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January 2008 Archives

January 29, 2008

Caffeine Increases Risk of Miscarriage, Study Finds

A new study completed by a team at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif. has confirmed a direct correlation between caffeine and miscarriages. The study involved more than 1,000 women in San Francisco during the early stages of pregnancy. Of those women, the ones who consumed more than 200 milligrams of caffeine were twice as likely to miscarry.

Although doctors have been warning their patients for years to watch their caffeine consumption, this is the first study to confirm caffeine as the stand alone reason for a woman’s miscarriage.

To read the complete article, please see below.

Washington Post
Caffeine Increases Risk of Miscarriage, Study Finds

By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 21, 2008; A02

Caffeine consumption by pregnant women can significantly increase the risk of miscarriage, according to new research.

The study, involving more than 1,000 pregnant California women, provides the most convincing evidence to date of such a link, the researchers said.

Research previously indicated an increased risk, but scientists were unsure whether those findings were affected by the fact that women having morning sickness might be less likely to drink caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, and less likely to have miscarriages.

"The relationship between caffeine intake and miscarriage was controversial," said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., who led the study. "The question has been whether this association is really due to caffeine itself or something else."

To answer that, Li and his colleagues studied 1,063 women in the San Francisco area early in their pregnancies. They questioned the women in detail about their beverage consumption and whether they were experiencing morning sickness.

Those women who consumed 200 milligrams of caffeine or more a day were about twice as likely to miscarry, the researchers report today on the Web site of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. That's about the amount of caffeine in two five-ounce cups of coffee, five 12-ounce cans of soda or six five-ounce cups of tea, Li said.

The findings are consistent with those of earlier studies, which have found an increased risk of miscarriage from daily consumption of about 150 to 300 milligrams of caffeine, Li said.

"But we went one step further in determining whether it was the caffeine itself or it was women changing their drinking pattern," he said. "My hope is our study will remove that uncertainty. I think this should put the argument to rest."

Based on the findings, Li recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant minimize caffeine intake.

"If they have to drink caffeine-containing beverages, they should reduce the amount to one cup a day at the most," he said.

Tracy Flanagan, director of women's health at Kaiser Permanente, agreed.

"Avoiding [caffeine] may be even better. Consider switching to decaffeinated coffee and other decaffeinated beverages during your pregnancy," she said. "Learn to perk up instead with natural energy boosts, like a brisk walk, yoga stretches, snacking on dried fruits and nuts."

January 21, 2008

Resolve Advisory Committee – New Addition

I was recently asked to serve on RESOLVE's Advisory Committee for the department of Health and Human Services on the subject of embryo donation grant. I wanted to share this exciting news with my readers as well as to tell you a little bit more about RESOLVE.

The advisory committee will consist of 2 physicians, 2 attorneys, and 2 mental health professionals. As advisory committee members, we will assist in developing content for the conference modules and updating existing content. In addition, the advisory group is asked to participate in one of the RESOLVE conferences.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is a non-profit organization with the only established, nationwide network of chapters mandated to promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders. The mission of RESOLVE is to provide timely, compassionate support and information to people who are experiencing infertility and to increase awareness of infertility issues through public education and advocacy.

For more information about RESOLVE visit http://www.resolve.org/site/PageServer

Embryo-friendly technique produces stem cells – similar method to PGD used

Yahoo! News recently reported a story about a new technology for developing embryonic stem cells. The company, Advanced Cell Technology, is using preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) techniques to test and grow the stem cells. This new process, as with PGD, does not harm any human embryos.

Through their testing, the company was able to grow five batches of cells. This is a huge step for stem cell research because it shows no damage to the human embryos.

I thought the article would be of interest to my readers. Although not everyone may agree with stem cell research, it is always important to stay abreast of the current medical research. Please enjoy.

Embryo-friendly technique produces stem cells

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Thu Jan 10, 12:30 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A company that devised a way to make embryonic stem cells using a technique it said does not harm human embryos reported on Thursday it has grown five batches of cells using this method and urged President George W. Bush to endorse it.

Massachusetts-based Advanced Cell Technology has been working with a method sometimes used to test embryos for severe genetic diseases. Called preimplantation genetic diagnosis, it involves taking a single cell from an embryo when it contains only eight or so cells.

The method usually does not harm the embryo, which is frozen for possible future implantation into the mother's womb. The ACT team also froze the embryos and used the single cell that was removed as a source of human embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Robert Lanza, ACT's scientific director, said it provides a way to create mass quantities of embryonic stem cells without harming a human embryo. Current stem cell technologies require the embryo's destruction.

"This is a working technology that exists here and now. It could be used to increase the number of stem cell lines available to federal researchers immediately," Lanza said by e-mail. "We could send these cells out to researchers tomorrow."

Embryonic stem cells are the body's master cells. They can give rise to every other cell type and are found in the earliest-stage embryos.

Researchers agree they could transform medicine. But some people including Bush object to methods that might destroy human embryos, and federal funding for such research is strictly limited.


Companies such as ACT can do what they please, and other teams are looking for ways to make ordinary cells act like embryonic stem cells. Three teams of researchers reported progress last year in making what they call induced pluripotent stem cells -- transformed skin cells that look and possibly act like embryonic stem cells.

Another team generated similar cells using human egg cells only, a process called parthenogenesis.

But all the researchers also said scientists must continue to study true embryonic stem cells.

"If the White House approves this new methodology, researchers could effectively double or triple the number of stem cell lines available within a few months. Too many needless deaths continue to occur while this research is being held up," Lanza said.

"I hope the president will act now and approve these stem cell lines quickly."

In a letter to the journal Cell Stem Cell, Lanza and colleagues at the University of California, San Francisco, said they took single cells from five embryos, re-froze the embryos, and used the cells to grow batches of embryonic stem cells.

They thrived in lab dishes, as do true embryonic stem cells, and began to change into the various cell types, Lanza said.

"We discovered a new trick that allowed us to redirect the fate of the removed cell," he said.

"The stem cells we generated were completely normal and differentiated into all the cell types of the body, including insulin-producing cells, blood cells and even beating heart cells."

(Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Xavier Briand)

About January 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Dr. Werlin's Fertility World in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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