News Scan 8/13/2019: Weed and Pregnancy, Vitamin D and Diabetes

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Finally (!) more studies are being conducted the unique effects that medicines might have on pregnant women. Medical research has dragged their feet on conducting this type of research for several reasons: fear, lack of need and cost. 

One empathizes with the fear of harming a fetus, however, pregnant women need to take medicines and without this research, doctors can only guess. Not fair to mother, fetus or future child.

The FDA has approved drugs without forcing the drug companies to do the research. Without any repercussions from not doing the research, like an unruly teenager drug companies just don’t do it. 

The cost is significant because the results encompass not just the pregnant woman’s health but that of her fetus and follow up years later with the child. However, one doesn’t have to dig far to discover that the cost of the research is minute compared to sales of the drugs. 

In other news, Vitamin D has been touted as a cure for many conditions, but few have held up to research scrutiny. Below you’ll find info that Vitamin D doesn’t help with diabetes (in adults) or with asthma but seems to confer dental health. 

 

Weed and Pregnancy 

Even though a growing number of women admit to using cannabis during pregnancy, there’s no proof that pot or its derivations such as CBD can relieve morning sickness. The few studies that have been published suggest that marijuana in pregnancy could cause premature birth, low birth weight and infant brain deficits. Because marijuana is illegal federally, studies have been limited, short and often conducted on animals or volunteer pot users who use multiple substances that confuse the results. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has several studies underway that are described in this article. 

Is pot safe when pregnant? Study seeks answer, draws critics – AP News (Associated Press), August 7, 2019  

 

Vitamin D, Pregnancy and Fewer Cavities in Babies

A study initially designed to determine if women given high-dose shots of Vitamin D, 2400 IU, during pregnancy have children with a lower risk of asthma. The study didn’t show a big enough differential to be statistically significant. However, in the six-year followup, the offspring were given dental exams where it was noted that the children had 50% fewer cavities (enamel defects). 

Association of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy With the Risk of Enamel Defects in Offspring – JAMA Pediatrics, August 5, 2019 

 

Diabetes and Vitamin D 

2,423 persons with a high risk of diabetes were randomly assigned to either get vitamin D or a placebo. They were followed for an average of 2.5 years. There was no difference between the two groups in the number of people who ended up with diabetes. This study could not show that vitamin D prevents or delays the onset of diabetes.

Vitamin D Supplementation and Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes – NEJM, August 8, 2019

 


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