Hepatitis C Rates Spike Among Pregnant Women

Hepatitis C Rates Spike Among Pregnant Women

New data show a startling trend: Rates of hepatitis C among pregnant women have significantly increased.

Of note, rates among pregnant women who are addicted to opioids jumped by nearly 150%. An analysis of hospital discharge data from 2000 to 2015, published earlier this month in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shared these staggering figures.

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Infant Summit Spotlights Prematurity, Policy & Health Care’s “Angels on Earth”

Infant Summit Spotlights Prematurity, Policy & Health Care’s “Angels on Earth”

As CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota remembers, it was just another day at work. Until it wasn’t.  A routine prenatal check-up for Alisyn, then 30 weeks pregnant with twins, turned life changing when her doctor announced that she’d need to deliver her daughters within 48 hours.

A False Tubing Alarm for Hospitals & Preemies

A False Tubing Alarm for Hospitals & Preemies

Hospitals advised to abandon their tubing system may have been misled – news that could come as a relief to parents and health care providers of premature infants.

The trade organization for manufacturers of tubing systems used to deliver nutrition, medicine or fluids to patients recently informed hospitals that their existing devices would be “phase[d] out” starting July 1, 2020.  The organization’s statement explained that the phase-out would make way for a new series of tubing connectors known as ENFit.  The change in technology, the trade organization noted, was meant to “comply” with regulatory guidance and to increase patient safety.

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"Got Milk?" May be a Life-or-Death Question for Preemies

"Got Milk?" May be a Life-or-Death Question for Preemies

Protecting premature infants from a deadly intestinal disease, new research suggests, may boil down to a surprising combination: milk and bacteria.

According to a new study, breastmilk provides a vital antibody that binds to bacteria in a premature infant’s gut.  Preemies with higher amounts of bacteria bonded to the antibody from their mothers’ milk are less likely to develop NEC, or necrotizing enterocolitis.  And that’s no small feat. The intestinal disease can cause distended abdomen, infection, low blood pressure and shock. About 15% of infants who develop NEC die, and those who survive can face long-term health challenges.

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Infants Aren't the Only Ones Hurt by RSV

Infants Aren't the Only Ones Hurt by RSV

A seasonal respiratory virus that threatens the lives of infants also can have a ripple effect on caregivers, families and workplaces, a new data analysis demonstrates.

Respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, typically strikes between October and March with cold-like symptoms that can turn deadly for infants, especially those born prematurely. In fact, RSV bronchiolitis is the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the United States. But a new analysis of data from the SENTINEL 1 study shows the disease also has secondary effects on infants’ caregivers.

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New Hope, New Challenges for Moms with Postpartum Depression

New Hope, New Challenges for Moms with Postpartum Depression

A newly approved medication for postpartum depression could mark a major advance for new mothers – if they can access the drug.

Called brexanolone, the drug is the first ever that’s specifically approved to treat postpartum depression.  The condition affects one in nine women, who experience feelings of worthlessness and disconnect from their new baby.  The condition can be easy to miss, largely because symptoms of new motherhood such as sleeplessness and fatigue can also be symptoms of postpartum depression.  Untreated, the condition can undermine a mother’s ability to bond and care for her baby or herself. In extreme cases, it can lead to suicide.

Clinical trials of the new drug showed exciting – and near-instantaneous – results, with women improving as quickly as 48 hours after treatment.  And those benefits lasted for months afterward. One member of the FDA advisory council that recommended approval of the drug called it “groundbreaking.”  Current treatment typically includes standard antidepressants or talk therapy, both of which can require weeks to take effect.

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How Human Milk Allows Preemies to Catch Up

How Human Milk Allows Preemies to Catch Up

A diet of human milk allows the smallest of preemies to catch up on weight gain, new research confirms.

The study, published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood Fetal & Neonatal, followed preemies from their NICU discharge until they were about two years old.  Researchers considered two groups of preemies – those whose birthweight was appropriate for their gestational age, and those whose weight was especially low, even accounting for their prematurity.  Both groups were given an exclusive human milk diet while in the NICU. That is, they received only their mother’s breastmilk or donor milk, along with human-milk based fortifier. The infants did not receive bovine-based formula or fortifier.

The results suggest that an exclusive human milk diet can be a boon for both groups, but especially for the smallest of preemies.  From their first visit with researchers, at 12-15 months, to their second visit at 18-22 months, their body mass index spiked – even more so than their fellow preemies whose weight had been gestational-age appropriate at birth.

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New Evidence Validates Infant Feeding Connector Concerns

New Evidence Validates Infant Feeding Connector Concerns

A new study suggests that an increasingly widespread hospital tubing system could be inaccurate—a dangerous finding for infants.

Tubes deliver food, medicine and blood or other liquids to tiny patients in neonatal intensive care.  Mixing up the various tubes could lead to serious injury, even death. So in the mid-2000s, experts called for a new style of feeding tube connector to reduce tubing misconnections.  

In response, the ENFit style connector debuted in 2014.  Its “male” feeding tube connectors are only compatible with “female” syringe tubes.  While the design reduces the likelihood of tubing mix ups, it ushered in a new issue.

According to researchers, the ENFit tubing connector “significantly increases the opportunity for inaccurate dosing.”

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