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1.  The Effect of Intermittent Antenatal Iron Supplementation on Maternal and Infant Outcomes in Rural Viet Nam: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(6):e1001470.
Beverley-Anne Biggs and colleagues conduct a community-based cluster randomized trial in rural Viet Nam to compare the effect of antenatal iron-folic acid supplementation taken daily or twice weekly on maternal and infant outcomes.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Anemia affects over 500 million women, and in pregnancy is associated with impaired maternal and infant outcomes. Intermittent antenatal iron supplementation is an attractive alternative to daily dosing; however, the impact of this strategy on infant outcomes remains unclear. We compared the effect of intermittent antenatal iron supplementation with daily iron supplementation on maternal and infant outcomes in rural Viet Nam.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomised trial was conducted in Ha Nam province, Viet Nam. 1,258 pregnant women (<16 wk gestation) in 104 communes were assigned to daily iron–folic acid (IFA), twice weekly IFA, or twice weekly multiple micronutrient (MMN) supplementation. Primary outcome was birth weight. Mean birth weight was 3,148 g (standard deviation 416). There was no difference in the birth weights of infants of women receiving twice weekly IFA compared to daily IFA (mean difference [MD] 28 g; 95% CI −22 to 78), or twice weekly MMN compared to daily IFA (MD −36.8 g; 95% CI −82 to 8.2). At 32 wk gestation, maternal ferritin was lower in women receiving twice weekly IFA compared to daily IFA (geometric mean ratio 0.73; 95% CI 0.67 to 0.80), and in women receiving twice weekly MMN compared to daily IFA (geometric mean ratio 0.62; 95% CI 0.57 to 0.68), but there was no difference in hemoglobin levels. Infants of mothers who received twice weekly IFA had higher cognitive scores at 6 mo of age compared to those who received daily IFA (MD 1.89; 95% CI 0.23 to 3.56).
Conclusions
Twice weekly antenatal IFA or MMN did not produce a clinically important difference in birth weight, when compared to daily IFA supplementation. The significant improvement in infant cognitive outcomes at 6 mo of age following twice weekly antenatal IFA requires further exploration, and provides additional support for the use of intermittent, rather than daily, antenatal IFA in populations with low rates of iron deficiency.
Trial registration
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry 12610000944033
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Anemia is a common condition in which the blood does not supply the body with enough oxygen because of a low number of red blood cells or low levels of hemoglobin—the iron-containing pigment that enables red blood cells to carry oxygen. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia worldwide and, according to the World Health Organization, affects over 2 billion people: half of all pregnant women and 40% of preschool children in low- and middle-income countries are thought to be anemic. Anemia contributes to 20% of all maternal deaths and is also linked to increased maternal morbidity, higher rates of preterm birth and low birth weight, and reduced infant survival, with potential long-term consequences for child growth and development. Identifying and treating iron deficiency anemia is therefore a global health priority.
Why Was This Study Done?
Daily iron–folic acid supplementation given from early in pregnancy is the standard recommended approach to prevent and treat anemia in pregnant women, but recently the World Health Organization recommended intermittent use because of poor compliance with daily regimes (because of side effects) and poor bowel absorption. However, the evidence from many of the studies used to support this recommendation was of poor quality, and so it remains unclear whether intermittent supplementation is as, or more, effective than daily supplementation, especially in lower income settings where antenatal testing for anemia is not readily available. So in this study, the researchers conducted a community-based cluster randomized trial (where groups of people are randomized, rather than individuals) in rural Viet Nam to compare the effect of antenatal iron–folic acid supplementation taken twice weekly (either alone, or in combination with other micronutrients) with daily iron–folic acid supplementation, on maternal and infant outcomes during the first six months of life.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomized 104 communes in Ha Nam Province, Viet Nam, and enrolled 1,258 women who were less than 16 weeks pregnant into the study between September and November 2010. Although the researchers intended to register the trial before the study started, registration was delayed by a month because the supplements arrived earlier than the researchers anticipated, and they thought it best to start recruiting at that time to avoid the Vietnamese New Year, when women might be travelling. Each woman was interviewed and had blood taken for hemoglobin and iron indices (ferritin) before receiving daily iron–folic acid supplementation (426 women), twice weekly iron–folic acid supplementation (425 women), or twice weekly iron–folic acid supplementation plus micronutrients (407 women). The women had follow-up assessments at 32 weeks gestation, delivery, and at six months postpartum: their infants were assessed at birth and at six months old.
The researchers found that at enrollment, the women's average hemoglobin concentration was 123 g/l, and 12.6% of the women were anemic. At 32 weeks gestation, 10.8% of the women were anemic, but there was no difference in hemoglobin levels between the three supplement groups. The average ferritin level was 75.6 µg/l at enrollment, with 2.2% of women iron deficient. Ferritin levels decreased from enrollment to 32 weeks gestation in all supplement groups but were lower in women who took twice weekly supplements. The researchers also found that birth weight (the primary outcome) was similar in all supplement groups, and there were also no differences in gestational age or in the risk of prematurity, stillbirth, or early neonatal death. At six months, there were also no differences in the levels of infant hemoglobin, prevalence of anemia, or growth rates. However, infants born to mothers in the twice weekly iron–folic acid group had improved cognitive development compared to infants born to mothers in the daily supplement group. Finally, the researchers found that adherence rates were significantly higher in the twice weekly iron–folic acid supplement group compared to the once daily regime.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that in an area of Southeast Asia with low anemia prevalence, once daily antenatal supplementation with iron–folic acid did not provide any benefits in birth weight or improved infant growth over twice weekly supplementation. Furthermore, twice weekly supplementation with iron–folic acid was associated with improved maternal adherence rates and also improved cognitive development in infants aged six months—a finding that requires further study and provides added support for the use of intermittent iron–folic acid supplementation over daily supplementation.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001470.
The World Health Organization website has comprehensive information on anemia, including a report of global estimates and the guideline Intermittent Iron and Folic Acid Supplementation in Non-Anaemic Pregnant Women
Wikipedia provides information on iron supplementation (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001470
PMCID: PMC3708703  PMID: 23853552
2.  Comparison of Bayley-2 and Bayley-3 scores at 18 months in term infants following neonatal encephalopathy and therapeutic hypothermia 
Aim
Neuroprotection trials for neonatal encephalopathy use moderate or severe disability as an outcome, with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (Bayley-2) Index scores of <70 as part of the criteria. The Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler, 3rd Development, Third Edition (Bayley-3) have superseded Bayley-2 and yield higher than expected scores in typically developing and high-risk infants. The aim of this study, therefore, was to compare Bayley-2 scores and Bayley-3 scores in term-born infants surviving neonatal encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.
Method
Sixty-one term-born infants (37 males, 24 females; median gestational age at birth 40wks, range 36–42wks; median birthweight 3280g, range 2295–5050) following neonatal encephalopathy and hypothermia had contemporaneous assessment at 18 months using the Bayley-2 and Bayley-3.
Results
The median Bayley-3 Cognitive Composite score was 7 points higher than the median Bayley-2 Mental Developmental Index (MDI) score and the median Bayley-3 Motor Composite score was 18 points higher than the median Bayley-2 Psychomotor Developmental Index (PDI) score. Ten children had a Bayley-2 MDI of <70; only three children had Bayley-3 combined Cognitive/Language scores of <70. Eleven children had Bayley-2 PDI scores of <70 and four had modified Bayley-3 Motor Composite scores of <70. Applying regression equations to Bayley-3 scores adjusted rates of severe delay to similar proportions found using Bayley-2 scores.
Interpretation
Fewer children were classified with severe delay using the Bayley-3 than the Bayley-2, which prohibits direct comparison of scores. Increased Bayley-3 cut-off thresholds for classifying severe disability are recommended when comparing studies in this clinical group using Bayley-2 scores.
doi:10.1111/dmcn.12208
PMCID: PMC4287199  PMID: 23927586
3.  Early Second Trimester Maternal Plasma Choline and Betaine Are Related to Measures of Early Cognitive Development in Term Infants 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43448.
Background
The importance of maternal dietary choline for fetal neural development and later cognitive function has been well-documented in experimental studies. Although choline is an essential dietary nutrient for humans, evidence that low maternal choline in pregnancy impacts neurodevelopment in human infants is lacking. We determined potential associations between maternal plasma free choline and its metabolites betaine and dimethylglycine in pregnancy and infant neurodevelopment at 18 months of age.
Methodology
This was a prospective study of healthy pregnant women and their full-term, single birth infants. Maternal blood was collected at 16 and 36 weeks of gestation and infant neurodevelopment was assessed at 18 months of age for 154 mother-infant pairs. Maternal plasma choline, betaine, dimethylglycine, methionine, homocysteine, cysteine, total B12, holotranscobalamin and folate were quantified. Infant neurodevelopment was evaluated using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development–III. Multivariate regression, adjusting for covariates that impact development, was used to determine the associations between maternal plasma choline, betaine and dimethylglycine and infant neurodevelopment.
Results
The maternal plasma free choline at 16 and 36 weeks gestation was median (interquartile range) 6.70 (5.78–8.03) and 9.40 (8.10–11.3) µmol/L, respectively. Estimated choline intakes were (mean ±SD) 383±98.6 mg/day, and lower than the recommended 450 mg/day. Betaine intakes were 142±70.2 mg/day. Significant positive associations were found between infant cognitive test scores and maternal plasma free choline (B = 6.054, SE = 2.283, p = 0.009) and betaine (B = 7.350, SE = 1.933, p = 0.0002) at 16 weeks of gestation. Maternal folate, total B12, or holotranscobalamin were not related to infant development.
Conclusion
We show that choline status in the first half of pregnancy is associated with cognitive development among healthy term gestation infants. More work is needed on the potential limitation of choline or betaine in the diets of pregnant women.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043448
PMCID: PMC3423345  PMID: 22916264
4.  Effect of primary language on developmental testing in children born extremely preterm 
Aim
To better understand the impact of non-English language spoken in the home on measures of cognition, language, and behavior in toddlers born extremely preterm.
Methods
Eight hundred and fifty children born at <28 weeks gestational ages were studied. 427 male and 423 female participants from three racial/ethnic groups (White, Black, and Hispanic) were evaluated at 18-22 months adjusted age using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development 3rd edition and the Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA). Children whose primary language was Spanish (n=98) were compared with children whose primary language was English (n=752), using multivariable regression adjusted for medical and psychosocial factors.
Results
Cognitive scores were similar between groups; however, receptive, expressive and composite language scores were lower for children whose primary language was Spanish. These differences remained significant after adjustment for medical and socio-economic factors. Spanish speaking children scored worse on the BITSEA competence and problem scores using univariate analysis, but not after adjustment for medical and socio-economic factors.
Conclusions
Our finding that preterm children whose primary language was Spanish had similar cognitive but lower language scores than those whose primary language was English suggests that using English language-based testing tools may introduce bias against non-English speaking children born preterm.
doi:10.1111/apa.12310
PMCID: PMC4108617  PMID: 23735043
development; prematurity; second-language; race/ethnicity
5.  Maternal Vitamin D Status and Infant Outcomes in Rural Vietnam: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99005.
Objective
Vitamin D deficiency affects 1 billion people globally. It has an important role in bone homeostasis, brain development and modulation of the immune system and yet the impact of antenatal vitamin D deficiency on infant outcomes is poorly understood. We assessed the association of 25- hydroxyvitamin D levels (25-OHD) in late pregnancy and early infant growth and developmental outcomes in rural Vietnam.
Design and Methods
A prospective cohort study of 960 women who had previously participated in a double-blind cluster randomized controlled trial of antenatal micronutrient supplementation in rural Vietnam was undertaken. Maternal 25-OHD concentration was measured at 32 weeks gestation, and infants were followed until 6 months of age. Main outcome measures were cognitive, motor, socio-emotional and language scores using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd edition, and infant length-for-age z scores at 6 months of age.
Results
60% (582/960) of women had 25-OHD levels <75 nmol/L at 32 weeks gestation. Infants born to women with 25-OHD deficiency (<37.5 nmol/L) had reduced developmental language scores compared to those born to women who were vitamin D replete (≥75 nmol/L) (Mean Difference (MD) −3.48, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) −5.67 to −1.28). For every 25 nmol increase in 25-OHD concentration in late pregnancy, infant length-for-age z scores at 6 months of age decreased by 0.08 (95% CI −0.15 to −0.02).
Conclusions
Low maternal 25- hydroxyvitamin D levels during late pregnancy are of concern in rural Vietnam, and are associated with reduced language developmental outcomes at 6 months of age. Our findings strengthen the evidence for giving vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0099005
PMCID: PMC4072587  PMID: 24967813
6.  Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis to Prevent Mother-To-Child HIV Transmission through Breastfeeding—The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study, Kenya: A Clinical Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1001015.
Timothy Thomas and colleagues report the results of the Kisumu breastfeeding study (Kenya), a single-arm trial that assessed the feasibility and safety of a triple-antiretroviral regimen to suppress maternal HIV load in late pregnancy.
Background
Effective strategies are needed for the prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) in resource-limited settings. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study was a single-arm open label trial conducted between July 2003 and February 2009. The overall aim was to investigate whether a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen that was designed to maximally suppress viral load in late pregnancy and the first 6 mo of lactation was a safe, well-tolerated, and effective PMTCT intervention.
Methods and Findings
HIV-infected pregnant women took zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks' gestation to 6 mo post partum. Infants received single-dose nevirapine at birth. Women were advised to breastfeed exclusively and wean rapidly just before 6 mo. Using Kaplan-Meier methods we estimated HIV-transmission and death rates from delivery to 24 mo. We compared HIV-transmission rates among subgroups defined by maternal risk factors, including baseline CD4 cell count and viral load.
Among 487 live-born, singleton, or first-born infants, cumulative HIV-transmission rates at birth, 6 weeks, and 6, 12, and 24 mo were 2.5%, 4.2%, 5.0%, 5.7%, and 7.0%, respectively. The 24-mo HIV-transmission rates stratified by baseline maternal CD4 cell count <500 and ≥500 cells/mm3 were 8.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5.8%–12.0%) and 4.1% (1.8%–8.8%), respectively (p = 0.06); the corresponding rates stratified by baseline maternal viral load <10,000 and ≥10,000 copies/ml were 3.0% (1.1%–7.8%) and 8.7% (6.1%–12.3%), respectively (p = 0.01). None of the 12 maternal and 51 infant deaths (including two second-born infants) were attributed to antiretrovirals. The cumulative HIV-transmission or death rate at 24 mo was 15.7% (95% CI 12.7%–19.4%).
Conclusions
This trial shows that a maternal triple-antiretroviral regimen from late pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding for PMTCT is safe and feasible in a resource-limited setting. These findings are consistent with those from other trials using maternal triple-antiretroviral regimens during breastfeeding in comparable settings.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, about half a million children become infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Nearly all these newly infected children live in resource-limited countries and most acquire HIV from their mother, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Without intervention, 25%–50% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV during pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding. This infection rate can be reduced by treating mother and child with antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. A single dose of nevirapine (a “non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor” or NNRTI) given to the mother at the start of labor and to her baby soon after birth nearly halves the risk of MTCT. Further reductions in risk can be achieved by giving mother and baby three ARVs—an NNRTI and two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs such as zidovudine and lamivudine)—during pregnancy and perinatally (around the time of birth).
Why Was This Study Done?
Breastfeeding is crucial for child survival in poor countries but it is also responsible for up to half of MTCT. Consequently, many researchers are investigating how various ARV regimens given to mothers and/or their infants during the first few months of life as well as during pregnancy and perinatally affect MTCT. In this single-arm trial, the researchers assess the feasibility and safety of using a triple-ARV regimen to suppress the maternal HIV load (amount of virus in the blood) from late pregnancy though 6 months of breastfeeding among HIV-positive women in Kisumu, Kenya, and ask whether this approach achieves a lower HIV transmission rate than other ARV regimens that have been tested in resource-limited settings. In a single-arm trial, all the participants are given the same treatment. By contrast, in a “randomized controlled” trial, half the participants chosen at random are given the treatment under investigation and the rest are given a control treatment. A randomized controlled trial provides a better comparison of treatments than a single-arm trial but is more costly.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), HIV-infected pregnant women took a triple-ARV regimen containing zidovudine and lamivudine and either nevirapine or the protease inhibitor nelfinavir from 34–36 weeks of pregnancy to 6 months after delivery. They were advised to breastfeed their babies (who received single-dose nevirapine at birth), and to wean them rapidly just before 6 months. The researchers then used Kaplan-Meier statistical methods to estimate HIV transmission and death rates among 487 live-born infants from delivery to 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission rate rose from 2.5% at birth to 7.0% at 24 months. The cumulative HIV transmission or death rate at 24 months was 15.7%; no infant deaths were attributed to ARVs. At 24 months, 3.0% of babies born to mothers with a low viral load were HIV positive compared to 8.7% of babies born to mothers with a high viral load, a statistically significant difference. Similarly, at 24 months, 8.4% of babies born to mothers with low baseline CD4 cell counts (CD4 cells are immune system cells that are killed by HIV; CD4 cell counts indicate the level of HIV-inflicted immune system damage) were HIV positive compared to 4.1% of babies born to mothers with high baseline CD4 cell counts, although this difference did not achieve statistical significance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although these findings are limited by the single-arm design, they support the idea that giving breastfeeding women a triple-ARV regimen from late pregnancy to 6 months is a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT in resource-limited settings. The HIV transmission rates in this study are comparable to those recorded in similar trials in other resource-limited settings and are lower than MTCT rates observed previously in Kisumu in a study in which no ARVs were used. Importantly, the KiBS mothers took most of the ARVs they were prescribed and most stopped breastfeeding by 6 months as advised. The intense follow-up employed in KiBS may be partly responsible for this good adherence to the trial protocol and thus this study's findings may not be generalizable to all resource-limited settings. Nevertheless, they suggest that a simple triple-ARV regimen given to HIV-positive pregnant women regardless of their baseline CD4 cell count can reduce MTCT during pregnancy and breastfeeding in resource-limited setting.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001015.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Zeh and colleagues describes the emergence of resistance to ARVs in KiBS
Information on HIV and AIDS is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on all aspects of HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV http://www.who.int/hiv/topics/mtct/en/index.html (in several languages)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001015
PMCID: PMC3066129  PMID: 21468300
7.  Pregnancy and Infant Outcomes among HIV-Infected Women Taking Long-Term ART with and without Tenofovir in the DART Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(5):e1001217.
Diana Gibb and colleagues investigate the effect of in utero tenofovir exposure by analyzing the pregnancy and infant outcomes of HIV-infected women enrolled in the DART trial.
Background
Few data have described long-term outcomes for infants born to HIV-infected African women taking antiretroviral therapy (ART) in pregnancy. This is particularly true for World Health Organization (WHO)–recommended tenofovir-containing first-line regimens, which are increasingly used and known to cause renal and bone toxicities; concerns have been raised about potential toxicity in babies due to in utero tenofovir exposure.
Methods and Findings
Pregnancy outcome and maternal/infant ART were collected in Ugandan/Zimbabwean HIV-infected women initiating ART during The Development of AntiRetroviral Therapy in Africa (DART) trial, which compared routine laboratory monitoring (CD4; toxicity) versus clinically driven monitoring. Women were followed 15 January 2003 to 28 September 2009. Infant feeding, clinical status, and biochemistry/haematology results were collected in a separate infant study. Effect of in utero ART exposure on infant growth was analysed using random effects models.
382 pregnancies occurred in 302/1,867 (16%) women (4.4/100 woman-years [95% CI 4.0–4.9]). 226/390 (58%) outcomes were live-births, 27 (7%) stillbirths (≥22 wk), and 137 (35%) terminations/miscarriages (<22 wk). Of 226 live-births, seven (3%) infants died <2 wk from perinatal causes and there were seven (3%) congenital abnormalities, with no effect of in utero tenofovir exposure (p>0.4). Of 219 surviving infants, 182 (83%) enrolled in the follow-up study; median (interquartile range [IQR]) age at last visit was 25 (12–38) months. From mothers' ART, 62/9/111 infants had no/20%–89%/≥90% in utero tenofovir exposure; most were also zidovudine/lamivudine exposed. All 172 infants tested were HIV-negative (ten untested). Only 73/182(40%) infants were breast-fed for median 94 (IQR 75–212) days. Overall, 14 infants died at median (IQR) age 9 (3–23) months, giving 5% 12-month mortality; six of 14 were HIV-uninfected; eight untested infants died of respiratory infection (three), sepsis (two), burns (one), measles (one), unknown (one). During follow-up, no bone fractures were reported to have occurred; 12/368 creatinines and seven out of 305 phosphates were grade one (16) or two (three) in 14 children with no effect of in utero tenofovir (p>0.1). There was no evidence that in utero tenofovir affected growth after 2 years (p = 0.38). Attained height- and weight for age were similar to general (HIV-uninfected) Ugandan populations. Study limitations included relatively small size and lack of randomisation to maternal ART regimens.
Conclusions
Overall 1-year 5% infant mortality was similar to the 2%–4% post-neonatal mortality observed in this region. No increase in congenital, renal, or growth abnormalities was observed with in utero tenofovir exposure. Although some infants died untested, absence of recorded HIV infection with combination ART in pregnancy is encouraging. Detailed safety of tenofovir for pre-exposure prophylaxis will need confirmation from longer term follow-up of larger numbers of exposed children.
Trial registration
www.controlled-trials.com ISRCTN13968779
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Currently, about 34 million people (mostly in low- and middle-income countries) are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At the beginning of the epidemic, more men than women were infected with HIV but now about half of all people living with HIV/AIDS are women, most of who became infected through unprotected sex with an infected partner. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 12 million women are HIV-positive. Worldwide, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among women of child-bearing age. Moreover, most of the 400,000 children who become infected with HIV every year acquire the virus from their mother during pregnancy or birth, or through breastfeeding, so-called mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART)—treatment with cocktails of powerful antiretroviral drugs—reduces HIV-related illness and death among women, and ART given to HIV-positive mothers during pregnancy and delivery and to their newborn babies greatly reduces MTCT.
Why Was This Study Done?
Because of ongoing international efforts to increase ART coverage, more HIV-positive women in Africa have access to ART now than ever before. However, little is known about pregnancy outcomes among HIV-infected African women taking ART throughout pregnancy for their own health or about the long-term outcomes of their offspring. In particular, few studies have examined the effect of taking tenofovir (an antiretroviral drug that is now recommended as part of first-line ART) throughout pregnancy. Tenofovir readily crosses from mother to child during pregnancy and, in animal experiments, high doses of tenofovir given during pregnancy caused bone demineralization (which weakens bones), kidney problems, and impaired growth among offspring. In this study, the researchers analyze data collected on pregnancy and infant outcomes among Ugandan and Zimbabwean HIV-positive women who took ART throughout pregnancy in the Development of AntiRetroviral Therapy in Africa (DART) trial. This trial was designed to test whether ART could be safely and effectively delivered in Africa without access to the expensive laboratory tests that are routinely used to monitor ART toxicity and efficacy in developed countries.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The pregnancy outcomes of 302 women who became pregnant during the DART trial and information on birth defects among their babies were collected as part of the DART protocol; information on the survival, growth, and development of the infants born to these women was collected in a separate infant study. Most of the women who became pregnant were taking tenofovir-containing ART before and throughout their pregnancies. 58% of the pregnancies resulted in a live birth, 7% resulted in a stillbirth (birth of a dead baby at any time from 22 weeks gestation to the end of pregnancy), and 35% resulted in a termination or miscarriage (before 22 weeks gestation). Of the 226 live births, seven infants died within 2 weeks and seven had birth defects. Similar proportions of the infants exposed and not exposed to tenofovir during pregnancy died soon after birth or had birth defects. Of the 182 surviving infants who were enrolled in the infant study, 14 subsequently died at an average age of 9 months, giving a 1-year mortality of 5%. None of the surviving children who were tested (172 infants) were HIV infected. No bone fractures or major kidney problems occurred during follow-up and prebirth exposure to tenofovir in utero had no effect on growth or weight gain at 2 years (in contrast to a previous US study).
What Do These Findings Mean?
By showing that prebirth tenofovir exposure does not affect pregnancy outcomes or increase birth defects, growth abnormalities, or kidney problems, these findings support the use of tenofovir-containing ART during pregnancy among HIV-positive African women, and suggest that it could also be used to prevent women of child-bearing age acquiring HIV-infection heterosexually. Notably, the observed 5% 1-year infant mortality is similar to the 2%–4% infant mortality normally seen in the region. The absence of HIV infection among the infants born to the DART participants is also encouraging. However, this is a small study (only 111 infants were exposed to tenofovir throughout pregnancy) and women were not randomly assigned to receive tenofovir-containing ART. Consequently, more studies are needed to confirm that tenofovir exposure during pregnancy does not affect pregnancy outcomes or have any long-term effects on infants. Such studies are essential because the use of tenofovir as a treatment for women who are HIV-positive is likely to increase and tenofovir may also be used in the future to prevent HIV acquisition in HIV-uninfected women.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001217.
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and infectious diseases on all aspects of HIV infection and AIDS
NAM/aidsmap provides basic information about HIV/AIDS, and summaries of recent research findings on HIV care and treatment (in several languages)
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS nonprofit on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including detailed information on HIV/AIDS treatment and care, women, HIV and AIDS, children, HIV and AIDS, and on HIV/AIDS and pregnancy (some information in English and Spanish); personal stories of women living with HIV are available
More information about the DART trial is available
Additional patient stories about living with HIV/AIDS are available through the nonprofit website Healthtalkonline
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001217
PMCID: PMC3352861  PMID: 22615543
8.  Neurodevelopment and In Utero Antiretroviral Exposure of HIV-Exposed Uninfected Infants 
Pediatrics  2010;125(2):e250-e260.
OBJECTIVE
Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are routinely provided to HIV-infected pregnant women to prevent HIV mother-to-child transmission. Although ARV use has significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission to <2% in the United States, it remains crucial to monitor uninfected infants and children for adverse consequences of in utero ARV exposure.
METHODS
We studied neurodevelopmental function in HIV-exposed uninfected children who were enrolled in Pediatric AIDS Clinical Trials Group 219/219C, a multisite, prospective, cohort study. Mental and motor functioning were assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), first and second editions. ARV exposure information was collected during pregnancy or within the first years of life. Linear regression methods were used to evaluate the association of in utero ARV exposure on Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index at 2 years of age, controlling for demographic factors (age, gender, and race/ethnicity) and potential confounders: test version, primary language, primary caregiver, caregiver education level, low birth weight, geographic and urban/rural location, birth year, and maternal illicit drug use.
RESULTS
Among 1840 infants who were born between 1993 and 2006, 1694 (92%) were exposed to ARV in utero and 146 (8%) were not exposed. After controlling for confounders, children who were exposed in utero to any ARV did not have lower Mental Developmental Index and Psychomotor Developmental Index scores than unexposed children. Among low birth weight infants, significantly higher BSID scores were observed for prenatally ARV-exposed than unexposed children. Maternal illicit drug use was reported for 17% of mothers but was not associated with BSID scores.
CONCLUSIONS
Mental and motor functioning scores were not lower for infants with in utero ARV exposure compared with no exposure. Although these results are reassuring, continued evaluation of uninfected children with in utero ARV exposure for long-term adverse outcomes is important.
doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1112
PMCID: PMC2951128  PMID: 20083530
Bayley scales; mental development; motor development; maternal health; antiretroviral treatment; low birth weight
9.  Safety of Perinatal Exposure to Antiretroviral Medications: Developmental Outcomes in Infants 
Background
This study evaluated effects of perinatal exposure to antiretroviral (ARV) medications on neurodevelopment of HIV-exposed, uninfected infants.
Methods
HIV-exposed, uninfected infants (age 9-15 months) enrolled in SMARTT, a multisite prospective surveillance study, completed the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development—Third Edition (Bayley-III), assessing cognition, language, motor skills, social-emotional development, and adaptive behavior. Linear regression models were used to evaluate associations between Bayley-III outcomes in infants with and without perinatal and neonatal ARV exposure, by regimen (combination ARV [cARV] versus non-cARV), type of regimen (defined by drug class), and individual ARVs (for infants with cARV exposure), adjusting for maternal and infant health and demographic covariates.
Results
As of May 2010, 374 infants had valid Bayley-III evaluations. Median age at testing was 12.7 months; 49% male, 79% black, 16% Hispanic. Seventy-nine percent were exposed to regimens containing protease inhibitors (PIs; 9% of PI-containing regimens also included non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors [NNRTIs]), 5% to regimens containing NNRTIs (without PI), and 14% to regimens containing only nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs). Overall, 83% were exposed to cARV. No Bayley-III outcome was significantly associated with overall exposure to cARV, ARV regimen, or neonatal prophylaxis. For individual ARVs, following sensitivity analyses, the adjusted group mean on the Language domain was within age expectations but significantly lower for infants with perinatal exposure to atazanavir (p=0.01).
Conclusions
These results support the safety of perinatal ARV use. Continued monitoring for adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in older children is warranted, and the safety of atazanavir merits further study.
doi:10.1097/INF.0b013e318284129a
PMCID: PMC3723344  PMID: 23340561
HIV; ARV; infant; neurodevelopment; developmental assessment
10.  Advanced Paternal Age Is Associated with Impaired Neurocognitive Outcomes during Infancy and Childhood 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(3):e1000040.
Background
Advanced paternal age (APA) is associated with an increased risk of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, as well as with dyslexia and reduced intelligence. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between paternal age and performance on neurocognitive measures during infancy and childhood.
Methods and Findings
A sample of singleton children (n = 33,437) was drawn from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project. The outcome measures were assessed at 8 mo, 4 y, and 7 y (Bayley scales, Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale, Graham-Ernhart Block Sort Test, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Wide Range Achievement Test). The main analyses examined the relationship between neurocognitive measures and paternal or maternal age when adjusted for potential confounding factors. Advanced paternal age showed significant associations with poorer scores on all of the neurocognitive measures apart from the Bayley Motor score. The findings were broadly consistent in direction and effect size at all three ages. In contrast, advanced maternal age was generally associated with better scores on these same measures.
Conclusions
The offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood. In light of secular trends related to delayed fatherhood, the clinical implications and the mechanisms underlying these findings warrant closer scrutiny.
Using a sample of children from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project, John McGrath and colleagues show that the offspring of older fathers exhibit subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Over the last few decades, changes in society in the developed world have made it increasingly common for couples to wait until their late thirties to have children. In 1993, 25% of live births within marriage in England and Wales were to fathers aged 35–54 years, but by 2003 it was 40%. It is well known that women's fertility declines with age and that older mothers are more likely to have children with disabilities such as Down's syndrome. In contrast, many men can father children throughout their lives, and little attention has been paid to the effects of older fatherhood.
More recent evidence shows that a man's age does affect both fertility and the child's health. “Advanced paternal age” has been linked to miscarriages, birth deformities, cancer, and specific behavioral problems such as autism or schizophrenia.
Rates of autism have increased in recent decades, but the cause is unknown. Studies of twins and families have suggested there may be a complex genetic basis, and it is suspected that damage to sperm, which can accumulate over a man's lifetime, may be responsible. A woman's eggs are formed largely while she is herself in the womb, but sperm-making cells divide throughout a man's lifetime, increasing the chance of mutations in sperm.
Why Was This Study Done?
There is good evidence linking specific disorders with older fathers, but the link between a father's age and a child's more general intelligence is not as clear. A recent study suggested a link between reduced intelligence and both very young and older fathers. The authors wanted to use this large dataset to test the idea that older fathers have children who do worse on tests of intelligence. They also wanted to re-examine others' findings using this same dataset that older mothers have more intelligent children.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers gathered no new data but reanalyzed data on children from the US Collaborative Perinatal Project (CPP), which had used a variety of tests given to children at ages 8 months, 4 years, and 7 years, to measure cognitive ability—the ability to think and reason, including concentration, memory, learning, understanding, speaking, and reading. Some tests included assessments of “motor skills”—physical co-ordination.
The CPP dataset holds information on children of 55,908 expectant mothers who attended 12 university-affiliated hospital clinics in the United States from 1959 to 1965. The researchers excluded premature babies and multiple births and chose one pregnancy at random for each eligible woman, to keep their analysis simpler. This approach reduced the number of children in their analysis to 33,437.
The researchers analyzed the data using two models. In one, they took into account physical factors such as the parents' ages. In the other, they also took into account social factors such as the parents' level of education and income, which are linked to intelligence. In addition, the authors grouped the children by their mother's age and, within each group, looked for a link between the lowest-scoring children and the age of their father.
The researchers found that children with older fathers had lower scores on all of the measures except one measure of motor skills. In contrast, children with older mothers had higher scores. They found that the older the father, the more likely was this result found.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study is the first to show that children of older fathers perform less well in a range of tests when young, but cannot say whether those children catch up with their peers after the age of 7 years. Results may also be biased because information was more likely to be missing for children whose father's age was not recorded.
Previous researchers had proposed that children of older mothers may perform better in tests because they experience a more nurturing home environment. If this is the case, children of older fathers do not experience the same benefit.
However, further work needs to be done to confirm these findings. Especially in newer datasets, current trends to delay parenthood mean these findings have implications for individuals, couples, and policymakers. Individuals and couples need to be aware that the ages of both partners can affect their ability to have healthy children, though the risks for individual children are small. Policymakers should consider promoting awareness of the risks of delaying parenthood or introducing policies to encourage childbearing at an optimal age.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000040.
Mothers 35+ is a UK Web site with resources and information for older mothers, mothers-to-be, and would-be mothers, including information on the health implications of fathering a child late in life
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine published a Patient Information Booklet on Age and Fertility in 2003, which is available online; it contains a small section called “Fertility in the Aging Male,” but otherwise focuses on women
The online encyclopedia Wikipedia has a short article on the “Paternal age effect” (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
In 2005, the UK Office of National Statistics published a booklet entitled “Perpetual postponers? Women's, men's and couple's fertility intentions and subsequent fertility behaviour” looking at data from the British Household Panel Survey
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000040
PMCID: PMC2653549  PMID: 19278291
11.  Chorioamnionitis and Early Childhood Outcomes among Extremely Low-Gestational-Age Neonates 
JAMA pediatrics  2014;168(2):137-147.
Importance
Chorioamnionitis is strongly linked to preterm birth and to neonatal infection. The association between histological and clinical chorioamnionitis and cognitive, behavioral and neurodevelopmental outcomes among extremely preterm neonates is less clear. We evaluated the impact of chorioamnionitis on 18-22 month neurodevelopmental outcomes in a contemporary cohort of extremely preterm neonates.
Objective
To compare the neonatal and neurodevelopmental outcomes of three groups of extremely-low-gestational-age infants with increasing exposure to perinatal inflammation: no chorioamnionitis, histological chorioamnionitis alone, or histological plus clinical chorioamnionitis.
Design
Longitudinal observational study.
Setting
Sixteen centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network.
Participants
2390 extremely preterm infants born <27 weeks' gestational age between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2008 with placental histopathology and 18-22 months' corrected age follow-up data were eligible.
Main exposure
Chorioamnionitis
Main Outcome Measures
Outcomes included cerebral palsy, gross motor functional limitation, behavioral scores (according to the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment), cognitive and language scores (according to the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, 3rd-Edition) and composite measures of death/neurodevelopmental impairment. Multivariable logistic and linear regression models were developed to assess the association between chorioamnionitis and outcomes while controlling for important variables known at birth.
Results
Neonates exposed to chorioamnionitis had a lower gestational age (GA) and had higher rates of early-onset sepsis and severe periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage as compared with unexposed neonates. In multivariable models evaluating death and neurodevelopmental outcomes, inclusion of gestational age in the model diminished the association between chorioamnionitis and adverse outcomes. Still, histological+clinical chorioamnionitis was associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment as compared with no chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 2.4, [1.3- 4.3] without GA; Adjusted OR 2.0, [1.1-3.6] with GA as a covariate). Histological chorioamnionitis alone was associated with lower odds of death/neurodevelopmental impairment as compared with histological+clinical chorioamnionitis (Adjusted OR 0.68, [0.52-0.89] without GA; 0.66, [0.49-0.89] with GA). Risk of behavioral problems did not differ statistically between groups.
Conclusions and Relevance
Antenatal exposure to chorioamnionitis is associated with altered odds of cognitive impairment and death/neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely preterm infants.
doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4248
PMCID: PMC4219500  PMID: 24378638
chorioamnionitis; preterm; neurodevelopmental impairment; outcome
12.  Are Outcomes of Extremely Preterm Infants Improving? Impact of Bayley Assessment on Outcomes 
The Journal of pediatrics  2012;161(2):222-8.e3.
Objectives
To compare 18- to 22-month cognitive scores and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in 2 time periods using the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Neonatal Research Network assessment of extremely low birth weight infants with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (Bayley II) in 2006–2007 (period 1) and using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Third Edition (Bayley III), with separate cognitive and language scores, in 2008–2011 (period 2).
Study design
Scores were compared with bivariate analysis, and regression analyses were run to identify differences in NDI rates.
Results
Mean Bayley III cognitive scores were 11 points higher than mean Bayley II cognitive scores. The NDI rate was reduced by 70% (from 43% in period 1 to 13% in period 2; P < .0001). Multivariate analyses revealed that Bayley III contributed to a decreased risk of NDI by 5 definitions: cognitive score <70 and <85, cognitive or language score <70; cognitive or motor score <70, and cognitive, language, or motor score <70 (P < .001).
Conclusion
Whether the Bayley III is overestimating cognitive performance or whether it is a more valid assessment of emerging cognitive skills than the Bayley II is uncertain. Because the Bayley III identifies significantly fewer children with disability, it is recommended that all extremely low birth weight infants be offered early intervention services at the time of discharge from the neonatal intensive care unit, and that Bayley scores be interpreted with caution.
doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.01.057
PMCID: PMC3796892  PMID: 22421261
13.  Determinants of periodontal health in pregnant women and association with infants’ anthropometric status: a prospective cohort study from Eastern Uganda 
Background
Preterm-low birth weight delivery is a major cause of infant morbidity and mortality in sub Saharan Africa and has been linked to poor periodontal health during pregnancy. This study investigated predisposing and enabling factors as determinants of oral health indicators in pregnancy as well as the association between periodontal problems at 7 months gestational age and the infants’ anthropometric status.
Method
A community –based prospective cohort study was conducted in Mbale, Eastern Uganda between 2006 and 2008. Upon recruitment, 713 pregnant women completed interviews and a full mouth oral clinical examination using the CPITN (Community Periodontal Index of Treatment Need) and OHI-S (Simplified Oral Hygiene) indices. A total of 593 women were followed up with anthropometric assessments of their infants 3 weeks after delivery. Multiple logistic regression analyses were used to identify independent determinants of periodontal problems and use of dental services during pregnancy. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to investigate the relationship between periodontal problems and the child’s anthropometric status in terms of wasting, underweight and stunting.
Results
A total of 67.0% women presented with periodontal problems, 12.1% with poor oral hygiene, 29.8% with recent dental visit and 65.0% with periodontal symptoms. Of the infants, 2.0% were wasted, 6.9% were underweight and 10.0% were stunted. The odds ratio of having CPI > 0 increased with increased maternal age and single marital status, and was lower in primiparous women and those who used mosquito bed nets. Mean wasting scores discriminated between mothers with CPI = 0 and CPI > 0 as well as between mothers with good and poor OHI-S scores.
Conclusions
Socio-demographic factors and information about oral health were associated with oral health indicators in pregnant women. Second, the height- for- age status at 3 weeks postpartum was worse in infants of mothers having periodontal problems and poor oral hygiene during pregnancy. Efforts to prevent oral diseases during pregnancy should be part of the local state and national health policy agenda in Uganda.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-12-90
PMCID: PMC3515345  PMID: 22950749
Pregnancy; Oral health; Child; Anthropometric status
14.  A randomized controlled trial of pre-conception treatment for periodontal disease to improve periodontal status during pregnancy and birth outcomes 
Background
Evidence has suggested that periodontal disease is associated with an increased risk of various adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. However, several large clinical randomized controlled trials failed to demonstrate periodontal therapy during pregnancy reduced the incidence of adverse pregnancy and birth outcomes. It has been suggested that the pre-conception period may be an optimal period for periodontal disease treatment rather than during pregnancy. To date, no randomized controlled trial (RCT) has examined if treating periodontal disease before pregnancy reduces adverse birth outcomes. This study aims to examine if the pre-conception treatment of periodontal disease will lead to improved periodontal status during late pregnancy and subsequent birth outcomes.
Methods/Design
A sample of 470 (235 in each arm of the study) pre-conception women who plan to conceive within one year and with periodontal disease will be recruited for the study. All participants will be randomly allocated to the intervention or control group. The intervention group will receive free therapy including dental scaling and root planning (the standard therapy), supragingival prophylaxis, and oral hygiene education. The control group will only receive supragingival prophylaxis and oral hygiene education. Women will be followed throughout their pregnancy and then to childbirth. The main outcomes include periodontal disease status in late pregnancy and birth outcomes measured such as mean birth weight (grams), and mean gestational age (weeks). Periodontal disease will be diagnosed through a dental examination by measuring probing depth, clinical attachment loss and percentage of bleeding on probing (BOP) between gestational age of 32 and 36 weeks. Local and systemic inflammatory mediators are also included as main outcomes.
Discussion
This will be the first RCT to test whether treating periodontal disease among pre-conception women reduces periodontal disease during pregnancy and prevents adverse birth outcomes. If the effect of pre-pregnancy periodontal treatment is confirmed, this intervention could be recommended for application in low- or middle-income countries to improve both oral health and maternal and child health.
Trial registration
This trial is registered with Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR): ChiCTR-TRC-12001913.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-228
PMCID: PMC4029591  PMID: 24321402
Pre-conception; Periodontal disease; Birth outcomes; Inflammatory mediators
15.  Infant Growth and Child Cognition at 3 Years of Age 
Pediatrics  2008;122(3):e689-e695.
BACKGROUND
Infancy is a critical period for brain development. Few studies have examined the extent to which infant weight gain is associated with later neurodevelopmental outcomes in healthy populations.
OBJECTIVE
The purpose of this work was to examine associations of infant weight gain from birth to 6 months with child cognitive and visual-motor skills at 3 years of age.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
We studied 872 participants in Project Viva, an ongoing prospective, longitudinal, prebirth cohort. We abstracted birth weight from the medical chart and weighed infants at 6 months of age. We used the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts to derive weight-for-age z scores. Our primary predictor was infant weight gain, defined as the weight-for-age z score at 6 months adjusted for the weight-for-age z score at birth. At 3 years of age, we measured child cognition with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III and visual-motor skills with the Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities.
RESULTS
Mean Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III score was 104.2, and mean Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities test score was 102.8. Mean birth weight z score was 0.21, and mean 6-month weight z score was 0.39. In multiple linear regression adjusted for child age, gender, gestational age, breastfeeding duration, primary language, and race/ethnicity; maternal age, parity, smoking status, and cognition; and parental education and income level, we found no association of infant weight gain with child Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III score (−0.4 points per z score weight gain increment, 95% confidence interval −1.3, 0.6) or total Wide Range Assessment of Visual Motor Abilities standard score (−0.4 points, 95% confidence interval −1.2, 0.5).
CONCLUSIONS
Slower infant weight gain was not associated with poorer neurodevelopmental outcomes in healthy, term-born 3-year-old children. These results should aid in determining optimal growth patterns in infants to balance risks and benefits of health outcomes through the life course.
doi:10.1542/peds.2008-0500
PMCID: PMC2761622  PMID: 18762504
infant growth; neurodevelopment
16.  An open-label pilot trial of minocycline in children as a treatment for Angelman syndrome 
BMC Neurology  2014;14(1):232.
Background
Minocycline, a member of the tetracycline family, has a low risk of adverse effects and an ability to improve behavioral performance in humans with cognitive disruption. We performed a single-arm open-label trial in which 25 children diagnosed with Angelman syndrome (AS) were administered minocycline to assess the safety and tolerability of minocycline in this patient population and determine the drug’s effect on the cognitive and behavioral manifestations of the disorder.
Methods
Participants, age 4-12 years old, were randomly selected from a pool of previously screened children for participation in this study. Each child received 3 milligrams of minocycline per kilogram of body weight per day for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed during 3 study visits: baseline, after 8-weeks of minocycline treatment and after an 8-week wash out period. The primary outcome measure was the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development 3rd Edition (BSID-III). Secondary outcome measures included the Clinical Global Impressions Scale (CGI), Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales 2nd Edition (VABS-II), Preschool Language Scale 4th Edition (PLS-IV) and EEG scores. Observations were considered statistically significant if p < 0.05 using ANOVA and partial eta squared (η2) was calculated to show effect size. Multiple comparisons testing between time points were carried out using Dunnett’s post hoc testing.
Results
Significant improvement in the mean raw scores of the BSID-III subdomains communication and fine motor ability as well as the subdomains auditory comprehension and total language ability of the PLS-IV when baseline scores were compared to scores after the washout period. Further, improvements were observed in the receptive communication subdomain of the VABS-II after treatment with minocycline. Finally, mean scores of the BSID-III self-direction subdomain and CGI scale score were significantly improved both after minocycline treatment and after the wash out period.
Conclusion
The clinical and neuropsychological measures suggest minocycline was well tolerated and causes improvements in the adaptive behaviors of this sample of children with Angelman syndrome. While the optimal dosage and the effects of long-term use still need to be determined, these findings suggest further investigation into the effect minocycline has on patients with Angelman syndrome is warranted.
Trial registration
NCT01531582 – clinicaltrials.gov
doi:10.1186/s12883-014-0232-x
PMCID: PMC4276108  PMID: 25491305
Angelman syndrome; Cognitive impairment; Ataxia; Epilepsy; Seizure; Autism
17.  Impact of Prenatal Exposure to Piperonyl Butoxide and Permethrin on 36-Month Neurodevelopment 
Pediatrics  2011;127(3):e699-e706.
OBJECTIVE:
Recent pesticide-monitoring results suggest that a shift in residential pesticide exposure from organophosphorus insecticides to pyrethroid insecticides has occurred. Pyrethroid insecticides are potential neurodevelopmental toxicants and have not been evaluated for developmental toxicity. Our objective was to explore the association between prenatal exposure to permethrin (a common pyrethroid) and piperonyl butoxide (a pyrethroid synergist) and 36-month neurodevelopment.
METHODS:
Participants is this study were part of a prospective cohort of black and Dominican mothers and newborns living in low-income neighborhoods in New York City. We examined 36-month cognitive and motor development (using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, second edition) as a function of permethrin levels measured in maternal and umbilical cord plasma collected on delivery and permethrin and piperonyl butoxide levels measured in personal air collected during pregnancy. All models were controlled for gender, gestational age, ethnicity, maternal education, maternal intelligence, quality of the home environment, and prenatal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and chlorpyrifos.
RESULTS:
Prenatal exposure to permethrin in personal air and/or plasma was not associated with performance scores for the Bayley Mental Developmental Index or the Psychomotor Developmental Index. After data adjustment, children more highly exposed to piperonyl butoxide in personal air samples (>4.34 ng/m3) scored 3.9 points lower on the Mental Developmental Index than those with lower exposures (95% confidence interval: −0.25 to −7.49).
CONCLUSIONS:
Prenatal exposure to piperonyl butoxide was negatively associated with 36-month neurodevelopment.
doi:10.1542/peds.2010-0133
PMCID: PMC3065142  PMID: 21300677
prenatal pesticide exposure; neurodevelopment
18.  Maternal common mental disorders and infant development in Ethiopia: the P-MaMiE Birth Cohort 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:693.
Background
Chronicity and severity of early exposure to maternal common mental disorders (CMD) has been associated with poorer infant development in high-income countries. In low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs), perinatal CMD is inconsistently associated with infant development, but the impact of severity and persistence has not been examined.
Methods
A nested population-based cohort of 258 pregnant women was identified from the Perinatal Maternal Mental Disorder in Ethiopia (P-MaMiE) study, and 194 (75.2%) were successfully followed up until the infants were 12 months of age. Maternal CMD was measured in pregnancy and at two and 12 months postnatal using the WHO Self-Reporting Questionnaire, validated for use in this setting. Infant outcomes were evaluated using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.
Results
Antenatal maternal CMD symptoms were associated with poorer infant motor development (β^ -0.20; 95% CI: -0.37 to -0.03), but this became non-significant after adjusting for confounders. Postnatal CMD symptoms were not associated with any domain of infant development. There was evidence of a dose-response relationship between the number of time-points at which the mother had high levels of CMD symptoms (SRQ ≥ 6) and impaired infant motor development (β^ = -0.80; 95%CI -2.24, 0.65 for ante- or postnatal CMD only, β^ = -4.19; 95%CI -8.60, 0.21 for ante- and postnatal CMD, compared to no CMD; test-for-trend χ213.08(1), p < 0.001). Although this association became non-significant in the fully adjusted model, the β^ coefficients were unchanged indicating that the relationship was not confounded. In multivariable analyses, lower socio-economic status and lower infant weight-for-age were associated with significantly lower scores on both motor and cognitive developmental scales. Maternal experience of physical violence was significantly associated with impaired cognitive development.
Conclusions
The study supports the hypothesis that it is the accumulation of risk exposures across time rather than early exposure to maternal CMD per se that is more likely to affect child development. Further investigation of the impact of chronicity of maternal CMD upon child development in LAMICs is indicated. In the Ethiopian setting, poverty, interpersonal violence and infant undernutrition should be targets for interventions to reduce the loss of child developmental potential.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-693
PMCID: PMC3091583  PMID: 21073710
19.  Neurodevelopmental benefits of Anti-Retroviral Therapy in Ugandan children 0–6 Years of age with HIV 
Background
Insufficient data on neurodevelopmental benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in children.
Methods
Prospective study of 329 mothers and children aged 0–6 years to assess neurodevelopment. Results stratified by the maternal (M) and child (C) HIV status (MHIV−/CHIV−, MHIV+/CHIV−, and MHIV+/CHIV+). Gross Motor, Visual Reception, Fine Motor, Receptive and Expressive Language scores assessed by Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Global cognitive function was derived from an Early Learning Composite score (ELC). Standardized Weight and Height for Age z-scores were constructed and the lowest 15% cutoff defined disability. Generalized linear models were used to estimate Prevalence Rate Ratios (PRR) adjusted for the child’s age, weight and height. In HIV-positive children, generalized linear models assessed the impact of ART initiation and duration on neurodevelopment.
Results
Compared to MHIV−/CHIV− children, HIV+ children were more likely to have global deficits in all measures of neurodevelopment except gross motor skills, whereas in MHIV+/CHIV− children, there was impairment in receptive language (adj.PRR=2.67, CI: 1·08, 6.60) and the ELC (adj.PRR=2.94, CI: 1.11, 7.82). Of the children born to HIV positive mothers, HIV+ children did worse than - MHIV+/CHIV− only in Visual Reception skills (adj.PRR=2.86; CI: 1.23–6.65). Of the 116 HIV+ children, 44% had initiated ART. Compared to ART duration of <12 months, ART durations 24–60 months was associated with decreased impairments in Fine Motor, Receptive Language, Expressive Language and ELC scores.
Conclusions
Longer duration on ART is associated with reduction of some neurologic impairment and early diagnosis and treatment of HIV+ children is a priority.
doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000000295
PMCID: PMC4197805  PMID: 25314252
HIV; neurodevelopment; HIV infected children; HIV affected children; ARTs
20.  In-utero exposure to DDT and cognitive development among infants and school-aged children 
Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)  2012;23(5):689-698.
Background
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) continues to be used for control of infectious diseases in several countries. In-utero exposure to DDT and dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) has been associated with developmental and cognitive impairment among children. We examined this association in an historical cohort in which the level of exposure was greater than in previous studies.
Methods
The association of in-utero DDT and DDE exposure with infant and child neurodevelopment was examined in approximately 1100 subjects in the Collaborative Perinatal Project, a prospective birth cohort enrolling pregnant women from 12 study centers in the U.S. from 1959 to 1965. Maternal DDT and DDE concentrations were measured in archived serum specimens. Infant mental and motor development was assessed at age 8 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and child cognitive development was assessed at age 7 years using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children.
Results
Although levels of both DDT and DDE were relatively high in this population (median DDT concentration, 8.9 µg/L; DDE, 24.5 µg/L), neither was related to Mental or Psychomotor Development scores on the Bayley Scales or to Full-Scale IQ at 7 years of age. Categorical analyses showed no evidence of dose-response for either maternal DDT or DDE, and estimates of the association between continuous measures of exposure and neurodevelopment were indistinguishable from 0.
Conclusions
Adverse associations were not observed between maternal serum DDT and DDE concentrations and offspring neurodevelopment at 8 months or 7 years of age in this cohort.
doi:10.1097/EDE.0b013e31825fb61d
PMCID: PMC3415569  PMID: 22766752
21.  Improving the outcome of infants born at <30 weeks' gestation - a randomized controlled trial of preventative care at home 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:73.
Background
Early developmental interventions to prevent the high rate of neurodevelopmental problems in very preterm children, including cognitive, motor and behavioral impairments, are urgently needed. These interventions should be multi-faceted and include modules for caregivers given their high rates of mental health problems.
Methods/Design
We have designed a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a preventative care program delivered at home over the first 12 months of life for infants born very preterm (<30 weeks of gestational age) and their families, compared with standard medical follow-up. The aim of the program, delivered over nine sessions by a team comprising a physiotherapist and psychologist, is to improve infant development (cognitive, motor and language), behavioral regulation, caregiver-child interactions and caregiver mental health at 24 months' corrected age. The infants will be stratified by severity of brain white matter injury (assessed by magnetic resonance imaging) at term equivalent age, and then randomized. At 12 months' corrected age interim outcome measures will include motor development assessed using the Alberta Infant Motor Scale and the Neurological Sensory Motor Developmental Assessment. Caregivers will also complete a questionnaire at this time to obtain information on behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health, and social support. The primary outcomes are at 24 months' corrected age and include cognitive, motor and language development assessed with the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (Bayley-III). Secondary outcomes at 24 months include caregiver-child interaction measured using an observational task, and infant behavior, parenting, caregiver mental health and social support measured via standardized parental questionnaires.
Discussion
This paper presents the background, study design and protocol for a randomized controlled trial in very preterm infants utilizing a preventative care program in the first year after discharge home designed to improve cognitive, motor and behavioral outcomes of very preterm children and caregiver mental health at two-years' corrected age.
Clinical Trial Registration Number
ACTRN12605000492651
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-9-73
PMCID: PMC2797495  PMID: 19954550
22.  Maternal urinary iodine concentration in pregnancy and children's cognition: results from a population-based birth cohort in an iodine-sufficient area 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e005520.
Objective
Reports from populations with an insufficient iodine intake suggest that children of mothers with mild iodine deficiency during pregnancy are at risk for cognitive impairments. However, it is unknown whether, even in iodine-sufficient areas, low levels of iodine intake occur that influence cognitive development in the offspring. This study investigated the association between maternal low urinary iodine concentration (UIC) in pregnancy and children's cognition in a population-based sample from a country with an optimal iodine status (the Netherlands).
Setting and participants
In 1525 mother–child pairs in a Dutch multiethnic birth cohort, we investigated the relation between maternal UIC<150 μg/g creatinine, assessed <18 weeks gestation and children's cognition.
Outcomes measures
Non-verbal IQ and language comprehension were assessed during a visit to the research centre using Dutch test batteries when the children were 6 years.
Results
In total, 188 (12.3%) pregnant women had UIC<150 μg/g creatinine, with a median UIC equal to 119.3 μg/g creatinine. The median UIC in the group with UIC>150 μg/g creatinine was 322.9 μg/g and in the whole sample 296.5 μg/g creatinine. There was a univariate association between maternal low UIC and children's suboptimum non-verbal IQ (unadjusted OR=1.44, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.02). However, after adjustment for confounders, maternal low UIC was not associated with children's non-verbal IQ (adjusted OR=1.33, 95% CI 0.92 to 1.93). There was no relation between maternal UIC in early pregnancy and children's language comprehension at 6 years.
Conclusions
The lack of a clear association between maternal low UIC and children's cognition probably reflects that low levels of iodine were not frequent and severe enough to affect neurodevelopment. This may result from the Dutch iodine fortification policy, which allows iodised salt to be added to almost all processed food and emphasises the monitoring of iodine intake in the population.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005520
PMCID: PMC4067856  PMID: 24928597
EPIDEMIOLOGY
23.  Effect of Arsenic Exposure during Pregnancy on Infant Development at 7 Months in Rural Matlab, Bangladesh 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2008;117(2):288-293.
Background
Exposure to arsenic-contaminated drinking water during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight and fetal loss, and there is concern that the infants’ development may be affected.
Objective
We assessed the effects of in utero arsenic exposure during pregnancy on infants’ problem-solving ability and motor development.
Methods
We conducted a large population-based study of nutritional supplementation with 4,436 pregnant women in Matlab, Bangladesh, an area of high-arsenic–contaminated tube wells. We measured arsenic concentration in spot urine specimens at 8 and 30 weeks of pregnancy. We assessed a subsample of 1,799 infants, born to these mothers, at 7 months of age on two problem-solving tests (PSTs), the motor scale of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development–II, and behavior ratings.
Result
Arsenic concentrations in maternal urine were high, with a median (interquartile range) of 81 μg/L (37–207 μg/L) at 8 weeks of gestation and of 84 μg/L (42–230 μg/L) at 30 weeks. Arsenic exposure was related to many poor socioeconomic conditions that also correlated with child development measures. Multiple regressions of children’s motor and PST scores and behavior ratings, controlling for socioeconomic background variables, age, and sex, showed no significant effect of urinary arsenic concentration on any developmental outcome.
Conclusion
We detected no significant effect of arsenic exposure during pregnancy on infant development. However, it is possible that other effects are as yet unmeasured or that effects will become apparent at a later age.
doi:10.1289/ehp.11670
PMCID: PMC2649233  PMID: 19270801
Bangladesh cognitive function; infants; motor development; problem-solving tests; urinary arsenic
24.  Infant motor development in rural Vietnam and intrauterine exposures to anaemia, iron deficiency and common mental disorders: a prospective community-based study 
Background
Antenatal anaemia, iron deficiency and common mental disorders (CMD) are prevalent in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to examine the direct and indirect effects of antenatal exposures to these risks and infant motor development.
Methods
A cohort of women who were pregnant with a single foetus and between 12 and 20 weeks pregnant in 50 randomly-selected rural communes in Ha Nam province was recruited. Participants provided data twice during pregnancy (early and late gestation) and twice after giving birth (8 weeks and 6 months postpartum). The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale was used at all four data collection waves to detect CMD (score ≥ 4). Maternal anaemia (Hb < 11 g/dL) and iron deficiency (ferritin < 15 ng/mL) were evaluated at early and late gestation. Infants’ motor development was assessed by the Bayley of Infant and Toddler Development Motor Scales (BSID-M) at the age of six months. Direct and indirect effects of the exposures on the outcome were examined with Path analysis.
Results
In total, 497 of 523 (97%) eligible pregnant women were recruited and 418 mother-infant pairs provided complete data and were included in the analyses. The prevalence of anaemia was 21.5% in early pregnancy and 24.4% in late pregnancy. There was 4.1% iron deficiency at early pregnancy and 48.2% at late pregnancy. Clinically significant symptoms of CMD were apparent among 40% women in early pregnancy and 28% in late pregnancy. There were direct adverse effects on infant BSID-M scores at 6 months of age due to antenatal anaemia in late pregnancy (an estimated mean reduction of 2.61 points, 95% Confidence Interval, CI, 0.57 to 4.65) and CMD in early pregnancy (7.13 points, 95% CI 3.13 to 11.13). Iron deficiency and anaemia in early pregnancy were indirectly related to the outcome via anaemia during late pregnancy.
Conclusions
Antenatal anaemia, iron deficiency, and CMD have a negative impact on subsequent infant motor development. These findings highlight the need to improve the quality of antenatal care when developing interventions for pregnant women that aim to optimise early childhood development in low- and middle-income countries.
doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-8
PMCID: PMC3890590  PMID: 24401012
Infant development; Pregnancy; Common mental disorders; Micronutrient deficiencies; Vietnam
25.  Measuring Coverage in MNCH: Population HIV-Free Survival among Children under Two Years of Age in Four African Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(5):e1001424.
Background
Population-based evaluations of programs for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) are scarce. We measured PMTCT service coverage, regimen use, and HIV-free survival among children ≤24 mo of age in Cameroon, Côte D'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia.
Methods and Findings
We randomly sampled households in 26 communities and offered participation if a child had been born to a woman living there during the prior 24 mo. We tested consenting mothers with rapid HIV antibody tests and tested the children of seropositive mothers with HIV DNA PCR or rapid antibody tests. Our primary outcome was 24-mo HIV-free survival, estimated with survival analysis. In an individual-level analysis, we evaluated the effectiveness of various PMTCT regimens. In a community-level analysis, we evaluated the relationship between HIV-free survival and community PMTCT coverage (the proportion of HIV-exposed infants in each community that received any PMTCT intervention during gestation or breastfeeding). We also compared our community coverage results to those of a contemporaneous study conducted in the facilities serving each sampled community. Of 7,985 surveyed children under 2 y of age, 1,014 (12.7%) were HIV-exposed. Of these, 110 (10.9%) were HIV-infected, 851 (83.9%) were HIV-uninfected, and 53 (5.2%) were dead. HIV-free survival at 24 mo of age among all HIV-exposed children was 79.7% (95% CI: 76.4, 82.6) overall, with the following country-level estimates: Cameroon (72.6%; 95% CI: 62.3, 80.5), South Africa (77.7%; 95% CI: 72.5, 82.1), Zambia (83.1%; 95% CI: 78.4, 86.8), and Côte D'Ivoire (84.4%; 95% CI: 70.0, 92.2). In adjusted analyses, the risk of death or HIV infection was non-significantly lower in children whose mothers received a more complex regimen of either two or three antiretroviral drugs compared to those receiving no prophylaxis (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.34, 1.06). Risk of death was not different for children whose mothers received a more complex regimen compared to those given single-dose nevirapine (adjusted hazard ratio: 0.88; 95% CI: 0.45, 1.72). Community PMTCT coverage was highest in Cameroon, where 75 of 114 HIV-exposed infants met criteria for coverage (66%; 95% CI: 56, 74), followed by Zambia (219 of 444, 49%; 95% CI: 45, 54), then South Africa (152 of 365, 42%; 95% CI: 37, 47), and then Côte D'Ivoire (3 of 53, 5.7%; 95% CI: 1.2, 16). In a cluster-level analysis, community PMTCT coverage was highly correlated with facility PMTCT coverage (Pearson's r = 0.85), and moderately correlated with 24-mo HIV-free survival (Pearson's r = 0.29). In 14 of 16 instances where both the facility and community samples were large enough for comparison, the facility-based coverage measure exceeded that observed in the community.
Conclusions
HIV-free survival can be estimated with community surveys and should be incorporated into ongoing country monitoring. Facility-based coverage measures correlate with those derived from community sampling, but may overestimate population coverage. The more complex regimens recommended by the World Health Organization seem to have measurable public health benefit at the population level, but power was limited and additional field validation is needed.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
For a pregnant woman who is HIV-positive, the discrepancy across the world in outlook for mother and child is stark. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy is now less than 1% in many high-income settings, but occurs much more often in low-income countries. Three interventions have a major impact on transmission of HIV to the baby: antiretroviral drugs, mode of delivery, and type of infant feeding. The latter two are complex, as the interventions commonly used in high-income countries (cesarean section if the maternal viral load is high; exclusive formula feeding) have their own risks in low-income settings. Minimizing the risks of transmitting HIV through effective drug regimes therefore becomes particularly important. Monitoring progress on reducing the incidence of mother-to-child HIV transmission is essential, but not always easy to achieve.
Why Was This Study Done?
A research group led by Stringer and colleagues recently reported a study from four countries in Africa: Cameroon, Côte D'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia. The study showed that even in the health facility setting (e.g., hospitals and clinics), only half of infants whose mothers were HIV-positive received the minimum recommended drug treatment (one dose of nevirapine during labor) to prevent HIV transmission. Across the population of these countries, it is possible that fewer receive antiretroviral drugs, as the study did not include women who did not access health facilities. Therefore, the next stage of the study by this research group, reported here, involved going into the communities around these health facilities to find out how many infants under two years old had been exposed to HIV, whether they had received drugs to prevent transmission, and what proportion were alive and not infected with HIV at two years old.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers tested all consenting women who had delivered a baby in the last two years in the surrounding communities. If the mother was found to be HIV-positive, then the infant was also tested for HIV. The researchers then calculated how many of the infants would be alive at two years and free of HIV infection.
Most mothers (78%) agreed to testing for themselves and their infants. There were 7,985 children under two years of age in this study, of whom 13% had been born to an HIV-positive mother. Less than half (46%) of the HIV-positive mothers had received any drugs to prevent HIV transmission. Of the children with HIV-positive mothers, 11% were HIV-infected, 84% were not infected with HIV, and 5% had died. Overall, the researchers estimated that around 80% of these children would be alive at two years without HIV infection. This proportion differed non-significantly between the four countries (ranging from 73% to 84%). The researchers found higher rates of infant survival than they had expected and knew that they might have missed some infant deaths (e.g., if households with infant deaths were less likely to take part in the study).
The researchers found that their estimates of the proportion of HIV-positive mothers who received drugs to prevent transmission were fairly similar between their previous study, looking at health facilities, and this study of the surrounding communities. However, in 14 out of 16 comparisons, the estimate from the community was lower than that from the facility.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that it would be possible to estimate how many infants are surviving free of HIV infection using a study based in the community, and that these estimates may be more accurate than those for studies based in health facilities. There are still a large proportion of HIV-positive mothers who are not receiving drugs to prevent transmission to the baby. The authors suggest that using two or three drugs to prevent HIV may help to reduce transmission.
There are already community surveys conducted in many low-income countries, but they have not included routine infant testing for HIV. It is now essential that organizations providing drugs, money, and infrastructure in this field consider more accurate means of monitoring incidence of HIV transmission from mother to infant, particularly at the community level.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001424.
The World Health Organization has more information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV
The United Nations Children's Fund has more information on the status of national PMTCT responses in the most affected countries
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001424
PMCID: PMC3646218  PMID: 23667341

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