilities, such as a hearing impairment or moderate intellectual disability. How will parents and society use that information?
  • An ultrasound examination usually can reveal the sex of a child by week 12 or 13 of the pregnancy. DNA-based sex determination soon will be able to reveal that information as early as week seven. But that’s not the end of the story for any parents who might want to select their child’s sex. By combining prenatal genetic testing with in vitro fertilization, it soon will be possible to select fetuses without requiring an abortion. “The temptation to play God and choose a child on the basis of a variety of nonmedical considerations may become too strong for some parents,” Schattner says. “The potential consequences are disturbing.”

Society as a whole needs to understand the implications, he says, because science won’t be able to provide all the answers.

designer babies

“Science can only address questions of what is,” Schattner says. “In contrast, questions about what should or shouldn’t be are moral or ethical questions, and science can never answer them.

“But by understanding more fully the scientific questions about how the world is, we are in a better position to make societal and personal decisions that are in line with the moral and ethical beliefs we hold.”

About the Author

Peter Schattner (www.peterschattner.com) is a scientist, educator and writer with 30 years of research experience in molecular biology, genetics, biomedical instrumentation and physics. He is a recipient of the Technical Innovation Award from the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Schattner received his doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg and has held research and teaching positions at the University of California, California State University and Stanford Research Institute. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and reviews, as well as the textbook “Genomes, Browsers and Databases.” His latest book, “Sex, Love and DNA: What Molecular Biology Teaches Us About Being Human” is his first book for non-scientists

These are the Top 10 Companies to Work for to get Generous Paternity Leave

dad-holding-baby

Unlike progressive nations like Sweden, the United States doesn’t have federally mandated paternity leave for employers. Only 12 percent of US companies offer it.

Given that Bellyitch is an online digital blog and eMagazine and a proud member of Team Internet, we were quite elated to see that 5 of the top 10 companies with generous paternal leave as identified by TakePart are tech companies:

Change.org tops the list at #1 with its 18 weeks paternity leave offering.

Coming in behind the online petitioning site at #2 is Reddit which offers 17 weeks for birth and adoptive dads.

Facebook is number 3 on the list and it extends its leave policy to contractors as well as employers. Sweet!

Number 5 on the list is Twitter which also has a support group for new and future dads. Imagine!

Finally, rounding up tech companies on the top 5 is Google, which at #7 on the list, offers 12 weeks if Dad is the primary caregiver and then throws in an additional 5 weeks for adoptive and surrogate parents.

Awesome!

dad with baby

The other ten companies on the list are: Bank of America (#3), eco-friendly retailer Patagonia (#4),  international US-based law firm Arnold and Porter (#8), Swiss health firm Roche International‘s US offices (#9); and business management consultants Ernst & Young. (#10)

Read more details here: http://ow.ly/OHhiT

Chinese company builds Wi-Fi Router with Pregnancy Setting

Pregnant-Woman-and-Mobile-phones

Two Chinese tech firms have clashed over a new wireless router with a special setting for pregnant women.

Qihoo 360 unveiled the device, an upgrade to an existing product, which has three settings it describes on its website as wall penetration, balance and “pregnant women”.

The third setting reduces radiation emitted by the router by 70%, the firm claims.

However, tech giant Xiaomi has accused Qihoo of scaremongering.

“The so-called pregnancy mode is just a marketing tactic. Wi-fi usage is safe, so please rest assured when using it,” Xiaomi said in a post on social media site Weibo.

The two firms are fierce rivals, and Xiaomi has also recently launched a new router product, which offers six terabytes of storage and high-speed connections but does not include this setting.

continue reading