This study compared fetal response to musical stimuli applied intravaginally (intravaginal music [IVM]) with application via emitters placed on the mother’s abdomen (abdominal music [ABM]). Responses were quantified by recording facial movements identified on 3D/4D ultrasound. One hundred and six normal pregnancies between 14 and 39 weeks of gestation were randomized to 3D/4D ultrasound with: (a) ABM with standard headphones (flute monody at 98.6 dB); (b) IVM with a specially designed device emitting the same monody at 53.7 dB; or © intravaginal vibration (IVV; 125 Hz) at 68 dB with the same device. Facial movements were quantified at baseline, during stimulation, and for 5 minutes after stimulation was discontinued. In fetuses at a gestational age of >16 weeks, IVM-elicited mouthing (MT) and tongue expulsion (TE) in 86.7% and 46.6% of fetuses, respectively, with significant differences when compared with ABM and IVV (p = 0.002 and p = 0.004, respectively). There were no changes from baseline in ABM and IVV. TE occurred ≥5 times in 5 minutes in 13.3% with IVM. IVM was related with higher occurrence of MT (odds ratio = 10.980; 95% confidence interval = 3.105-47.546) and TE (odds ratio = 10.943; 95% confidence interval = 2.568-77.037). The frequency of TE with IVM increased significantly with gestational age (p = 0.024). Fetuses at 16-39 weeks of gestation respond to intravaginally emitted music with repetitive MT and TE movements not observed with ABM or IVV. Our findings suggest that neural pathways participating in the auditory-motor system are developed as early as gestational week 16. These findings might contribute to diagnostic methods for prenatal hearing screening, and research into fetal neurological stimulation.
Background Despite evidence that genetic factors contribute to the duration of gestation and the risk of preterm birth, robust associations with genetic variants have not been identified. We used large data sets that included the gestational duration to determine possible genetic associations. Methods We performed a genomewide association study in a discovery set of samples obtained from 43,568 women of European ancestry using gestational duration as a continuous trait and term or preterm (<37 weeks) birth as a dichotomous outcome. We used samples from three Nordic data sets (involving a total of 8643 women) to test for replication of genomic loci that had significant genomewide association (P<5.0×10(-8)) or an association with suggestive significance (P<1.0×10(-6)) in the discovery set. Results In the discovery and replication data sets, four loci (EBF1, EEFSEC, AGTR2, and WNT4) were significantly associated with gestational duration. Functional analysis showed that an implicated variant in WNT4 alters the binding of the estrogen receptor. The association between variants in ADCY5 and RAP2C and gestational duration had suggestive significance in the discovery set and significant evidence of association in the replication sets; these variants also showed genomewide significance in a joint analysis. Common variants in EBF1, EEFSEC, and AGTR2 showed association with preterm birth with genomewide significance. An analysis of mother-infant dyads suggested that these variants act at the level of the maternal genome. Conclusions In this genomewide association study, we found that variants at the EBF1, EEFSEC, AGTR2, WNT4, ADCY5, and RAP2C loci were associated with gestational duration and variants at the EBF1, EEFSEC, and AGTR2 loci with preterm birth. Previously established roles of these genes in uterine development, maternal nutrition, and vascular control support their mechanistic involvement. (Funded by the March of Dimes and others.).
In recent years much research has been undertaken regarding the feasibility of the human uterine transplant (UTx) as a treatment for absolute uterine factor infertility (AUFI). Should it reach clinical application this procedure would allow such individuals what is often a much-desired opportunity to become not only social mothers (via adoption or traditional surrogacy arrangements), or genetic and social mothers (through gestational surrogacy) but mothers in a social, genetic and gestational sense. Like many experimental transplantation procedures such as face, hand, corneal and larynx transplants, UTx as a therapeutic option falls firmly into the camp of the quality of life (QOL) transplant, undertaken with the aim, not to save a life, but to enrich one. However, unlike most of these novel procedures - where one would be unlikely to find a willing living donor or an ethics committee that would sanction such a donation - the organs to be transplanted in UTx are potentially available from both living and deceased donors. In this article, in the light of the recent nine-case research trial in Sweden which used uteri obtained from living donors, and the assertions on the part of a number of other research teams currently preparing trials that they will only be using deceased donors, I explore the question of whether, in the case of UTx, there exist compelling moral reasons to prefer the use of deceased donors despite the benefits that may be associated with the use of organs obtained from the living.
BACKGROUND: Pregnant women consume caffeine daily. The aim of this study was to examine the association between maternal caffeine intake from different sources and (a) gestational length, particularly the risk for spontaneous preterm delivery (PTD), and (b) birth weight (BW) and the baby being small for gestational age (SGA). METHODS: This study is based on the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. A total of 59,123 women with uncomplicated pregnancies giving birth to a live singleton were identified. Caffeine intake from different sources was self-reported at gestational weeks 17, 22 and 30. Spontaneous PTD was defined as spontaneous onset of delivery between 22+0 and 36+6 weeks (n = 1,451). As there is no consensus, SGA was defined according to ultrasound-based (Marsal, n = 856), population-based (Skjaerven, n = 4,503) and customized (Gardosi, n = 4,733) growth curves. RESULTS: The main caffeine source was coffee, but tea and chocolate were the main sources in women with low caffeine intake. Median pre-pregnancy caffeine intake was 126 mg/day (IQR 40 to 254), 44 mg/day (13 to 104) at gestational week 17 and 62 mg/day (21 to 130) at gestational week 30. Coffee caffeine, but not caffeine from other sources, was associated with prolonged gestation (8 h/100 mg/day, P <10-7). Neither total nor coffee caffeine was associated with spontaneous PTD risk. Caffeine intake from different sources, measured repeatedly during pregnancy, was associated with lower BW (Marsal -28 g, Skjaerven -25 g, Gardosi -21 g per 100 mg/day additional total caffeine for a baby with expected BW 3,600 g, P <10-25). Caffeine intake of 200 to 300 mg/day increased the odds for SGA (OR Marsal 1.62, Skjaerven 1.44, Gardosi 1.27, P <0.05), compared to 0 to 50 mg/day. CONCLUSIONS: Coffee, but not caffeine, consumption was associated with marginally increased gestational length but not with spontaneous PTD risk. Caffeine intake was consistently associated with decreased BW and increased odds of SGA. The association was strengthened by concordant results for caffeine sources, time of survey and different SGA definitions. This might have clinical implications as even caffeine consumption below the recommended maximum (200 mg/day in the Nordic countries and USA, 300 mg/day according to the World Health Organization (WHO)) was associated with increased risk for SGA.
Domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) engage in a variety of relationships with humans and can be conditioned to engage in numerous behaviors using Pavlovian and operant methods Increasingly cat cognition research is providing evidence of their complex socio-cognitive and problem solving abilities. Nonetheless, it is still common belief that cats are not especially sociable or trainable. This disconnect may be due, in part, to a lack of knowledge of what stimuli cats prefer, and thus may be most motivated to work for. The current study investigated domestic cat preferences at the individual and population level using a free operant preference assessment. Adult cats from two populations (pet and shelter) were presented with three stimuli within each of the following four categories: human social interaction, food, toy, and scent. Proportion of time interacting with each stimulus was recorded. The single most-preferred stimulus from each of the four categories were simultaneously presented in a final session to determine each cat’s most-preferred stimulus overall. Although there was clear individual variability in cat preference, social interaction with humans was the most-preferred stimulus category for the majority of cats, followed by food. This was true for cats in both the pet and shelter population. Future research can examine the use of preferred stimuli as enrichment in applied settings and assess individual cats' motivation to work for their most-preferred stimulus as a measure of reinforcer efficacy.
Uterus transplantation is the first available treatment for absolute uterine infertility, which is caused by absence of the uterus or the presence of a non-functional uterus. Eleven human uterus transplantation attempts have been done worldwide but no livebirth has yet been reported.
- BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology
- Published almost 8 years ago
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of suggesting coitus as a safe and effective means to expedite labour on pregnancy duration and requirement for labour induction. DESIGN: A randomised trial. SETTING: Antenatal clinic in a university hospital in Malaysia. POPULATION: Women from 35 weeks of gestation with an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy. METHODS: The advise-coitus arm was counselled that coitus at term is a safe, natural and effective means to initiate labour and to avoid labour induction. The control arm was told coitus was safe. Both arms were asked to record coital activity. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Pregnancy duration and labour induction. RESULTS: The intervention to delivery interval (mean ± SD) was 3.2 ± 1.4 versus 3.3 ± 1.3 weeks (P = 0.417), with a gestational age at delivery of 39.4 ± 1.2 versus 39.5 ± 1.2 weeks (P = 0.112), and with labour induction rates of 126/574 (22.0%) versus 120/576 (20.8%) (P = 0.666) for the advise-coitus and control arms, respectively, with no statistical difference between the groups. Coitus prior to delivery was more often reported in the advise-coitus arm compared with the control arm: 481/574 (85.3%) versus 458/576 (79.9%) (RR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1-2.0, P = 0.019). Also, the median (interquartile range) reported number of coital acts of 3 (2-5) versus 2 (1-4) (P = 0.006) was higher for the advise-coitus arm. Other pregnancy and neonatal outcomes did not differ between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: Labour onset and labour induction did not differ in the advise-coitus arm.
Background The increasing use of the ketogenic diet (KD),particularly by women of child-bearing age, raises a question aboutits suitability during gestation. To date, no studies have thoroughlyinvestigated the direct implications of a gestational ketogenic dieton embryonic development.Methods To fill this knowledge gap we CD-1 mouse embryos whose mothers were fed either aStandard Diet (SD) or a KD 30 days prior to, as well as during gestation.Images were collected at embryonic days (E) 13.5 using Optical ProjectionTomography (OPT) and at E17.5 using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).Results An anatomical comparison of the SD and KD embryosrevealed that at E13.5 the average KD embryo was volumetrically larger,possessed a relatively larger heart but smaller brain, and had a smallerpharynx, cervical spinal cord, hypothalamus, midbrain, and pons, comparedwith the average SD embryo. At E17.5 the KD embryo was found to bevolumetrically smaller with a relatively smaller heart and thymus,but with enlarged cervical spine, thalamus, midbrain and pons.Conclusion A ketogenic diet during gestation results in alterations in embryonicorgan growth. Such alterations may be associated with organ dysfunctionand potentially behavioral changes in postnatal life.
To assess the phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of small for gestational age (SGA) fetuses without structural anomalies evident at 18-24 weeks gestation.
Domestic cats have had a 10,000-year history of cohabitation with humans and seem to have the ability to communicate with humans. However, this has not been widely examined. We studied 20 domestic cats to investigate whether they could recognize their owners by using voices that called out the subjects' names, with a habituation-dishabituation method. While the owner was out of the cat’s sight, we played three different strangers' voices serially, followed by the owner’s voice. We recorded the cat’s reactions to the voices and categorized them into six behavioral categories. In addition, ten naive raters rated the cats' response magnitudes. The cats responded to human voices not by communicative behavior (vocalization and tail movement), but by orienting behavior (ear movement and head movement). This tendency did not change even when they were called by their owners. Of the 20 cats, 15 demonstrated a lower response magnitude to the third voice than to the first voice. These habituated cats showed a significant rebound in response to the subsequent presentation of their owners' voices. This result indicates that cats are able to use vocal cues alone to distinguish between humans.