Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Being a boy is a risk factor

14.12.2009
Among premature births - children born before the 37th week of pregnancy - newborn boys have a poorer prognosis than newborn girls.

In her dissertation at Lund University in Sweden, the physician Emma Elsmén Steen has explored why male gender constitutes a risk factor for greater morbidity in these infants.

Preterm birth entails a risk of complications like low blood pressure, brain hemorrhaging, lung immaturity, and in the long term neurological and cognitive handicaps. The risk is greater the more preterm the birth is: complications primarily affect the most premature children, born before the 28th week.

Emma Elsmén Steen has examined gender differences in this morbidity through journal and registry studies and work in the clinic and the laboratory.

"It's well known that boys are more in the risk zone than girls. I wanted to delve deeper into this matter and above all see what happens during the first critical days," she says.

In a study of journals for more than 200 premature births, she was able to show that boys are sicker than girls during this first period. For instance, they more often needed respiratory help from the very beginning, and also more often needed help to keep their blood pressure up. Despite this treatment, boys still had lower blood pressure after birth and more often developed chronic lung disease.

Another study, based on data in a national database, focused on the occurrence of complications in more than one million births. Pregnancies with male fetuses turned out to have a greater risk of being affected by all of the complications that were studied: pregnancy toxemia, excessive amniotic fluid, infection, separation of the placenta, and premature loss of amniotic fluid.

It was only in the cases of "excessive amniotic fluid" and toxemia with birth before the 32nd week that the risk was higher if the fetus was a girl.

"'Preeclampsia' - a form of toxemia - is a disease that we still know very little about. It's possible that the preeclampsia that occurs early in the pregnancy, and primarily affects mothers with girl fetuses, is another disease than the one that occurs later in the pregnancy and primarily affects women with boy fetuses," says Emma Elsmén Steen.

Research on gender differences in morbidity during the fetal period has experienced an upswing in recent years. On the one hand, more knowledge in this field can yield a greater understanding of morbidity in newborns in general and, on the other hand, we are gaining greater insight into the importance of gender in a number of medical contexts.

Emma Elsmén Steen believes that the greater morbidity among premature boys can be due to the fact that male fetuses mature later. This can mean that they have a poorer ability than females to react to stress, respond to inflammation, and regulate their blood pressure. In full-term pregnancies, boys have had more time to catch up. Here, too, boys run a greater risk of sickness and dying than girls do, but the difference between the genders is not as great.

The dissertation is titled Gender differences in perinatal morbidity and long term consequences of preterm birth and will be submitted on December 10. Emma Elsmén Steen can be reached at mobile phone: +46 (0)709-31 71 09 or Emma.Elsmen@med.lu.se.

Pressofficer Ingela Björck; +46-46 222 7646;ingela.bjorck@rektor.lu.se

Ingela Björck | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>