Taking painkillers during pregnancy may lower the fertility of the unborn child in later life, scientists have warned.
The study identifies that these drugs may also affect the fertility of future generations, by leaving marks on DNA.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that certain medicines, including paracetamol, should be used with caution during pregnancy.
Researchers stress that advice for pregnant women remains unchanged. Current guidelines say that, if necessary, paracetamol – also known as acetaminophen – should be used at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time. Ibuprofen should be avoided during pregnancy.
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh in the UK looked at the effects of paracetamol and ibuprofen on samples of human foetal testes and ovaries.
They found similar effects using several different experimental approaches, including lab tests on human tissue samples and animal studies.
Human tissues exposed to either drug for one week in a dish had reduced numbers of cells that give rise to sperm and eggs, called germ cells, the study found.
Ovaries exposed to paracetamol for one week had more than 40 per cent fewer egg-producing cells. After ibuprofen exposure, the number of cells was almost halved.
This is important because girls produce all of their eggs in the womb, so if they are born with a reduced number it could lead to an early menopause.
Painkiller exposure during development could have effects on unborn boys too, the study found. Testicular tissue exposed to painkillers in a culture dish had around a quarter fewer sperm-producing cells after exposure to paracetamol or ibuprofen.
The team also tested the effects of painkiller treatment on mice that carried grafts of human foetal testicular tissue.
These grafts have been shown to mimic how the testes grow and function during development in the womb.
After just one day of treatment with a human-equivalent dose of paracetamol, the number of sperm-producing cells in the graft tissue had dropped by 17 per cent. After a week of drug treatment, there were almost one third fewer cells.
Previous studies with rats have shown that painkillers administered in pregnancy led to a reduction in germ cells in female offspring. This affected their fertility and the fertility of females in subsequent generations.
The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that exposure to paracetamol or ibuprofen triggers mechanisms in the cell that make changes in the structure of DNA, called epigenetic marks.
These marks can be inherited, helping to explain how the effects of painkillers on fertility may be passed on to future generations.
Painkillers’ effects on germ cells are likely caused by their actions on molecules called prostaglandins, which have key functions in the ovaries and testes, the researchers found.
“We would encourage women to think carefully before taking painkillers in pregnancy and to follow existing guidelines – taking the lowest possible dose for the shortest time possible,” said Rod Mitchell, from University of Edinburgh, who led the research.
The Perfect Guide To Take Care Of Your Arthritic Knee
A certain nip in the air, frequent urge for a steaming cup of tea and an endearing love for sleeping a little longer inside the snuggly quilt is back. The season of blankets, warmers and soups is here! While it brings with itself festive spirit and joy, it is dreaded by the elderly and arthritis patients for it increases their difficulty. With a dip in the mercury, many patients experience increased knee pain, stiffness and unease due to restricted bodily circulations and elasticity of soft tissues caused by atmospheric pressure. Often mistaken as age-related wear and tear or seasonal change, it could be potential signs of arthritis inflammation of the joints and seek medical intervention
Timely clinical advice and necessary precautions can go a long way in managing this pain that aggravates with the onset of winter. It can be addressed by making certain lifestyle changes.
“People tend to become lazy in winters. This can impact the knees and increase the level of pain in cases where people are already undergoing arthritis treatment.A regular 30-minute workout can help lubricate the joints and stimulate blood circulation in the body,” stressed Dr. Dhananjay Gupta, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.
“Staying active is the key to strengthen the muscles supporting the joint, thereby helping in improved joint function. Along with exercises, staying hydrated can control wear and tear of joints,” he added.
For those suffering from chronic knee pain or knee arthritis, the cold can be worse for the joints. But, if the pain is acute and knee arthritis is in the chronic or degenerative stage, one can consider Total Knee Replacement (TKR) therapy.
Sharing his take on the effectiveness of the therapy, Dr.Gupta shared, “When all the alternate treatments such as medications, arthroscopic interventions fail to provide relief to the patients, a TKR therapy is advised. It is the last option for treating severely impaired knees and is one of the safest orthopedic procedures.By replacing a diseased knee cap with a sturdy implant, it not only helps relieve pain, restores knee function but also improves the individual’s quality of life significantly. With a strict physiotherapy routine, a patient can be completely mobile within 6 weeks of the procedure.”
Take precautionary measures. Sometimes, patients who have sought clinical advice or had a knee surgery in the past, experience pain during winters. A visit to the doctor will help you understand the symptoms better. The medical expert will analyse your medical profile and prescribe precautions accordingly- workouts, physiotherapy, proper diet, supplements etc. to strengthen bones during winters.An active lifestyle can keep joint pain away, especially for arthritis patients. Don’t let the cold wave outdoor deter you from exercise. Push yourself to take small walk breaks at work or while lounging around at home to keep your weight under control.There is nothing that heals the joints like Vitamin D does. Get as much sun as possible to fuel aching joints. And regulate your diet with nutritious and vitamin rich foods such as orange, spinach, broccoli, dairy products and dry fruits.A knee joint takes maximum stress than any other joint, so instead of wearing heavy sweaters and cardigans that can add up to your body weight chose layering of light yet warm clothes.Joint movement improves blood circulation to its peripheral areas leading to reduced stiffness. So, move out of your blankets to stretch and move around a little.
Eat more dietary fibre to lower risk of non-communicable diseases
Here’s another reason why you should increase your consumption of dietary fibre!
According to a recent study, high intake of dietary fibre and whole grains is linked to reduced risk of non-communicable diseases as compared to people who eat lesser amounts.
Fibre rich fruits include bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, while beans, legumes or darker coloured vegetables too have high-fibre content.
Furthermore, whole grain breads or nuts like almonds, pistachios or pumpkin and sunflower seeds too have a high-fibre content in them.
The findings appear in the journal The Lancet.
Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.
In addition, a meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intakes.
The study was commissioned by the World Health Organisation to inform the development of new recommendations for optimal daily fibre intake and to determine which types of carbohydrate provide the best protection against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and weight gain.
Speaking about it, Professor Jim Mann, corresponding author at the University of Otago, New Zealand said, “Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases.”
The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against type 2 diabetes and stroke only.
Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. This may account for the links to health being less clear.
Researchers study patterns of back pain
Researchers have examined the patterns of back pain over time and patient characteristics in relation to the disability.
In addition, they have identified the extent of healthcare and medication use (including opioids) associated with different patterns.
Back pain is among the most frequently reported health problems in the world.
For the study, researchers from the University Health Network’s Krembil Research Institute in Toronto, Canada studied 12,782 participants for 16 years.
They provided data on factors including comorbidities, pain, disability, opioid and other medication use, and healthcare visits.
The results showed that almost half (45.6 per cent) of the participants reported back pain at least once.
The study included four groups of pain: persistent (18 per cent), developing (28.1 per cent), recovery (20.5 per cent), and occasional (33.4 per cent).
The findings, published in Arthritis Care and Research, showed that the persistent and developing groups tended to have more pain and disability, as well as more healthcare visits and medication use than those in the recovery and occasional trajectory groups.
In addition, the recovery trajectory group increased the use of opioids and antidepressants over time.
“The good news is that one in five people with back pain recovered. However, they continued to use opioids and antidepressants, suggesting that people recovering from back pain need ongoing monitoring,” said lead author Mayilee Canizares, postdoctoral candidate from the varsity.
The bad news is that one in five experienced persistent back pain, said Canizares.
People with back pain are a heterogeneous group that may benefit from different approaches to management rather than a traditional one size fits all approach.The distinct groups identified in the study may represent opportunities for more individualised treatment and preventative strategies, Canizares noted.