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1.  Rare chromosome abnormalities, prevalence and prenatal diagnosis rates from population-based congenital anomaly registers in Europe 
The aim of this study is to quantify the prevalence and types of rare chromosome abnormalities (RCAs) in Europe for 2000–2006 inclusive, and to describe prenatal diagnosis rates and pregnancy outcome. Data held by the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies database were analysed on all the cases from 16 population-based registries in 11 European countries diagnosed prenatally or before 1 year of age, and delivered between 2000 and 2006. Cases were all unbalanced chromosome abnormalities and included live births, fetal deaths from 20 weeks gestation and terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly. There were 10 323 cases with a chromosome abnormality, giving a total birth prevalence rate of 43.8/10 000 births. Of these, 7335 cases had trisomy 21,18 or 13, giving individual prevalence rates of 23.0, 5.9 and 2.3/10 000 births, respectively (53, 13 and 5% of all reported chromosome errors, respectively). In all, 473 cases (5%) had a sex chromosome trisomy, and 778 (8%) had 45,X, giving prevalence rates of 2.0 and 3.3/10 000 births, respectively. There were 1 737 RCA cases (17%), giving a prevalence of 7.4/10 000 births. These included triploidy, other trisomies, marker chromosomes, unbalanced translocations, deletions and duplications. There was a wide variation between the registers in both the overall prenatal diagnosis rate of RCA, an average of 65% (range 5–92%) and the prevalence of RCA (range 2.4–12.9/10 000 births). In all, 49% were liveborn. The data provide the prevalence of families currently requiring specialised genetic counselling services in the perinatal period for these conditions and, for some, long-term care.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.246
PMCID: PMC3330224  PMID: 22234154
rare chromosome; prevalence; prenatal diagnosis; Europe
2.  Sex chromosome trisomies in Europe: prevalence, prenatal detection and outcome of pregnancy 
This study aims to assess prevalence and pregnancy outcome for sex chromosome trisomies (SCTs) diagnosed prenatally or in the first year of life. Data held by the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT) database on SCT cases delivered 2000–2005 from 19 population-based registries in 11 European countries covering 2.5 million births were analysed. Cases included were livebirths diagnosed to 1 year of age, fetal deaths from 20 weeks gestation and terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly (TOPFA). In all, 465 cases of SCT were diagnosed between 2000 and 2005, a prevalence of 1.88 per 10,000 births (95% CI 1.71–2.06). Prevalence of XXX, XXY and XYY were 0.54 (95% CI 0.46–0.64), 1.04 (95% CI 0.92–1.17) and 0.30 (95% CI 0.24–0.38), respectively. In all, 415 (89%) were prenatally diagnosed and 151 (36%) of these resulted in TOPFA. There was wide country variation in prevalence (0.19–5.36 per 1000), proportion prenatally diagnosed (50–100%) and proportion of prenatally diagnosed resulting in TOPFA (13–67%). Prevalence of prenatally diagnosed cases was higher in countries with high prenatal detection rates of Down syndrome. The EUROCAT prevalence rate for SCTs diagnosed prenatally or up to 1 year of age represents 12% of the prevalence expected from cytogenetic studies of newborn babies, as the majority of cases are never diagnosed or are diagnosed later in life. There is a wide variation between European countries in prevalence, prenatal detection and TOPFA proportions, related to differences in screening policies as well as organizational and cultural factors.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.148
PMCID: PMC3025783  PMID: 20736977
sex chromosome trisomies; prenatal diagnosis; termination of pregnancy
3.  Autism, language and communication in children with sex chromosome trisomies 
Archives of disease in childhood  2010;96(10):954-959.
Purpose
Sex chromosome trisomies (SCTs) are found on amniocentesis in 2.3–3.7 per 1000 same-sex births, yet there is a limited database on which to base a prognosis. Autism has been described in postnatally diagnosed cases of Klinefelter syndrome (XXY karyotype), but the prevalence in non-referred samples, and in other trisomies, is unclear. The authors recruited the largest sample including all three SCTs to be reported to date, including children identified on prenatal screening, to clarify this issue.
Design
Parents of children with a SCT were recruited either via prenatal screening or via a parental support group, to give a sample of 58 XXX, 19 XXY and 58 XYY cases. Parents were interviewed using the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales and completed questionnaires about the communicative development of children with SCTs and their siblings (42 brothers and 26 sisters).
Results
Rates of language and communication problems were high in all three trisomies. Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were found in 2/19 cases of XXY (11%) and 11/58 XYY (19%). After excluding those with an ASD diagnosis, communicative profiles indicative of mild autistic features were common, although there was wide individual variation.
Conclusions
Autistic features have not previously been remarked upon in studies of non-referred samples with SCTs, yet the rate is substantially above population levels in this sample, even when attention is restricted to early-identified cases. The authors hypothesise that X-linked and Y-linked neuroligins may play a significant role in the aetiology of communication impairments and ASD.
doi:10.1136/adc.2009.179747
PMCID: PMC3182523  PMID: 20656736
4.  Chlorination Disinfection By-Products and Risk of Congenital Anomalies in England and Wales 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2007;116(2):216-222.
Background
Increased risk of various congenital anomalies has been reported to be associated with trihalomethane (THM) exposure in the water supply.
Objectives
We conducted a registry-based study to determine the relationship between THM concentrations and the risk of congenital anomalies in England and Wales.
Methods
We obtained congenital anomaly data from the National Congenital Anomalies System, regional registries, and the national terminations registry; THM data were obtained from water companies. Total THM (< 30, 30 to < 60, ≥60 μg/L), total brominated exposure (< 10, 10 to < 20, ≥20 μg/L), and bromoform exposure (< 2, 2 to < 4, ≥4 μg/L) were modeled at the place of residence for the first trimester of pregnancy. We included 2,605,226 live births, stillbirths, and terminations with 22,828 cases of congenital anomalies. Analyses using fixed- and random-effects models were performed for broadly defined groups of anomalies (cleft palate/lip, abdominal wall, major cardiac, neural tube, urinary and respiratory defects), a more restricted set of anomalies with better ascertainment, and for isolated and multiple anomalies. Data were adjusted for sex, maternal age, and socioeconomic status.
Results
We found no statistically significant trends across exposure categories for either the broadly defined or more restricted sets of anomalies. For the restricted set of anomalies with isolated defects, there were significant (p < 0.05) excess risks in the high-exposure categories of total THMs for ventricular septal defects [odds ratio (OR) = 1.43; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.00–2.04] and of bromoform for major cardiovascular defects and gastroschisis (OR = 1.18; 95% CI, 1.00–1.39; and OR = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.00–1.92, respectively).
Conclusion
In this large national study we found little evidence for a relationship between THM concentrations in drinking water and risk of congenital anomalies.
doi:10.1289/ehp.10636
PMCID: PMC2235225  PMID: 18288321
chlorination; congenital anomalies; disinfection by-products; trihalomethanes
5.  Geographic variation and localised clustering of congenital anomalies in Great Britain 
Background
Environmental pollution as a cause of congenital anomalies is sometimes suspected because of clustering of anomalies in areas of higher exposure. This highlights questions around spatial heterogeneity (clustering) in congenital anomaly rates. If spatial variation is endemic, then any one specific cluster is less remarkable, though the presence of uncontrolled geographically clustered risk factors is suggested. If rates are relatively homogeneous across space other than around specific hazards, then evidence for these hazards causing the clusters is strengthened. We sought to estimate the extent of spatial heterogeneity in congenital anomaly rates in the United Kingdom.
Methods
The study population covered about one million births from five registers in Britain from 1991–1999. We estimated heterogeneity across four geographical levels: register area, hospital catchment, electoral ward, and enumeration district, using a negative binomial regression model. We also sought clusters using a circular scan statistic.
Results
Congenital anomaly rates clearly varied across register areas and hospital catchments (p < 0.001), but not below this level (p > 0.2). Adjusting for socioeconomic deprivation and maternal age made little difference to the extent of geographical variation for most congenital anomaly subtypes. The two most significant circular clusters (of four ano-rectal atresias and six congenital heart diseases) contained two or more siblings.
Conclusion
The variation in rates between registers and hospital catchment area may have resulted in part from differences in case ascertainment, and this should be taken into account in geographical epidemiological studies of environmental exposures. The absence of evidence for variation below this level should be interpreted cautiously in view of the low power of general heterogeneity tests. Nevertheless, the data suggest that strong localised clusters in congenital anomalies are uncommon, so clusters around specific putative environmental hazards are remarkable when observed. Negative binomial models applied at successive hierarchical levels provide an approach of intermediate complexity to characterising geographical heterogeneity.
doi:10.1186/1742-7622-4-14
PMCID: PMC1939702  PMID: 17617898
6.  Terminology for our times 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2003;327(7407):166.
PMCID: PMC1126532  PMID: 12869478
7.  Genetics Education Materials (GEM) Database and Website 
The Genetics Education Materials (GEM) database, accessible through http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu, provides a searchable listing of genetics public policy documents, clinical genetics education materials, and other peer-reviewed genetics publications. This new online database is designed to aid public health policy-makers, state genetics program planners, and health care professionals in locating relevant genetics materials. The GEM database is a project of the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center (NNSGRC), a cooperative agreement between the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the Health Resources and Services Administration/Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB).
PMCID: PMC2244519
8.  Maintenance of Dispersed Reproductive Cells from Male and Female Ascaris suum 
Journal of Nematology  1997;29(2):168-172.
In vitro cultivation of tissues and cells provides an experimental methodology to define and manipulate physiological mechanisms that are not possible with in vivo techniques. Tissues from the germinative-growth zones of adult Ascaris suum gonads were excised and minced, and then enzymatically dispersed and transferred to an artificial, perienteric fluid-fetal calf-serum-medium complex. Cells were maintained in a viable state for 8 days, with medium replacement every 48 hours. During this period, morphological changes in the gonadal cells included decreased size, dedifferentiation, and degeneration. Two indices of metabolism, evolution of ¹⁴CO₂ from radiolabelled glucose and reduction of the tetrazolium salt MTT (3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium), decreased by approximately 50% and 60%, respectively. The in vitro procedures developed provide the first opportunity to examine specific cellular functions of nematode reproductive tissues over an extended period of time.
PMCID: PMC2619769  PMID: 19274146
Ascaris suum; cultivation; nematode; parasite; reproduction

Results 1-8 (8)