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Lab-created heart valves that grow with the recipient could spare kids born with heart defects from the repeated valve-replacement surgeries they now endure.

University of Minnesota researchers found that lab-created valves implanted in young lambs for a year were capable of growing within the recipient.

"This is a huge step forward in pediatric heart research," said senior research...

Research into miscarriages, infertility and birth defects is now primed to undergo revolutionary advances, thanks to the creation in the lab of an early stage of human embryos by two separate international teams of scientists.

Both teams were able to use human cells to create artificial blastocysts, an early stage of conception that occurs a few days after egg fertilization but prior...

Worried about what damage the polluted air outside might pose to your health during your work commute? New research suggests you might want to worry more about the chemicals you are exposed to inside your car.

Benzene and formaldehyde are used in automobile manufacturing, and both are known to cause cancer at or above certain levels of exposure. Benzene also poses a risk of repro...

Taking prescription opioid painkillers or a common class of antibiotics during pregnancy doesn't increase the risk of major birth defects, according to two new studies.

Both are often prescribed to pregnant women. Some studies have linked them with certain birth defects, but findings have been inconsistent.

These new studies -- published Feb. 10 in the BMJ -- sought to clar...

Spina bifida is a diagnosis no parents-to-be want to hear as they await their child's birth, and the idea of performing surgery on a baby while it is still in the womb can be terrifying. But new research shows that performing the delicate procedure before the baby is born, and not after, is worth it.

The findings showed that children with myelomeningocele (the most severe form of spina bi...

Kids born with heart defects may be more likely to develop anxiety, depression and/or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), regardless of the severity of their heart condition.

Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting about 40,000 babies a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The defects...

Results from a long-term study of a gene therapy technique to prevent inherited mitochondrial disease show promise, researchers say.

Studies of the technique at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland show no adverse health effects in rhesus macaque monkeys and their offspring. The researchers said the technique could break the cycle of disease passed from mother to baby through mu...

When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, many questions go through her mind.

What treatments does she need? Will she survive? And will she still be able to have a baby?

In a review of recent research, an international team of investigators say the answer to that critical third question is yes. Though breast cancer survivors are less likely to become pregnant than the ave...

Major birth defects are associated with an increased, lifelong risk of cancer, researchers say.

It has been known that people with major birth defects have a greater risk of developing cancer as children and teens, but it wasn't clear whether the risk extends into adulthood.

To find out, Norwegian researchers compared more than 62,000 people in Scandinavia, aged 46 and younger, who ...

Pregnant women with COVID-19 have little risk of developing severe symptoms, as do their newborns, a new study finds.

In fact, 95% of these women have good outcomes, and just 3% of their babies test positive for COVID-19, researchers say.

"For 5% of COVID-19-positive pregnant women, however -- those who get very sick -- the risks to both mother and baby are significant," said study ...

In what will come as reassuring news to those who were born with a heart defect, new research finds these people aren't at increased risk for moderate or severe COVID-19.

The study included more than 7,000 adults and children who were born with a heart defect (congenital heart disease) and followed by researchers at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, in Ne...

The Zika epidemic, which began as a mosquito-borne viral infection and led to severe birth defects, affected far more people than previously thought, new research shows.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 15 countries and territories in South America, Central America and the Caribbean with a combined population of 507 million, and concluded that they had over 132 million Zi...

Genetic problems cause about 14% of cerebral palsy cases, and many of the implicated genes control the wiring of brain circuits during early fetal development, new research shows.

The largest genetic study of cerebral palsy supports previous findings and provides "the strongest evidence to date that a significant portion of cerebral palsy cases can be linked to rare genetic mutati...

People born with a hole in their heart may lose 20% or more of their exercise capacity as they age, even if the defect is repaired.

A ventricular septal defect is a hole in the wall separating the heart's pumping chambers. It can be surgically closed or left alone. People born with this defect have poorer exercise ability than healthy people.

A new study suggests that ...

The narcolepsy medicine modafinil doesn't appear to increase the risk of birth defects, according to a new study that contradicts earlier research.

"This study is based on twice as many pregnancies as earlier studies, and we find no increase in the risk of malformation in infants exposed to modafinil during pregnancy," lead author Carolyn Cesta, of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, ...

New insight into how pregnant women can pass the Zika virus to their fetus could point to ways to prevent it, researchers say.

Babies infected with Zika in the womb can have abnormally small heads (microcephaly) and other birth defects.

In this study, researchers examined placenta samples collected from pregnant women during the peak of Brazil's 2015 to 2016 Zika outbreak. S...

A drug used to treat lupus and malaria -- hydroxychloroquine -- reduced by half the risk of a potentially fatal heart condition in newborns who were at high risk for it.

The condition -- known as congenital heart block (CHB) -- results in a dangerously low heart rate.

"Our study shows hydroxychloroquine as the first, safe, and highly effective drug for preventing pregnant wom...

An expandable artificial heart valve could save children with congenital heart disease from repeated open heart surgeries as they grow up, researchers report.

Current artificial heart valves are fixed in size, meaning children need to get larger ones as they grow. Children who receive their first artificial valve before age 2 will require up to five open-heart operations before they ...

When a test showed a dangerous drop in the heart rate of Courtney Agnoli's unborn daughter, the doctor who urgently admitted her to the hospital said, "You aren't leaving here without a baby."

Doctors had already identified two critical congenital heart defects that would require surgery shortly after birth. The girl, named Tessa, was delivered by cesarean section and immediately tak...

Heart problems are often associated with older people. But every year about 1 in 110 children in the United States are born with congenital heart disease, which include a variety of defects ranging from holes in the heart to malformed or missing valves and chambers.

These defects can increase the risk for irregular heartbeats, heart infections and heart failure. In some cases, surger...

Hearing that your unborn baby has congenital heart disease can be traumatic, but now new research suggests that if you experience stress, anxiety or depression afterward it could affect your baby's brain development.

Congenital heart disease (structural problems with the heart) is the one of the most common birth defects.

"We were alarmed by the high percentage of pregnant w...

Britt Spivey knew something was wrong when his pregnant wife showed up at his work following what was supposed to be a routine doctor visit. Autumn started to cry and told him their unborn child had a heart defect. They needed to go to Texas Children's Hospital in nearby Houston.

There, a more detailed scan showed the gravity of the situation.

Normally, a heart has two col...

Some infants who appear healthy at birth after being exposed to the Zika virus in the womb develop neurological problems during their first year of life, a new study finds.

The study included pregnant women in Colombia who were exposed to Zika and had fetal MRIs and ultrasounds as their pregnancies progressed.

Of the 82 babies delivered by the women, 77 were born with no sig...

Poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy puts mothers and their babies at increased risk for serious complications, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed more than 100,000 pregnancies in more than 58,000 women with asthma in Canada.

Compared to those whose asthma was well-controlled, women who had severe asthma symptoms during pregnancy were 17% more likely to have hi...

Weight-loss surgery before pregnancy may lower obese women's odds of having a baby with major birth defects, new research suggests.

For the study, the researchers examined data on more than 33,000 births in Sweden between 2007 and 2014.

Of these, nearly 3,000 children were born to mothers who had a type of weight-loss surgery called gastric bypass before getting pregnant. T...

Women have long been told to cut out drinking if they are pregnant or think they might become pregnant.

But a new study suggests that men hoping to become fathers should also stay away from alcohol for at least six months before trying to conceive.

If would-be moms and dads drink in the three months before pregnancy, and if mom drinks during the first trimester, they run the...

If you use your feet like hands from birth, the brain will create a different "map" of the toes that's more like the one it has for the fingers, new research reveals.

That's the case with Tom Yendell and Peter Longstaff, two foot artists in the United Kingdom who were born with no hands and paint with their feet.

Researchers compared functional MRI images of their brains to...

Many people wait until they're older to have children, and that decision can raise the risk of problems like infertility and genetic abnormalities. But new research suggests there may be at least one benefit to having children later in life.

The study found that kids with at least one older parent were less likely to be defiant rule-breakers or physically aggressive.

"Older...

Hundreds of pregnancies still occur every year among U.S. women taking an acne medication that carries a high risk of birth defects, a new study finds.

"While the number of pregnancies among patients taking isotretinoin is low, even 200 pregnancies is too high," said corresponding author Dr. Arash Mostaghimi. He is director of dermatology inpatient service and co-director of the Compl...

New research shows that neurological damage for babies who were exposed to the Zika virus while in the womb continues to unfold years after birth.

Developmental problems were found in one-third of the 216 children studied, some of whom were 3 years old. The problems affected language, thinking and motor skills development. Some also had eye and hearing issues.

Surprisingly,...

When babies are born without one heart chamber, a special surgery can save their lives. But a new study shows that these patients face lifelong health issues that require special care.

Still, a new American Heart Association (AHA) scientific statement says, they can have rich and fulfilling lives.

A normal heart has two lower chambers, called ventricles. One pumps blood to ...

Children with birth defects may be at increased risk for childhood cancer, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 10 million children born in Texas, Arkansas, Michigan and North Carolina between 1992 and 2013.

Compared to children without a birth defect, those with genetic defects were almost 12 times more likely to develop cancer by age 18. Those whose ...

As laws around marijuana relax nationwide and the drug becomes more popular, American women are increasingly using pot during pregnancy, a new study finds.

The study was based on data from more than 467,000 women collected between 2002 and 2017. The researchers found that the percentage of women who said they'd used cannabis at least once during a pregnancy doubled during that time --...

Though rare, some children are born with an extra finger, a condition known as polydactyly.

Now, for the first time, a team of researchers set out to see whether having this extra appendage is somehow beneficial.

The answer is yes.

The bottom line: Having an additional finger significantly boosts a person's ability to manipulate objects, so much so that they can e...

New research should reassure dads-to-be who've had testicular cancer that treatment with radiation or chemotherapy doesn't raise the risk of fathering babies with birth defects.

"Our research set out to investigate whether treatment for the most common cancer among young men leads to a higher risk of fathering a child with a birth defect and we saw no increased risk associated with ca...

Cases in which a newborn's genitals make it unclear whether the child is a boy or girl may be more common than once believed, researchers say.

One example of what's known as ambiguous genitalia is a baby girl with an enlarged clitoris that looks more like a small penis, the study authors explained.

In some cases, infants have external sex organs that don't match their intern...

Even though the harms to babies are well known, one in nine pregnant women in the United States drinks alcohol, new research shows.

In one-third of those cases, frequent binge drinking is also often involved.

What's more, the rate of drinking during pregnancy is actually on the rise, with a slight uptick in the rate over the past decade, according to investigators from the U...

Here's bad news for some women in the military: An increased risk of minor birth defects was found among U.S. female veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf War.

Researchers examined data on minor and major birth defects among 788 children born to 522 Gulf War-era female and male veterans who were and were not deployed during the war. Women accounted for almost 30 percent of the veterans in the ...

Rikki and Greg Myers were excited to hear whether their first child would be a boy or a girl. They were hosting Thanksgiving and wanted to reveal the gender then.

Yet when the doctor spoke, the only words that mattered were, "Your baby has formed only half a heart."

The test showed their baby boy had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. With HLHS, the left side of the heart do...

Fathers-to-be who expose their pregnant partners to secondhand smoke put their babies at risk of heart defects, researchers warn.

For the new study, investigators in China reviewed 125 studies that included a total of nearly 9 million prospective parents and more than 137,000 babies with congenital heart defects.

All types of parental smoking were...

There was a significant increase in the number of infants in Japan who had surgery for complex congenital heart disease after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, a new study finds.

The disaster happened in March 2011 after a tsunami and earthquake hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, causing a meltdown and release of radioactive materials.

Researchers analy...

Women who get pregnant within a year of stillbirth have no higher risk of another stillbirth or other complications than those who wait at least two years, a new study says.

The World Health Organization recommends women wait at least two years after a live birth and at least six months after a miscarriage (loss of fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy) or induced abortion before getting...

On Feb. 1, 1961, twins Debbie and Donna Horst arrived at the White House to fanfare. The 6-year-olds, decked out in fancy dresses and satin sashes, found themselves surrounded by a pressing crowd and a sea of blinding flashbulbs as they made their way to see Jacqueline Kennedy.

The girls -- both born with holes in their aortas -- were meeting with the first lady to kick off a national...

A new study throws serious doubt on the safety of using a common yeast infection treatment during pregnancy.

Fluconazole (Diflucan) is a prescribed pill used to treat yeast infections. However, Canadian research now suggests its use greatly raises a pregnant woman's odd for miscarriage, as well as the odds that her baby will have a heart defect.

The findings could have impli...

Climate change could lead to more U.S. babies born with congenital heart defects, researchers say.

Specifically, they concluded that hotter temperatures may lead to as many as 7,000 additional cases between 2025 and 2035 in eight representative states: Arkansas, Texas, California, Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia, New York and Utah.

The Midwest, Northeast and South are forecast...

The supply of donor organs for infants needing a heart transplant is critically low, but researchers have taken a first step toward using pig hearts to fill the need.

The concept of using animal organs to save human lives has been around for years. With donor organs in short supply, the hope is that animal organs can keep patients alive while they await a human donor.

One ma...

More American infants are being born with their intestines outside of their bodies, and the disturbing trend might be linked to the opioid crisis, health officials reported Thursday.

The condition, called gastroschisis, is caused by a hole beside the belly button. The hole can be small or large, and sometimes other organs such as the stomach and liver can also be outside of the baby'...

When a woman with epilepsy uses the anti-seizure drug valproate during a pregnancy, the odds that her baby will go on to develop ADHD rise, a new study suggests.

The Danish report can't prove that valproate causes attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in these cases, only that there's an association.

But in the new study, fetal exposure to valproate was tied to 48...