Posts Tagged ‘Female infertility’

Newly Designed Molecule Blocks Chlamydia Infections

A newly designed molecule may block the damaging effects of Chlamydia, the bacteria responsible for the largest number of sexually transmitted infections in the United States.

About 3 million cases of Chlamydia trachomatis are reported each year among Americans.

If left untreated, the infection can scar a man’s sperm-carrying tubes and permanently damage a woman’s egg-transporting fallopian tubes.

The end result can be male infertility or female infertility if the infection is not treated properly with antibiotics.

Now a team of Duke University researchers may have come up with a new way to fight off a chlamydial infection, they report in the July 21 print edition of Cell Host and Microbe.

They have designed a molecule that takes away the bacteria’s self-defense mechanisms.

Instead of directly killing the bacteria with antibiotics, they disarm a central weapon of Chlamydia, and let the body take care of the rest.

By blocking a specific enzyme with this molecule, the enzyme no longer could degrade the proteins in the cell that would normally mount an immune response to the infection.

When the enzyme is inhibited, the infected human cells effectively “commit suicide,” says lead researcher Raphael Valdivia, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Duke Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

“When the infected human cell dies, so does Chlamydia, and this ends the infection.”

Up to 25% of men infected with Chlamydia have no symptoms at all.

What’s more, almost two-thirds of men have not one but two genital infections, usually with gonorrhea, putting a double whammy of their reproductive tracts.

In women, the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease, often caused by a chlamydial infection, may also be silent.

Most often, when a fertility evaluation finds a woman’s fallopian tubes are closed, she was not aware that she had previously had a pelvic infection.

Sometimes a man does not feel any symptoms either, and he may unwittingly pass the infection back and forth with his female partner.

If the Duke approach pans out, it could be a welcome addition to help fight off chlamydial infections.

Eat Fresh To Preserve Fertility

Cut out packaged foods from your diet and you may be able to reduce the levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in your body.

Originally created as a synthetic estrogen, BPA was adopted by the chemical industry when it was discovered that it could make plastic light, clear, and shatterproof.

Now it can be found in the lining of tin cans, plastic lunch boxes, plastic water bottles, baby bottles, mobile phones, DVDs, and thousands of other products.

BPA has been linked to male infertility and has also been associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome, chromosome abnormalities in the egg, and miscarriage among women.

It has also been associated with a host of medical problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer.

If you substitute fresh foods with limited packaging for 3 days, you can significantly limit your exposure to BPAs, according to the results of a new study.

Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute and Breast Cancer Fund selected 20 participants in 5 families who said they frequently used canned and packaged foods.

The participants ate their usual diet, followed by 3 days of fresh foods that were not canned or packaged in plastic, and then returned to their usual diet.

The fresh-food diet led to an average drop of 66% in BPA levels and a 76% reduction among those with the highest BPA levels, the researchers report in the March 30 online version of Environmental Health Perspectives.

There are a number of small, preliminary studies on the effects of BPA on fertility, but it will take many years, decades even, to firm up this connection.

In the meantime, to protect your reproductive health, it’s probably prudent to limit your environmental exposure to BPA:

— Install a filter in your home to ensure your water supply is free of BPA.

— Don’t drink out of plastic containers or cans.

–Store food in glass, not plastic, containers and avoid microwaving food in plastic containers.

–Avoid eating packaged foods whenever possible.

The Breast Cancer Fund suggests that you avoid canned foods that are acidic, salty, or fatty because BPA is more likely to leach from can linings into these kinds of foods.

The Fund has created a wallet-size card that notes 10 Canned Foods to Avoid to Reduce BPA Exposure.

The “Missing Link” to Restore Fertility in Lean Women

More and more women are shedding pounds as they mimic celebrities without realizing that dramatic weight loss could damage their prospects of becoming pregnant.

Super-slim women who diet too much or exercise too much may have too little body fat to have a baby.

In addition to reducing body fat, strenuous exercise may disrupt the normal fluctuation of hormones in the menstrual cycle and interfere with menstruation or ovulation.

Besides a moderate exercise program balanced by adequate calorie intake, these women may also be able to restore their fertility by taking a synthetic version of leptin.

Leptin is a hormone that plays a key role in regulating energy intake and energy expenditure, including appetite and metabolism.

Mostly it’s been studied as a possible way to suppress the appetites of overweight people, but Harvard researchers examined leptin’s role from the opposite end of the energy spectrum by studying individuals with extremely low levels of body fat.

A new study reported on-line this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests leptin has a role in improving faulty hormone signaling when levels of body fat are extremely low.

The double-blind, placebo-controlled trial included 20 young, slim women, mostly college-age, mainly runners, who watched their diets and appeared healthy. But they had abnormal hormone levels, had ceased menstruating, and had stopped ovulating, said senior author Christos Mantzoros, MD, Dsc, Director of the Human Nutrition Unit at BIDMC and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in a press release.

Over 9 months, the women were given either a synthetic form of leptin (known as metreleptin) or a placebo in daily under-the-skin injections.

The replacement leptin resulted in significantly elevated levels of the hormone within just a month of treatment; 7 of 10 women began to menstruate and 4 of the 7 began ovulating, he said.

Dr. Mantzoros calls leptin the “missing link” in women with significantly diminished body fat that, in turn, leads to hormonal abnormalities.

The synthetic version may just be a good solution for the more than 30% of women of reproductive age who do not menstruate due to hormonal problems, particularly those with low body fat levels.

No Need to Stress Out Over Fertility

Does stress affect fertility?

A body of evidence continues to build about the effects of chronic stress on a woman’s ovulation and a man’s sperm production. Stress may lead to a cascade of hormonal events that led to inhibition of the body’s central reproductive hormone signal, and subsequently disturb ovulation or sperm production and sexual activity, write Weill Cornell fertility doctors Drs. Zev Rosenwaks and Marc Goldstein in A Baby at Last!

Humans are designed to endure acute stress. That’s a part of life. But the significant amount of stress couples endure, cycle after cycle, as they attempt to conceive may disrupt reproductive function. Normal fitness and diet routines may fall by the wayside, leading to a more frazzled, stressed lifestyle. Putting this into Eastern philosophic terms, if you are not in harmony with yourself and your culture, you are stressed.

However in studies attempting to make a direct connection between stress and lower in vitro fertilization success rates, the results are mixed.

A new meta-analysis of 14 studies and more than 3,500 infertile women undergoing assisted reproductive treatment found emotional distress did not affect their chances of becoming pregnant. In the Feb. 24, 2011 online edition of the British Medical Journal, Cardiff University psychologists conclude: “The findings of this meta-analysis should reassure women and doctors that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise the chance of becoming pregnant.”

We still need more information to determine the exact relationship between stress and its effects. It may be helpful for couples to know that anxiety and depression won’t necessarily ruin their chances of having a baby.

Award for A Baby at Last!

The Board of Directors of The American Fertility Association (The AFA) unanimously decided to honor the book “A Baby at Last!” with an Illumination Award.   The AFA founding board chair, Carolyn Berger, presented the award on November 10, 2010.


NY Resident magazine book review

Welcome to my new blog. My current news is the positive responses I’ve been getting regarding my latest book, A Baby At Last!

A very favorable review ran in this month’s issue of the Resident magazine.

A Couples’ Guide to Getting Pregnant

“Everyone seems to know someone who has a fertility problem…”  That’s the start of  A Baby At Last!: The Couples’ Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant—from Cutting-Edge Treatments to Common Sense Wisdom by Mark L. Fuerst, Zev Rosenwaks, M.D., and Marc Goldstein, M.D.

This book is for every couple seeking a solution to fertility problems. It conveys the knowledge that you are not alone and much can be done. You’ll learn when to seek help, how to find doctors and ask the right questions, what tests are worth having and why. The book covers up-to-date therapies and provides support for the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatments.

Céline Dion’s many failed attempts at in-vitro fertilization were heartbreaking but in October 2010 the 42-year-old singer gave birth to twin boys. She said, “When I think about Dr. Rosenwaks and the extraordinary talent and intelligence that allows him to combine nature and genius to create new life, I am in awe and forever grateful for his talent.”

“Sugar” Ray Leonard, six-time world boxing champion, said, “One of my toughest fights was to father children with my loving wife, Bernadette. After two failed surgeries, I found Dr. Goldstein. My greatest victories are my Olympic gold medal, my world titles, and my family, the last one with thanks due to Dr. Goldstein.”

Mark L. Fuerst’s writing talents shine. Publishers Weekly said, “The text is reader-friendly and accentuated with informative ‘Take Home Messages’ that will help couples expand their knowledge and foster fertility success.”

About the Authors

Mark L. Fuerst is a health and medical writer and coauthor of ten books including The Couple’s Guide to Fertility. His many articles on fertility have appeared in major magazines.

Zev Rosenwaks, M.D. and Marc Goldstein, M.D. are fertility experts at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, a leading pioneer in treating infertility.

By Dorri Olds