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Aurora magazine

Does low vitamin D in pregnancy cause ADHD?

Dr. Minna Sucksdorff and Professor Andre Sourander of the University of Turku studied the effects of vitamin D deficiencies in pregnancy. Thanks to the data of over 2 million pregnancies, they have discovered a correlation between lack of vitamin D and attention deficit (ADHD). In fact, children of women with low levels of this vitamin are more likely to have children with these problems.

The team started with data from the Finnish Maternity Cohort (FMC). The registry includes over 2 million serum samples taken during all three quarters, genotype analysis, relevant prenatal factors. Among the latter, there are also the levels of the different vitamins in the mother's blood.

For the purpose of the study, the scientists focused on around 2000 children born between 1998 and 1999. Of these, 1,067 suffer from attention deficits and the others acted as a control group. Using the above records, the team analyzed maternal vitamin D levels throughout gestation. In particular, he compared them with those recommended in Finland, or 10 micrograms per day throughout the gestation. The final picture proved disheartening.

Despite the recommendations, in Finland many women suffer from vitamin D deficiency. According to the study, this translates into an increased risk of attention deficit disorder for the child. Pregnant women should therefore also pay attention to this vitamin, deficient especially in areas with little sun and in women who work indoors.


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Can gestational diabetes be predicted before pregnancy?

The team of Dr. Eran Segal, of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, has developed an algorithm to predict the risk of gestational diabetes. Before the patient gets pregnant. The test aims to identify women most at risk, so as to help them change their lifestyle to avoid the onset of the problem.

The researchers analyzed data from over 600,000 gestations. They obtained them from the database of the Israeli organization Clalit Health Services, the most important in the country with a health theme. The goal was to find a system to measure the risk of getting sick before pregnancy, a problem far from trivial.

Gestational diabetes occurs in 3-9% of gestations and represents a risk for mother and child. Just like in other types of diabetes, high blood sugar levels put mother and baby health at risk. Despite the similarity with traditional diabetes, however, gestational diabetes is often unrelated to the presence of cases in the family or in previous gestations. All this makes it much more difficult to predict whether a woman will fall ill or not.

Scientists analyzed data from thousands of women using an artificial intelligence system. Later, they used the algorithm to process more than 2,000 evaluation parameters. These included the results of glucose tolerance tests, blood tests, family history. The system revealed that 9 parameters are enough to predict whether a woman will fall ill.

Thanks to the discovery, few questions and tests will be enough to accurately calculate the risk of disease.


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Hungary offers free IVF for everyone

Hungary will offer free in vitro fertilization treatments to all couples who need it. This was announced by the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban. The measure aims to combat the democratic decline that the nation is going through, which has been getting worse and worse for four decades now.

To date, the birth rate in Hungary is 1.48 children per woman. Like other countries, Hungary is also facing demographic decline with policies to encourage the rise in births. For example, heavy tax relief is provided for women with four children or more. Starting this year, the benefits could also be extended to women with three children. However, further incentives are needed for the Prime Minister.

The current government aims to make population growth the main target of Hungary. This means support for families with many children, incentives for those who have children and aid for those who cannot conceive. Free in vitro fertilization treatments fall within this latter type of policy.

In December, the Hungarian government took control of six fertility clinics. The structures will be managed by the state and will be made available to couples with problems conceiving. Although the launch of the initiative is scheduled for February, it is still unclear which couples will be entitled to free treatments and which ones will not.


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Do pregnancy and metastasis have an evolutionary connection?

A team of researchers from UConn School of Medicine and Yale University has used pregnancy to study how metastases develop. In many mammals, the placenta invades the uterine walls; in others, the placenta is much less aggressive.

The researchers discovered a correlation between this phenomenon and the possibility of a tumor creating metastases. Principal author of the study, Dr. Kshitiz, observed endometrial cells of different species. In some animals, stromal cells are designed to resist any invasion, including that of the placenta. In contrast, the formation of the placenta in humans can be very invasive during pregnancy. Curiously, the former are much more resistant to metastasis than we are.

The study looks at the process of metastasis formation in a completely different way. At the center of the mechanism are the stromal cells, which make up the connective tissue between the organs. According to the researchers, the more cells resist the invasion of the placenta, the more they resist the invasion of metastases. In animals with resistant stromal cells, pregnancy is therefore much more controlled and it is more difficult for metastases to form in the case of cancer.

The researchers identified the genes that regulate the stroma, identifying the differences between us and the most resistant animals. This could open the door to a new type of anticancer therapy, aimed at blocking the spread of tumors.


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