October 16, 2020 by John Fernandez
News Roundup: No Alcohol Whatsoever for Pregnant Women; Sleep Apnea Linked to Gout
Just say no to drinking alcohol while pregnant is the latest message doctors want expectant mothers to take seriously. Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading cause of preventable birth defects and developmental problems. The warning comes on the heels of a study released this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There is no known absolutely safe type of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, the report states. Research unequivocally reveals that prenatal alcohol exposure causes a broad range of adverse developmental effects, the reports says.
Drinking during pregnancy is now linked to abnormal facial features, such as cleft palate and underdevelopment of the upper jaw. It also can cause growth retardation. Extreme outcomes of fetal alcohol exposure include fetal death and sudden infant death syndrome. Cognitive effects can show up later in life, during childhood and adolescence, and include behavioral problems, learning disabilities and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The research also found that children and adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder have a 95 percent lifetime likelihood of experiencing mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, substance use and addiction.
Refraining from alcohol use during pregnancy is an important message to be delivered by health care providers as a part of prenatal care and other health visits during pregnancy, researchers said.
— Tanya Racoobian Walton
Sleep Apnea Linked to Gout
If you have sleep apnea, you could face a higher risk of developing gout, according to a new study in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a medical journal. Gout is a painful form of arthritis that affects different joints, especially the big toe. The condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common sleep disorder that involves lapses in breathing during sleep. OSA occurs when muscles relax when you’re asleep, which causes the soft tissue in the back of the throat to collapse and block the airway. Pauses in breathing can last from 10 seconds to a minute or more, and end when the body briefly awakes to gasp for air. This cycle can continue all night long. A person with severe OSA may stop breathing hundreds of times throughout a night.
The research team reviewed data from nearly 10,000 people tracked in the U.K’s Health Improvement Network. The study identified patients who had been newly diagnosed with sleep apnea and compared their risk of developing gout with 43,000 other peers, who did not have the sleep apnea. The control group was closely matched to the the sleep apnea patients in the study, based on age, weight, gender and other factors. Study participants were tracked for a year, and during that time, the sleep apnea patients showed a 50 percent greater chance of developing gout.
“This general population-based study indicates that sleep apnea is independently associated with an increased risk of incident gout,” the researchers said.
More research is needed to uncover why sleep apnea patients face a higher risk of developing gout, the study reported.
–Sharon Harvey Rosenberg