A study has found that maternal diabetes, even when controlled with insulin and blood sugar levels are kept mostly in check, can cause permanent damage to the fetus.
The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Science Advances’.
More than 3 million women of birthing age in the US and 60 million in the world have diabetes — a disease that occurs when blood sugar is too high.
About 300,000 to 400,000 fetuses per year from mothers with diabetes develop neural tube defects — when the tissue that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord fails to form properly — which can lead to miscarriage or profound disability.
Using studies in mice, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers have identified the mechanism behind these structural birth defects, which they say is due to the neural tissue ageing prematurely, halting its growth before it has made enough cells to finish forming the neural tube.
The study was conducted by the UMSOM Center for Birth Defects Research, led byPeixin Yang, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Director of the Center for Birth Defects Research, and Vice-Chair of Research in the Department, and E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of UMSOM.
“Although diabetes is a disease generally associated with an older population, the modern diabetes epidemic in young people is largely fueled by obesity and inactivity. At the same time, many ageing-related diseases are impacted by diabetes, and we now know that high blood glucose seems to induce or enhance premature embryonic ageing,” said Dr Yang.
“For many decades, our hypothesis was that premature ageing, known as senescence, was occurring in the fetuses of mothers with diabetes, and was, in part, inducing these birth defects. It was only recently that we have had the tools and technology to be able to test our hypothesis,” added Dr Yang.
Finding the precise mechanism for how maternal diabetes leads to these and other kinds of birth defects in the fetus is the first step to identifying a way to prevent these abnormalities from occurring.
In the study, the researchers were able to delay the ageing process in the tissue by using a cancer drug, allowing the neural tube to fully form in mouse pups born from mice with mutations mimicking diabetes.
Their findings suggested that more specialised therapies could be developed to prevent miscarriages or birth defects in babies born from mothers with diabetes.
First, the research team showed that the neural tube tissue in 8-day old mouse pups from mothers with diabetes contained markers of premature ageing.
These markers were not found in pups from mothers that did not have diabetes. Researchers then found that the cells with premature ageing markers secreted a flurry of other chemical signals that caused the neighbouring cells to die.
Next, the researchers treated the mouse pups from mothers with diabetes with the cancer drug rapamycin, known to prevent the toxic chemical signals from being released by the prematurely ageing cells.
They found that mouse pups treated with rapamycin had neural tubes that were fully formed like those found in pups born from mothers without diabetes.
“This drug essentially made the senescent cells behave normally,” said Dr Yang.
Unfortunately, rapamycin affects too many other cell processes and can be toxic, so it would not be a viable treatment for preventing neural tube defects in human infants.
“Our next step is to see if birth defects of the heart and kidney found in fetuses born from mothers with diabetes are caused by the same senescence mechanism. If so, it would suggest that we can develop a single treatment more specialised to these developmental processes to prevent this spectrum of birth defects,” said Dean Reece.
“As mothers with diabetes have children with five times the birth defect rate compared to the general population and incidence of diabetes is ever-increasing, it is imperative that we develop ways to prevent disability and promote healthy births,” added Dean Reece.
Additional authors include Cheng Xu, PhD, Research Associate in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences; Wei-Bin Shen, PhD, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Christopher Harman, MD, the Sylvan Frieman, MD Endowed Professor and Chair in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at UMSOM, along with Sunjay Kaushal of Ann and Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, and Hidetoshi Hasuwa of Keio University.
Transplant recipients face elevated risk of developing cancer: Study
The findings of a new study suggest that people who have received organ transplants face an elevated risk of developing cancer, primarily due to immunosuppression from medications to prevent organ rejection, as well as underlying medical conditions.
An important unresolved question relates to the contribution of cancer to years of life lost among transplant recipients, which is a measure of the impact of cancer on premature death. This question was explored recently in a study published by Wiley early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
For the study, Anne-Michelle Noone, Ph.D., of the National Cancer Institute, and her colleagues examined organ transplant and cancer registry data in the United States from 1987 to 2014, with information related to all ages and all organs. The team quantified the life-years lost to cancer or the extent to which the average lifespan is shortened by cancer, among transplant recipients.
Among 221,962 transplant recipients, 13,074 (5.9 per cent) developed cancer within 10 years of transplantation. During this 10-year post-transplant period, recipients who developed cancer lost an average of 2.7 years of life due to their cancer diagnosis. In total, cancer was responsible for 11 per cent of all life-years lost due to any cause.
Lung cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma had the highest impact, and each resulted in a lifespan shortened by approximately five years. Lung recipients had the highest life-years lost due to cancer, followed by heart recipients. Also, life years lost due to cancer increased with age.
The authors stress the importance of cancer prevention and screening in transplant recipients, with special attention for those at the highest risk. “For example, there may be opportunities to screen for non-Hodgkin lymphoma especially in groups at high risk for this cancer, such as children. Also, healthcare providers should consider screening older transplant recipients with a smoking history for lung cancer, as recommended for people who smoke in the general population,” said Dr Noone.
Is it safe to mix Protein powder with Hot milk?
Protein is one of the three primary macronutrients that our body needs for its functioning (the other two are carbohydrates and fats). While our body can store carbs and fats, it cannot store protein – that is why it is essential to consume protein on a daily basis. Protein helps in building muscles, strengthening bones, improving our metabolism, and repairing body tissues among many other functions.
Food items like eggs, chicken, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils and chickpeas are high in protein. People also depend on protein powders to get an adequate intake of the nutrient in their diet.
A protein powder can simply be mixed in water or milk before consumption.
Is it safe to mix Protein powder with Hot milk?
Yes, it is safe to mix protein powder with hot milk but there’s a way to do it and there are certain things that you should keep in mind before doing it. They are:
Always mix your protein powder with a small amount of water that is at room temperature before adding in the hot milk. If you don’t do it you will get lumps in your protein shake.
Make sure that the milk that you are adding is not too hot as it will break the protein powder and make it taste stale.
The delivery of protein to your muscles slows down when added with milk as it has its own additional nutritional value and the body takes time to break it down. So if you want to stay fuller for a longer period of time, then adding milk is a good option. But if you have worked out and want your body to get an instant dose of protein – then have your protein powder with water.
India records its highest ever single-day COVID vaccination mark, administers over 88.13 lakh doses
With over 88.13 lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the last 24 hours, India has achieved the highest single-day vaccination mark on Monday.
“88 lakh India achieves the highest single-day record in #COVID19 vaccine doses. Yesterday will go down in the history of the world’s #LargestVaccineDrive. Congratulations [India],” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya tweeted on Tuesday.
The COVID-19 vaccination coverage in India has also crossed the 55-crore mark.
“Cumulatively, 55,47,30,609 vaccine doses have been administered through 62,12,108 sessions, as per the provisional report till 7 am today,” Union Health Ministry informed.
At present, India’s recovery rate is the highest since March 2020; standing at 97.51 per cent.
“Out of the people infected since the beginning of the pandemic, 3,14,48,754 people have already recovered from COVID-19 and 36,830 patients have recovered in the last 24 hours,” the ministry said.
In the last 24 hours, India has recorded 25,166 new COVID-19 cases, its lowest daily new cases in 154 days. The active caseload in the country is at 3,69,846, the lowest in 146 days, constituting only 1.15 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.
The ministry further informed that with substantially ramped up testing capacity across the country, a total of 15,63,985 tests were conducted in the last 24 hours in the country. Cumulatively, India has conducted over 49.66 crore (49,66,29,524) tests so far.
“While on one side testing capacity has been enhanced across the country, weekly positivity rate at 1.98 per cent remains less than 3 per cent for last 53 days now. The daily positivity rate also stands at 1.61 per cent. Daily positivity rate has remained below 3 per cent for the last 22 days and below 5 per cent for 71 consecutive days now,” the ministry added.
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