Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Fertility Therapies May Add No Risks for Babies

Research suggests that babies conceived with a little help from science are no more likely to have birth defects or chromosomal abnormalities than babies made the old-fashioned way.

But women who become pregnant through in vitro fertilization may experience more complications during their pregnancy, the scientists cautioned.

The findings, however, should help allay previous fears that fertility drugs, IVF and other therapies might be harmful to the babies conceived by them.

All in all, "this is good news," said Tracy Shevell, author of the study, which appears in the November issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

'Blindsight' Is Explored in Study

People blinded by brain damage can still sense the shape and color of objects before them, a new study of "blindsight," as the phenomenon is known, suggests.

Nine healthy volunteers who were given an electromagnetic pulse to temporarily deactivate the brain's primary visual cortex were able to identify simple shapes in 75 percent of trials, and colors in 81 percent, according to results published online by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study by researchers at Rice University in Houston suggests that the brain may process some visual information unconsciously through an alternative pathway.

Certain Vegetables May Help to Prevent Cancer

Five studies presented at a conference yesterday lent support to the idea that chemicals in certain vegetables and herbs, such as broccoli sprouts, cabbage and ginkgo biloba, may help prevent cancer.

Japanese researchers found that eating fresh broccoli sprouts cut infections from a type of bacteria linked to stomach cancer. While Johns Hopkins University researchers found that applying broccoli-sprout extract to hairless mice prevented cancer.

Researchers at the University of New Mexico, Michigan State University, and the National Food and Nutrition Institute in Warsaw found women who ate three servings a week of cooked cabbage or sauerkraut may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. In Boston, scientists found a reduced risk of ovarian cancer in women who consumed ginkgo biloba. And Florida A&M University researchers found that a garlic component curbed the effects of a suspected carcinogen released by cooking meats and eggs.

-- From News Services

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