Friday, September 17, 2010

Bone Injuries Treated With Umbilical Cord Stem Cells

Emerging research is showing the potential to repair bone injuries using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), a particular type of stem cell with several unique characteristics. MSCs are found in large quantities in a newborn’s umbilical cord and also in cord blood and bone marrow.

This research suggests that newborn tissues, like umbilical cord blood or cord tissue, may prove to be an optimal source to create bone grafts. Several preclinical studies have demonstrated that newborn MSCs can successfully create bone grafts and stimulate bone regeneration.

MSCs give rise to many types of specialized cells that are the building blocks of connective tissue, bone, cartilage, and the circulatory and lymphatic systems. Given their unique properties, MSCs are well-suited for use in tissue engineering to create a bone graft. Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that currently involves replacing missing bone with transplanted tissue, the most common source of which comes from the patient’s own bones where limited tissue is available and the procedure for obtaining it can lead to medical complications. These drawbacks have led researchers to explore the possibility of tissue engineering using a patient’s own MSCs.

Current tissue engineering techniques use a scaffold made of biomaterials to support the growth of MSCs and to create a bone graft. These techniques have already shown success in preliminary clinical studies by promoting the repair of severe bone defects and providing assistance with spinal fusions in a small number of patients who received a graft created from their own bone marrow MSCs.

In March 2010, researchers at Columbia University reported that they created a tissue-engineered jaw bone using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow. MSCs naturally give rise to connective tissue such as bone and cartilage, making bone regeneration one of the most investigated therapeutic areas for MSCs today.

Given the promising research described above, and considering MSCs are the building blocks of connective tissue such as bone and cartilage, newborn MSCs may prove to be beneficial in bone repair.

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Tips for Taking Your Own Maternity Photos

Maternity photos can be lifelong keepsakes. Tampa Bay area photographer, Carmen Wilson, shares some of her top tips to help you take your own photos at home.

Camera and Lighting tips:

Do not use a flash. Flash will take away the natural glow. Shoot in a low light situation; such as sunset or sunrise. Experiment with your camera by turning off the flash and setting your ISO to a higher setting such as 400.

Location:

Pregnancy does not need anything to take away the simplicity of the belly. Avoid background items such as blinds, a couch, kitchen cabinets, etc....Take the images outside under a tree or a plain background.

Clothing:

Focus on the belly and don't distract with busy patterns of clothing. Keep it simple to allow the story to be captured beautifully.

Wear a shirt such as a tight tank top that exposes the natural curves of the belly or wear a tie in the front shirt to totally expose the belly.

Pose tips:

A pregnant mother looks beautiful embracing her bare belly with her hands. Have dad or her children place their hands on the belly too.

Experiment with different angles such as standing, sitting on the edge of a seat, or laying down on a blanket.

Angles:

Fill your frame! Oh, this is the biggest mistake I see in candid shots. They are too far. Get close to pregnant mama.

When is the best time to take maternity photos? How many weeks?

When taking maternity photos your goal is to have a belly close to the size of a basketball. Typically, between your 7-8 months of pregnancy. You want to look pregnant....there shouldn't be any questions whether you are or not. So, in other words if you are feeling "big" you might not be as big as you think.

What seems to look best in photos?

It all depends on what look you would like. There are several looks that my clients request. Here are a few:

A long, soft, flowy dress for a timeless image with simple accessories. Accessories are of utmost importance because while mommy is embracing her belly her ring or bracelet can be a main focus.

For a casual look, simply jeans and a tank top. Maybe a personal item that is really special to you such as those special booties that your mom made for the baby or a bracelet for mom with the baby's name engraved.

Bringing sexy back is one of my favorite looks...I believe that lots of women have that " I am fat " thinking going on during pregnancy, but the reality is they are glowing and absolutely beautiful. A gorgeous laced pushup bra accompanied by cute boy shorts or panties make mama feel sexy and beautiful again. For the grand finale daddy is a great prop to bring emotion into the images. His job is to love on her and embrace that sweet belly.

Any tips to hire someone to take maternity photos?

  • A photographer that specializes in motherhood photography. Choosing the right angles and lighting is so important during a pregnancy shoot. We want mom to be photographed from her best angles and that only comes with years of experience. Look at their portfolio on line and in person.
  • Interview any potential photographers. Making sure you feel comfortable in their presence; you will be building a long term relationship with them.
  • The Quality of their Work: Are prints printed at a professional lab with archival quality? Is there a 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed?
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Magician David Blaine Expecting Baby No. 1

Illusionist David Blaine and fiance, French model Alizee Guinochet are expecting their first child, reports Page Six.

Blaine, reportedly announced the news to the crowd in attendance for a cancer benefit. After announcing that he and Guinochet are expecting, he joked about the baby following in dad's footsteps, "The baby is probably already practicing the breath hold!"

The 37-year-old recently revealed his hopes to be "set adrift into the ocean inside a glass bottle," - a stunt that may need to be put on hold after baby.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Appel & Frank's 'Babes & Babies' Shopping Event

Appel & Frank's is hosting a shopping event in Marin County, California on Saturday, October 16th. Moms and Moms-to-be can shop at a discount from 50 designers for baby and toddler clothes, accessories, gear and more.

Admission is free in advance or $5 at the door. The first 300 guests will receive gift bags. There will also be a raffle to participate in.

The event will take place from 9am-1pm at The Mill Valley Community Center (180 Camino Alto), in Mill Valley.

Get free admission by signing up at appelandfrank.com.

Maternity Tops for Pregnant Nerds

If you consider yourself a geeky mom-to-be, there are maternity shirts just for you.

"Proof That Geeks Have Sex" is available at Cafepress. "Geek Inside," "Assembly Required," and "Please wait...Baby Loading" are sold at ThinkGeek. The "Due for Delivery" shirt is sold on Etsy. "Baby Inside" can be found at KSS Maternity. "iDue" maternity wear can also be found at CafePress.

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Researchers develop early test for preeclampsia

It may be possible to predict which women will develop a dangerous complication of pregnancy called preeclampsia weeks before they ever show the first symptoms, an international team of researchers reported Monday.

They found a series of 45 different compounds linked with metabolism that were different in the women destined to develop the condition, and said that could form the basis of a test.

Such a "metabolic fingerprint" test could save the lives of thousands of women, Philip Baker of the University of Alberta in Canada, who helped lead the study, said in a statement.

"If we can bring the rates of maternal deaths in undeveloped countries down to the rates in developed countries, by being able to determine which women are at the greatest risk for developing preeclampsia, then it has that potential to save thousands of lives," Baker said.

There is currently no test to predict which women will develop preeclampsia, which is marked by high blood pressure and high protein levels in urine.

Writing in the journal Hypertension, the researchers said they did a simple study, testing the blood of 60 women who developed preeclampsia later in pregnancy and 60 women who did not. They ran the test at about 15 weeks gestation.

"We identified 40 organic molecules to be significantly elevated and 5 that were reduced in plasma at 14 to 16 weeks' gestation," they wrote.

From this series of compounds they narrowed down a list of 14 sugars, fats and amino acids that were different in the women who developed the condition.

It detected around 90 percent of the cases, with a false positive rate of about 24 percent, meaning 24 percent of the women flagged in the test as having a risk of preeclampsia would never actually develop it.

"A high caliber predictive test would allow women who are identified at high-risk for preeclampsia to seek obstetric care by specialists and to be monitored more vigilantly," Eleni Tsigas, executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation, said in a statement.

"It would also ensure that those women are educated about the warning signs of preeclampsia. There's no reason why women should be caught unaware in the late stages of a preeclampsia crisis."

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

This Week's Celebrity Baby Bumps

Doutzen Kroes celebrates fashion week in a black velvet dress, Stella McCartney is finally spotted but keeps her baby bump under wraps, Nina Garcia celebrates fashion week in all black, Matt Damon and his pregnant wife are spotted at a movie premiere, Christina Applegate joins the fight against cancer in a yellow top paired with a black blazer and later she cools it down with a beautiful blue and white maxi dress.

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15% Off at Umi Shoes

In honor of Umi Shoes 6th birthday, the company is hosting a 15% discount until September 17th. Use the discount code "BDay6" at the checkout.

Umi creates adorable shoes for babies and toddlers, made with high-quality nappa and nubuck leather and non-toxic materials. Their shoes have been seen on the children of celebrities such as Tori Spelling, Candace Cameron, Jennifer Garner, Kelly Ripa, and Jessica Alba...

Read the rest of the product review here.

Parental Depression Risk Highest in First Year After Birth

The risk of depression among parents is highest in the first year after a child is born, with history of depression, younger parental age, and increased social deprivation linked to a higher risk of depression, according to a study published online Sept. 6 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In a prospective cohort study, Shreya Dave, Ph.D., of the University College London, and colleagues evaluated primary care records from more than 350 general practices in The Health Improvement Network database between 1993 and 2007, assessing 86,957 mother, father, and child triads.

The investigators found that the overall incidence of depression from the birth of a child up to age 12 years was higher for mothers compared to fathers (7.53 versus 2.69 per 100 person-years). Depression was highest in the first year postpartum, at 13.93 per 100 person-years among mothers and 3.56 per 100 person-years among fathers. Lower parental age at the birth of a child, a history of depression, and higher social deprivation were all linked to an increased likelihood of parental depression.

"Parents are at highest risk for depression in the first year after the birth of their child," the authors write. "Parents with a history of depression, younger parents, and those from deprived areas are particularly vulnerable to depression. There is a need for appropriate recognition and management of parental depression in primary care."

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Penelope Cruz is Officially Pregnant!

After weeks (and months) of speculation, a representative for Penelope Cruz has revealed that the actress is indeed expecting her first child with husband Javier Bardem!

This news comes after a photo was released yesterday of Cruz on the set of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment sporting what appears to be a good-sized baby bump.

The rep shared via Hello! Magazine, that the actress, who quietly married Bardem in July, is four-and-a-half months along.

Congratulations to the Cruz/Bardem family!

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C-section rates higher at for-profit hospitals

For-profit hospitals across California state are performing cesarean sections at higher rates than nonprofit hospitals, a California Watch analysis has found.

A database compiled from state birthing records revealed that, all factors considered, women are at least 17 percent more likely to have a cesarean section at a for-profit hospital than at one that operates as a nonprofit. A surgical birth can bring in twice the revenue of a vaginal delivery.

In addition, some hospitals appear to be performing more C-sections for non-medical reasons - including a doctor's level of patience and the staffing schedules in maternity wards, according to interviews with health professionals.

Across the state, more women are having C-sections for a variety of reasons: a rise in obesity and the number of older mothers, fear of lawsuits among doctors and hospitals, and a growing cultural acceptance of the procedure. Rather than examine these well-known trends, California Watch looked at why individual hospitals are performing cesarean sections at higher rates than others.

The statewide database revealed significant differences among 253 hospitals in California. New mothers had a 9 percent chance of giving birth by C-section at the nonprofit Kaiser Permanente Redwood City Medical Center, for example, while new mothers at the for-profit Los Angeles Community Hospital had a 47 percent chance of undergoing a surgical birth.

In Riverside County, hospitals just miles apart had dramatically different rates, even though they serve essentially the same population.

Some critics say the numbers provide ammunition to those who have long suspected that unnecessary C-sections are performed to help pad the bottom line.

To doctors and other health professionals, the results of the analysis were troubling.

"We take this extremely seriously," said Dr. Jeanne Conry, California district chairwoman of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "The wide variation in C-section rates really is a cause for concern."

This was the first independent analysis of C-section rates at the 253 hospitals reporting birth statistics to state health authorities from 2005 through 2007 and the first showing for-profit hospitals with higher rates than nonprofit ones. Studies in other countries have shown the same relationship between for-profit health care institutions and C-sections.

The notion that hospitals could be pushing C-sections for money is "a wrong premise," according to Rick Black, a representative for the for-profit Tenet Healthcare who said the decision to perform the surgery is made by the doctor and patient, while the hospital exerts no direct influence.

By comparing hospitals with similar demographics, the California Watch analysis revealed that rising C-section rates cannot be completely attributed to changes in patient health and preference.

California Watch examined the births least likely to require C-sections, those in which mothers without prior C-sections carry a single fetus - positioned head down - at full term and found that, after adjusting for the age of the mothers, the average weighted C-section rate for nonprofit hospitals was 16 percent, while for-profit hospitals had a rate of 19 percent.

That may seem like a small percentage gap to the casual observer, but medical experts consider it a significant difference. It means women are 17 percent more likely to have a C-section if they give birth at a for-profit hospital.

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Discount Code for 2Chix Maternity and Baby

2 chix maternity and baby (and now children up to age 6!) was recently featured in PEOPLE magazine as a celebrity hot spot!

In celebration, they are offering a discount code for our readers!

Use discount code CELEBRATE to receive 20% off your next order on-line at www.2chix.com. Or mention People Magazine in the boutique and receive 15% off your purchase.

The offer is good now through October 1, 2010.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mario Lopez & Courtney Mazza Welcome a Daughter!

It's a girl for Extra host Mario Lopez and girlfriend Courtney Mazza!

The happy couple welcomed daughter Gia Francesca Lopez on Saturday, September 11th, in Burbank, Calif. weighing in at 6 lbs, 4 oz.

In a statement released to Extra, the proud papa said that both mom and baby are doing well and shared,

"We are so overjoyed. What an amazing, wonderful and overwhelming experience to welcome our daughter into the world."

"She's precious ... I just want to go and stare at her."

Mom Courtney was "a rock star," Mario gushes, adding, "She was so tough and so strong during the whole thing."

It sounds like the pair are enjoying the early days of parenthood: "She's chubby and she looks so cute," Mario says of their brand new baby girl. "The whole thing is so surreal, and it happened so quick. I feel amazing."

Lopez, who recently revealed his premonition that he was having a girl, met 28-year-old Mazza when the two performed in the Broadway hit A Chorus Line in 2008.

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Cord Blood Donations From Minorities Needed

Makayla Johnson's young life depends entirely on help from a stranger.

Just 19 months old, Makayla needs a stem cell or bone marrow transplant.

She was diagnosed one month after birth with a rare disease, Diamond Blackfan Anemia, which leaves her body unable to make red blood cells.

"She almost died in my arms," said her mother, Amanda Hampton, 21, of Detroit, remembering how she rushed her daughter to the hospital during her first month of life. Her baby could barely breathe, was sweating profusely, and her skin had turned pale.

Makayla's best option is a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, a procedure that transplants cells derived from blood products or umbilical cord blood to help patients rebuild their circulatory or immune systems. Her mother said she hopes to find a match through the Be the Match Registry of the National Marrow Donor Program, a federally designated agency that helps coordinate requests from unrelated donors for stem cell and bone marrow transplants.

But Makayla's chances of finding a match are more limited because only 7% of the donors to the registry are African American, despite major outreach efforts during more than a decade to increase minority contributions. In Michigan, 26% of the 6,000 cord blood units collected since 1999, when the first program began, have been from minorities, said Kathy Welte, director of the Center for Cord Blood for the national program.

Each year, about 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with conditions that would be helped by stem cell or bone marrow transplants. But 70%, or about 12,600, have no related donor and must find one through the national registry.

The shortage of minority donors has forced national and local agencies to rev up efforts to expand programs that offer expecting women and couples a chance to donate a small blood sample extracted from the umbilical cord after birth for donation to public cord blood banks.

Oakwood Healthcare in Dearborn, which began its collection program in 2006, is boosting minority outreach efforts. This year, through August, Oakwood collected 584 cord blood units, of which 62% were white or Middle Eastern, 17% African American, 12% Hispanic, 8% multiracial and 1% Asian.

Established programs use staff trained in approaching patients and collecting the samples. By comparison, an outstate program at 14 hospitals run by Michigan Blood, a nonprofit blood agency, requires expecting women and couples to do the paperwork and arrangements needed to make a transplant happen.

The program also is limited to storing 350 cord blood units a year because "financially that's all we can handle," said Mary Burroughs, stem cell laboratory supervisor. "There is no shortage of donors, just a shortage of funds to grow the program more."

Young women and couples increasingly are knowledgeable about cord blood donation, said Suanne Dorr, director of bone marrow transplant clinical laboratories at Karmanos. The program "gets calls from mothers every day who want to donate," she said. Additional patients hear about cord blood donations from doctors and nurses who raise the issue during prenatal visits and classes, she said.

Still, many new parents, including Hampton, never heard about donating.

At the time she gave birth to Makayla at Hutzel Women's Hospital, it did not participate in a public cord blood collection program. "I never heard anything about it," she said.

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