Genetic Mutations in Men or Women May Increase Risk of Pre-Eclampsia
Research detailed in this month’s Journal of Medical Genetics suggests that genetic mutations in men and women may contribute to the increased likelihood of developing pre-eclampsia, a potentially life-threatening pregnancy complication that usually occurs after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This study presents the first research data linking genetic mutations in men to pre-eclampsia. Also referred to as toxemia of pregnancy, pre-eclampsia refers to unusually high blood pressure in pregnant women that reduces the amount of oxygen, blood, and nutrients delivered to the fetus through the placenta. Researchers believe that oxygen molecules, which have not been neutralized by the body, may damage the cells of the placenta causing it not to develop fully and lead to pre-eclampsia. A detoxification enzyme called GSTP1-1 controls this neutralization, and pre-eclampsia is more common when the gene that triggers GSTP1-1 production is mutated in pregnant women or their male partners. Researchers suggest that couples at high risk for pre-eclampsia undergo DNA testing and may benefit from pre-conception genetic counseling.
While more research is needed to further understand the role genetics plays in the development of pre-eclampsia, this complication is of grave concern as it affects an estimated five percent of all pregnancies and can be potentially fatal to women. Risk factors for women in developing pre-eclampsia include a history of high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, or pre-eclampsia in the family. Women who smoke, are older than forty, are obese, or are malnourished also pose greater risk as well as pregnant teenagers and women expecting multiple births. Signs of pre-eclampsia include rapid weight gain, swelling of the face or arms, headaches, vision changes, and abdominal pain. Concerns should be taken seriously as pre-eclampsia can lead to seizures, kidney damage, anemia, liver damage, and problems with blood clotting and spontaneous uncontrollable bleeding in women. Pre-eclampsia may also compromise the health of newborns.
Media Resources: Reuters Health, 1/7/02; WebMD, 2001
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .