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1.  Folate Deficiency and Folic Acid Supplementation: The Prevention of Neural-Tube Defects and Congenital Heart Defects 
Nutrients  2013;5(11):4760-4775.
Diet, particularly vitamin deficiency, is associated with the risk of birth defects. The aim of this review paper is to show the characteristics of common and severe neural-tube defects together with congenital heart defects (CHD) as vitamin deficiencies play a role in their origin. The findings of the Hungarian intervention (randomized double-blind and cohort controlled) trials indicated that periconceptional folic acid (FA)-containing multivitamin supplementation prevented the major proportion (about 90%) of neural-tube defects (NTD) as well as a certain proportion (about 40%) of congenital heart defects. Finally the benefits and drawbacks of three main practical applications of folic acid/multivitamin treatment such as (i) dietary intake; (ii) periconceptional supplementation; and (iii) flour fortification are discussed. The conclusion arrived at is indeed confirmation of Benjamin Franklin’s statement: “An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of care”.
doi:10.3390/nu5114760
PMCID: PMC3847759  PMID: 24284617
neural-tube defects; congenital heart defects; folic acid; multivitamins; primary prevention
2.  A study of the risk of mental retardation among children of pregnant women who have attempted suicide by means of a drug overdose 
Abstract:
Background:
The aim of the study was to estimate the effect on the fetal development of high doses of prescription drugs taken as a suicide attempt during pregnancy.
Methods:
Pregnant women were identified among self-poisoned females in the toxicological inpatient clinic in Budapest between 1960 and 1993. Congenital abnormalities, intrauterine development based on birth weight and post-conceptional age, mental retardation, cognitive-behavioral status were compared in exposed children born to mothers who had attempted suicide by means of a drug overdose during pregnancy with their siblings, born either before or after the affected pregnancy, as sib controls.
Results:
Of a total of 1 044 pregnant women, 74 used the combination of amobarbital, glutethimide and promethazine (Tardyl®, one of the most popular drugs for treatment of insomnia in Hungary) for suicide attempt. Of these 74 women, 27 delivered live-born babies. The mean dose of Tardyl® used for suicide attempts was 24 times the usually prescribed clinical dose. The rate of congenital abnormalities and intrauterine retardation was not higher in exposed children than in their sib controls. However, of the 27 exposed children, eight (29.6%) were mentally retarded (Χ\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage[substack]{amsmath} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage[mathscr]{eucal} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \DeclareFontFamily{T1}{linotext}{} \DeclareFontShape{T1}{linotext}{m}{n} { <-> linotext }{} \DeclareSymbolFont{linotext}{T1}{linotext}{m}{n} \DeclareSymbolFontAlphabet{\mathLINOTEXT}{linotext} \begin{document} $$ {\mathrm{_{{1}}^{{2}}}} $$ \end{document} )=79.7, p= Sig) while mental retardation did not occur among 46 sib controls. These exposed children were born to mothers who attempted suicide with Tardyl® between the 14th and 20th post-conceptional weeks. The components of Tardyl® used separately for a suicide attempt during pregnancy were not associated with a higher risk of mental retardation. Therefore the high doses of Tardyl® associated with the high risk for mental retardation may be due to the interaction of its three drug components.
Conclusions:
The findings of the study showed that the high doses of a drug containing three components may be associated with a significantly increased risk for mental retardation without any structural defects, whereas each of these three component drugs taken alone was not associated with this adverse effect.
doi:10.5249/jivr.v4i1.85
PMCID: PMC3291287  PMID: 21502792
3.  Interpretation of Controversial Teratogenic Findings of Drugs Such As Phenobarbital 
ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology  2011;2011:719675.
Objective. To check the debated association between phenobarbital treatment during pregnancy and risk for congenital abnormalities (CAs) in their children. Study Design. It is a comparison of phenobarbital treatment in the mothers of cases with CA and matched controls without CAs in the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance System of Congenital Abnormalities. Results. Of 22,843 cases with CA, 149 (0.65%) had mothers with phenobarbital treatment, while of 38,151 control newborn infants without CA, 209 (0.55%) were born to mothers with phenobarbital treatment (100–400 mg daily) (OR with 95% CI : 1.3, 1.1–1.7). Of 16 CA groups, only hypospadias had a higher risk after phenobarbital treatment in the critical period of this CA (OR with 95% CI : 2.4, 1.1–5.4). However, if only medically recorded phenobarbital treatments were evaluated and multiple testing bias was considered, this association would disappear. Conclusions. This study stresses the importance of the exclusion of recall bias and multiple testing bias.
doi:10.5402/2011/719675
PMCID: PMC3166760  PMID: 21904684
4.  Successful operative management of an intact second trimester abdominal pregnancy with additional preoperative selective catheter embolization and postoperative methotrexate therapy 
Summary
Background
Abdominal pregnancy is a rare condition that may lead to severe complications.
Case Report
The authors report the case of a 17-week intact abdominal pregnancy diagnosed in the course of an investigation of lower abdominal pain. Ultrasonography and MR examination revealed an intact abdominal pregnancy. Subsequent angiography was performed to occlude the supportive artery of the pregnancy by selective embolization. The pregnancy was terminated safely by laparotomy a day later. The placenta was left in the abdominal cavity because of the high risk of massive and often uncontrollable bleeding, and treatment with methotrexate was applied postoperatively.
Conclusions
Preoperative embolization and the postoperative methotrexate therapy facilitate the safe surgical treatment of abdominal pregnancy.
doi:10.12659/MSM.881752
PMCID: PMC3539596  PMID: 21525815
abdominal pregnancy; embolization therapy; magnetic resonance imaging; methotrexate; placental tissue
5.  Birth Outcomes of Newborns after Folic Acid Supplementation in Pregnant Women with Early and Late Pre-Eclampsia: A Population-Based Study 
Objective. To evaluate the rate of preterm birth and low birth weight in the newborns of pregnant women with early and late onset pre-eclampsia according to folic acid supplementation. Study design. Birth outcomes of newborns were evaluated in 1,017 (2.7%) pregnant women with medically recorded pre-eclampsia and 37,134 pregnant women without pre-eclampsia as reference in the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance System of Congenital Abnormalities, 1980–1996, in addition these study groups were differentiated according to the supplementation of high dose of folic acid alone from early pregnancy. Results. Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia associated with a higher rate of preterm birth (10.2% versus 9.1%) and low birthweight (7.9% versus 5.6%). There was a lower risk of preterm birth (6.8%) of newborn infants born to pregnant women with early onset pre-eclampsia after folic acid supplementation from early pregnancy though the rate of low birthweight was not reduced significantly. There was no significant reduction in the rate of preterm birth and low birthweight in pregnant women with late onset pre-eclampsia after folic acid supplementation. Conclusion. The rate of preterm birth in pregnant women with early onset pre-eclampsia was reduced moderately by high doses of folic acid supplementation from early pregnancy.
doi:10.4061/2011/127369
PMCID: PMC3168906  PMID: 21991429
6.  Sex ratio of newborn infants born to pregnant women with severe chronic constipation 
Clinical Epidemiology  2010;2:217-219.
There was a significant male excess in the newborns of pregnant women with severe chronic constipation during pregnancy compared to pregnant women without constipation and pregnant women with new onset severe constipation, during pregnancy.
doi:10.2147/CLEP.S11673
PMCID: PMC2964076  PMID: 21042554
constipation; pregnancy; birth outcomes; sex ratio; male excess
7.  Risk and Benefit of Drug Use During Pregnancy 
Environmental teratogenic factors (e.g. alcohol) are preventable. We focus our analysis on human teratogenic drugs which are not used frequently during pregnancy. The previous human teratogenic studies had serious methodological problems, e.g. the first trimester concept is outdated because environmental teratogens cannot induce congenital abnormalities in the first month of gestation. In addition, teratogens usually cause specific congenital abnormalities or syndromes. Finally, the importance of chemical structures, administrative routes and reasons for treatment at the evaluation of medicinal products was not considered. On the other hand, in the so-called case-control epidemiological studies in general recall bias was not limited. These biases explain that the teratogenic risk of drugs is exaggerated, while the benefit of medicine use during pregnancy is underestimated. Thus, a better balance is needed between the risk and benefit of drug treatments during pregnancy. Of course, we have to do our best to reduce the risk of teratogenic drugs as much as possible, however, it is worth stressing the preventive effect of drugs for maternal diseases (e.g. diabetes mellitus and hyperthermia) related congenital abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC1168874  PMID: 16007261
human teratogenic drugs; congenital abnormalities; critical period; recall bias; congenital abnormality; preventive effect of drugs.

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