Karin B Michels

University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (177)1293.05 Total impact

  • Timothy M Barrow, Karin B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic epidemiology includes the study of variation in epigenetic traits and the risk of disease in populations. Its application to the field of cancer has provided insight into how lifestyle and environmental factors influence the epigenome and how epigenetic events may be involved in carcinogenesis. Furthermore, it has the potential to bring benefit to patients through the identification of diagnostic markers that enable the early detection of disease and prognostic markers that can inform upon appropriate treatment strategies. However, there are a number of challenges associated with the conduct of such studies, and with the identification of biomarkers that can be applied to the clinical setting. In this review, we delineate the challenges faced in the design of epigenetic epidemiology studies in cancer, including the suitability of blood as a surrogate tissue and the capture of genome-wide DNA methylation. We describe how epigenetic epidemiology has brought insight into risk factors associated with lung, breast, colorectal and bladder cancer and review relevant research. We discuss recent findings on the identification of epigenetic diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for these cancers.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 08/2014; · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We evaluated the associations of both maternal and paternal smoking during pregnancy with the risk of type 2 diabetes in daughters and explored whether any association was explained by weight at birth or BMI throughout life.
    Diabetes care. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting leads to parent-of-origin specific gene expression and is determined by epigenetic modification of genes. The paternally expressed gene insulin-like growth-factor 2 (IGF2) is located about ~100kb from the maternally expressed non-coding gene H19 on human chromosome 11, and both genes play major roles in embryonic and placental growth. Given adverse gestational environments can influence DNA methylation patterns in extra-embryonic tissues, we hypothesized that prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) alters H19 and IGF2 methylation in placenta. Our study was restricted to a total of 196 women co-enrolled in the Predictors of Preeclampsia Study and the Harvard Epigenetic Birth Cohort. First trimester urine concentrations of 8 phenols and 11 phthalate metabolites were measured and used to characterize EDC exposure profiles. We assessed methylation of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) by pyrosequencing of H19, IGF2DMR0, and IGF2DMR2 and correlated values with phenol and phthalate metabolites. We also assessed overall expression and allele-specific expression of H19 and IGF2. We found several significant associations between DNA methylation and additive biomarker measurements. A significant decrease in H19 methylation was associated with high levels of the sum (Σ) of phthalate metabolites and metabolites of low molecular weight (LMW) phthalates. Σphthalate and LMW phthalate concentrations were inversely associated with IGF2DMR0 methylation values. Variation in methylation was not associated with changes in allele-specific expression. However increased deviation of allele-specific expression of H19 was associated with Σdi(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites and high molecular weight phthalates. Neither methylation nor expression of these imprinted regions had a significant impact on birth length or birth weight. Overall, our study provides new insight into an epigenetic mechanism that occurs following EDC exposure.
    Environmental research. 06/2014;
  • M M Dougan, W C Willett, K B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: Background/Objectives:In animal studies, exposure to multi-vitamins may be associated with obesity in the offspring; however, data in humans is sparse. We therefore examined the association between prenatal vitamin intake during pregnancy and offspring obesity.Subjects/Methods:We investigated the association between prenatal vitamin intake and obesity among 29 160 mother-daughter dyads in the Nurses' Health Study II. Mothers of participants provided information on prenatal vitamin use during pregnancy with the nurse daughter. Information on body fatness at ages 5 and 10, body mass index (BMI) at age 18, weight in 1989 and 2009, waist circumference, and height was obtained from the daughter. Polytomous logistic regression was used to predict BMI in early adulthood and adulthood, and body fatness in childhood. Linear regression was used to predict waist circumference in adulthood.Results:In utero exposure to prenatal vitamins was not associated with body fatness, either in childhood or adulthood. Women whose mothers took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy had a covariate-adjusted odds ratio of being obese in adulthood of 0.99 (95% CI 0.92-1.05, P-value=0.68) compared to women whose mothers did not take prenatal vitamins. Women whose mothers took prenatal vitamins during pregnancy had a covariate-adjusted odds ratio of having the largest body shape at age 5 of 1.02 (95% CI 0.90-1.15, P-value=0.78). In additional analyses, in utero exposure to prenatal vitamins was also unrelated to adult abdominal adiposity.Conclusions:Exposure to prenatal vitamins was not associated with body fatness either in childhood or in adulthood.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 19 June 2014; doi:10.1038/ijo.2014.107.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 06/2014; · 5.22 Impact Factor
  • Jenny L Carwile, Walter C Willett, Karin B Michels
    The Journal of nutrition. 05/2014; 144(5):791-2.
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    ABSTRACT: Despite the high prevalence of depression, anxiety, and use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy, there is much uncertainty around the impact of high levels of distress or antidepressant medications on the developing fetus. These intrauterine exposures may lead to epigenetic alterations to the DNA during this vulnerable time of fetal development, which may have important lifetime health consequences. In this study we investigated patterns of genome-wide DNA methylation using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation450 BeadChip in the umbilical cord blood of neonates exposed to non-medicated maternal depression or anxiety (n = 13), or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy (n = 22), relative to unexposed neonates (n = 23). We identified 42 CpG sites with significantly different DNA methylation levels in neonates exposed to non-medicated depression or anxiety. CpG site methylation was not different in neonates exposed to SSRIs relative to the controls, after adjusting for multiple comparisons. In neonates exposed either to non-medicated maternal depression or SSRIs, the vast majority of CpG sites displayed lower DNA methylation relative to the controls, but differences were very small. A gene ontology analysis suggests significant clustering of the top genes associated with non-medicated maternal depression/anxiety, related to regulation of transcription, translation, and cell division processes (e.g., negative regulation of translation in response to oxidative stress, regulation of mRNA export from the nucleus, regulation of stem cell division). While the functional consequences of these findings are yet to be determined, these small DNA methylation differences may suggest a possible role for epigenetic processes in the development of neonates exposed to non-medicated maternal depression/anxiety.
    Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society 04/2014; 9(7). · 4.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The etiology of male breast cancer is poorly understood, partly because of its relative rarity. Although genetic factors are involved, less is known regarding the role of anthropometric and hormonally related risk factors. In the Male Breast Cancer Pooling Project, a consortium of 11 case-control and 10 cohort investigations involving 2405 case patients (n = 1190 from case-control and n = 1215 from cohort studies) and 52013 control subjects, individual participant data were harmonized and pooled. Unconditional logistic regression generated study design-specific (case-control/cohort) odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs), with exposure estimates combined using fixed effects meta-analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided. Risk was statistically significantly associated with weight (highest/lowest tertile: OR = 1.36; 95% CI = 1.18 to 1.57), height (OR = 1.18; 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.38), and body mass index (BMI; OR = 1.30; 95% CI = 1.12 to 1.51), with evidence that recent rather than distant BMI was the strongest predictor. Klinefelter syndrome (OR = 24.7; 95% CI = 8.94 to 68.4) and gynecomastia (OR = 9.78; 95% CI = 7.52 to 12.7) were also statistically significantly associated with risk, relations that were independent of BMI. Diabetes also emerged as an independent risk factor (OR = 1.19; 95% CI = 1.04 to 1.37). There were also suggestive relations with cryptorchidism (OR = 2.18; 95% CI = 0.96 to 4.94) and orchitis (OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.02 to 1.99). Although age at onset of puberty and histories of infertility were unrelated to risk, never having had children was statistically significantly related (OR = 1.29; 95% CI = 1.01 to 1.66). Among individuals diagnosed at older ages, a history of fractures was statistically significantly related (OR = 1.41; 95% CI = 1.07 to 1.86). Consistent findings across case-control and cohort investigations, complemented by pooled analyses, indicated important roles for anthropometric and hormonal risk factors in the etiology of male breast cancer. Further investigation should focus on potential roles of endogenous hormones.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 02/2014; · 14.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bisulfite treatment of DNA introduces methylation-dependent sequence changes through selective chemical conversion of nonmethylated cytosine to uracil and serves as pretreatment step for the majority of DNA methylation analysis methods.
    Medical Epigenetics. 02/2014; Med Epigen(2):28–36.
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    Alexandra M Binder, Karin B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: Investigation of the biological mechanism by which folate acts to affect fetal development can inform appraisal of expected benefits and risk management. This research is ethically imperative given the ubiquity of folic acid fortified products in the US. Considering that folate is an essential component in the one-carbon metabolism pathway that provides methyl groups for DNA methylation, epigenetic modifications provide a putative molecular mechanism mediating the effect of folic acid supplementation on neonatal and pediatric outcomes. In this study we use a Mendelian Randomization (Mendelian Randomization) approach to assess the effect of red blood cell (RBC) folate on genome-wide DNA methylation in cord blood. Site-specific CpG methylation within the proximal promoter regions of approximately 14,500 genes was analyzed using the Illumina Infinium Human Methylation27 Bead Chip for 50 infants from the Epigenetic Birth Cohort at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Using methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase genotype as the instrument, the Mendelian Randomization approach identified 7 CpG loci with a significant (mostly positive) association between RBC folate and methylation level. Among the genes in closest proximity to this significant subset of CpG loci, several enriched biologic processes were involved in nucleic acid transport and metabolic processing. Compared to the standard ordinary least squares regression method, our estimates were demonstrated to be more robust to unmeasured confounding. To the authors' knowledge, this is the largest genome-wide analysis of the effects of folate on methylation pattern, and the first to employ Mendelian Randomization to assess the effects of an exposure on epigenetic modifications. These results can help guide future analyses of the causal effects of periconceptional folate levels on candidate pathways.
    BMC Bioinformatics 12/2013; 14(1):353. · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenome-wide association studies (EWAS) hold promise for the detection of new regulatory mechanisms that may be susceptible to modification by environmental and lifestyle factors affecting susceptibility to disease. Epigenome-wide screening methods cover an increasing number of CpG sites, but the complexity of the data poses a challenge to separating robust signals from noise. Appropriate study design, a detailed a priori analysis plan and validation of results are essential to minimize the danger of false positive results and contribute to a unified approach. Epigenome-wide mapping studies in homogenous cell populations will inform our understanding of normal variation in the methylome that is not associated with disease or aging. Here we review concepts for conducting a stringent and powerful EWAS, including the choice of analyzed tissue, sources of variability and systematic biases, outline analytical solutions to EWAS-specific problems and highlight caveats in interpretation of data generated from samples with cellular heterogeneity.
    Nature Methods 09/2013; 10(10):949-55. · 23.57 Impact Factor
  • Jenny L Carwile, Walter C Willett, Karin B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: Later menopause is a risk factor for breast and endometrial cancer, yet few studies have investigated dietary predictors of this potentially modifiable event. In particular, dairy contains hormones and growth factors that could potentially impact menopausal timing. We therefore assessed the association between regular consumption of dairy foods and related nutrients and age at natural menopause. We conducted a prospective analysis with up to 20 y of follow-up in 46,059 participants in the Nurses' Health Study who were premenopausal in 1980. We observed 30,816 events of natural menopause over 401,754 person-years. In the total population, the estimated mean age at natural menopause was 51.5 y for women who consumed no low-fat dairy and 51.5, 51.6, 51.7, and 51.8 y for women who consumed 0.1-1.0, 1.1-2.0, 2.1-3.0, and >3 servings of low-fat dairy daily, respectively. Premenopausal women <51 y of age consuming >3 servings of low-fat dairy per day were 14% less likely (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.77, 0.96; P-trend < 0.0001) to report natural menopause in the next month relative to those consuming 0.1-1 servings/d. Similar results were obtained for skim milk (for >6 servings/wk vs. 0-1 servings/mo: HR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.89, 0.97; P-trend < 0.0001) but not for total high-fat dairy or whole milk. Dairy foods were not associated with age at menopause among women ≥51 y of age. These findings support the growing body of literature on the hormonally active nature of milk and dairy foods.
    Journal of Nutrition 08/2013; · 4.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prior studies suggest that women who use antidepressants during pregnancy have an increased risk for preeclampsia, yet the comparative safety of specific antidepressants remains unclear. US nationwide Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) data have not been used to study medication safety during pregnancy. We identified 100,942 pregnant women with depression from 2000 to 2007 MAX data. We used pharmacy dispensing records to ascertain exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), serotonin-norepenephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), tricyclic, bupropion, other antidepressant monotherapy or polytherapy, and specific antidepressants, during the second trimester and first half of the third trimester. Relative risks (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were adjusted for delivery year, preeclampsia risk factors, depression severity proxies, other antidepressant indications, other medications, and healthcare utilization. The risk of preeclampsia was 5.4% among women with depression and no antidepressant exposure. Compared with these women, the risk for preeclampsia was higher among those receiving SNRI (RR: 1.52, 95% CI = 1.26-1.83) and tricyclic monotherapy (RR: 1.62, 95% CI = 1.23-2.12), but not SSRI monotherapy (RR: 1.00, 95% CI = 0.93-1.07) or other antidepressants. Compared with women receiving SSRI monotherapy, preeclampsia risk was higher among women with SNRI (RR: 1.54, 95% CI = 1.28-1.86) and tricyclic (RR: 1.64, 95% CI = 1.25-2.16) monotherapy. None of the specific SSRIs was associated with preeclampsia. The RR with venlafaxine was 1.57 (95% CI = 1.29-1.91) and with amitriptyline 1.72 (95% CI = 1.24-2.40). In this population, SNRIs and tricyclics were associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia than SSRIs.
    Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.) 07/2013; · 5.51 Impact Factor
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    H R Harris, W C Willett, K B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: Objective:Emerging evidence suggests that prenatal exposures may affect long-term health outcomes. In utero exposure to smoking is associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. However, few studies have examined how prenatal exposure to parental smoking influences risk of obesity in adulthood and whether these associations are independent of childhood and adolescent adiposity. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether prenatal exposure to parental smoking influences body size in adulthood and whether any association may be mediated by childhood and adolescent body size.Methods:We investigated the association between parental smoking during pregnancy and risk of overweight and obesity in adulthood and at age 18, and adiposity during childhood among 35 370 participants in the Nurses' Health Study II. Data on smoking during pregnancy and socioeconomic variables were provided by the mothers, and anthropometric data and adult risk factors were reported by participants.Results:After adjustment for socioeconomic and behavioral variables, maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with adiposity at ages 5-10, age 18, and during adulthood. For age 18 overweight the ORs (95% CIs) for 1-14, 15-24, and 25+cigarettes/day were 1.13 (1.18-1.50), 1.40 (1.20-1.64), and 1.15 (0.79-1.69) and for obesity were 1.41 (1.14-1.75), 1.69 (1.31-2.18), and 2.36 (1.44-3.86). The corresponding ORs (95% CIs) for obesity in adulthood were 1.26 (1.16-1.37), 1.46 (1.30-1.63), and 1.43 (1.10-1.86). Risk of adiposity was not increased among daughters whose mothers stopped smoking during the first trimester (OR [95% CI] for overweight (1.03 [95% CI 0.90-1.17] and obesity (1.12 [95% CI 0.97-1.30]). Women whose fathers smoked during pregnancy were also at increased risk of overweight and obesity in adulthood with covariate-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) for obesity of 1.19 (1.11-1.29) for 1-14 cigarettes/day, 1.27 (1.18-1.37) for 15-24 cigarettes/day, and 1.40 (1.27-1.54) for 25+ cigarettes/day compared to fathers who did not smoke (ptrend<0.0001). Paternal smoking during pregnancy was also associated with an increased risk of obesity at age 18 among those whose fathers smoked 15 or more cigarettes/day but was not associated with childhood body size.Conclusions:Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated in a dose-response manner with overweight and obesity in the daughter through adolescence and adult life. Smoking cessation during the first trimester appears to mitigate this excess risk. Paternal smoking was also associated with risk of overweight and obesity of the adult daughter and this association persisted after adjustment for maternal smoking.International Journal of Obesity accepted article preview online, 29 May 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2013.101.
    International journal of obesity (2005) 05/2013; · 5.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Imprinted genes are monoallelically expressed according to the parent of origin and are critical for proper placental and embryonic development. Disruption of methylation patterns at imprinted loci resulting in loss of imprinting (LOI) may lead to serious imprinting disorders (e.g., Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome) and is described in some cancers (e.g., Wilms' tumor). As most research has focused on children with cancer or other abnormal phenotypes, the imprinting status in healthy infants at birth has not been characterized. We examined the prevalence of H19 and IGF2 LOI at birth by allele-specific expression assays analysis on 114 human individuals. Overall expression and methylation analyses were performed on a subset of samples. We found that LOI of H19 was observed for 4% of individuals in cord blood and 3.3% in placenta, and for IGF2 of 22% of individuals in the cord blood and 0% in placenta. Interestingly, LOI status did not correspond to aberrant methylation levels of the imprinted DMRs or with changes in overall gene expression for the majority of individuals. Our observations suggest that LOI is present in phenotypically healthy infants. Determining a "normal" human epigenotype range is important for discovering factors required to maintain a healthy pregnancy and embryonic development.-Rancourt, R. C., Harris, H. R., Barault, L., Michels, K. B. The prevalence of loss of imprinting of H19 and IGF2 at birth.
    The FASEB Journal 04/2013; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and abnormal Pap test results are common, and most do not progress to cervical cancer. Because it is difficult to predict which mild Pap abnormalities will develop into precancerous lesions, many women undergo painful and costly evaluations and even unnecessary treatment. The objective of this study was to develop a risk prediction model based on clinical and demographic information to identify women most likely to develop significant precancerous lesions (cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grades 2/3 [CIN 2/3] or adenocarcinoma in situ [AIS]) among women with mild Pap abnormalities (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance/low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion). MATERIALS AND METHODS: The Abnormal Pap Smear Registry includes women who received treatment at the Brigham and Women's Hospital/Dana Farber Cancer Institute Pap Smear Evaluation Center beginning in 2006. It includes 1,072 women with mild cervical dysplasia (atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance or low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion) on their referral Pap test. We derived a clinical prediction model to predict the probability of developing CIN 2/3 or AIS using multivariate logistic regression with a split-sample approach. RESULTS: By the end of the follow-up, 93 of the 1,072 women developed CIN 2/3 or AIS (8.7%). There were several differences between women who developed CIN 2/3 or AIS and women who did not. However, once we put these into the regression model, the only variable that was significantly associated with CIN 2/3 or AIS was having a history of an abnormal Pap or biopsy result (odds ratio = 2.44; 95% CI =1.03-5.76). The resulting prediction model had poor discriminative ability and was poorly calibrated. CONCLUSIONS: Despite accounting for known risk factors, we were unable to predict individual patients' probability for progression on the basis of available data.
    Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease 03/2013; · 1.21 Impact Factor
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    Epigenetics & Chromatin 03/2013; 6(1). · 4.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: PURPOSE: Physical and sexual abuse are prevalent social hazards. We sought to examine the association between childhood physical and sexual abuse and age at menarche. METHODS: Among 68,505 participants enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study II, we investigated the association between childhood physical abuse and sexual abuse and menarche before age 11 years (early) or after age 15 years (late) using multivariate logistic regression analysis, mutually adjusting for both types of abuse. RESULTS: Fifty-seven percent of respondents reported some form of physical or sexual abuse in childhood. We found a positive dose-response association between severity of sexual abuse in childhood and risk for early menarche. Compared with women who reported no childhood sexual abuse, the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) for early menarche in women who reported childhood sexual abuse was 1.20 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.10, 1.37) for sexual touching and 1.49 (95% CI: 1.34, 1.66) for forced sexual activity. Severe physical abuse predicted early menarche (AOR = 1.22, 95% CI: 1.10, 1.37). Childhood physical abuse had a dose-response association with late age at menarche: AOR 1.17 (95% CI: 1.04, 1.32) for mild, 1.20 (95% CI: 1.08, 1.33) for moderate, and 1.50 (95% CI: 1.27, 1.77) for severe physical abuse. Sexual abuse was not associated with late menarche. CONCLUSIONS: Childhood abuse was prevalent in this large cohort of U.S. women. Severity of childhood sexual abuse was associated with risk for early onset of menarche, and physical abuse was associated with both early and late onset of menarche.
    Journal of Adolescent Health 02/2013; 52(2):241-247. · 2.97 Impact Factor
  • Anja Osterhues, Nyima S Ali, Karin B Michels
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    ABSTRACT: The worldwide prevalence of neural tube defects (NTDs) has fallen noticeably during the past 30 years, but the specific etiology and causative mechanism of NTDs remain unknown. Since introduction of mandatory fortification of grains with folic acid, a further decrease in NTD prevalence has been reported in North America and other countries with large variations among ethnic subgroups. However, a significant portion of NTDs still persists. Population data suggest that women of childbearing age may not yet be adequately targeted, while the general population may be overfortified with folic acid. While an excessive folate intake may be associated with adverse effects, there remains uncertainty about the minimum effective folate intake and status required for NTD prevention, and the safe upper folate level. Besides folate, several other lifestyle and environmental factors as well as genetic variations may influence NTD development, possibly by affecting one-carbon metabolism and thus epigenetic events. In conclusion, mandatory folic acid fortification plays a significant part in the reduction of NTD prevalence, but possibly at a cost and with a portion of NTDs remaining. More effective preventive strategies require better understanding of the etiology of this group of birth defects.
    Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 01/2013; 53(11):1180-90. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine whether use of serotonin or non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors near to delivery is associated with postpartum hemorrhage. Cohort study. 2000-07 nationwide Medicaid data (Medicaid Analytic eXtract). 106 000 pregnant women aged 12-55 with a diagnosis of mood or anxiety disorder. Women were categorized into four mutually exclusive exposure groups according to pharmacy dispensing data: current (delivery date), recent (1-30 days before delivery date), past (1-5 months before delivery date), and no exposure (reference group). Risk of postpartum hemorrhage by timing of exposure and by serotonin or non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors, classes of antidepressant, and antidepressant types. Relative risks and 95% confidence intervals adjusted for delivery year, risk factors for postpartum hemorrhage, indicators of severity of mood/anxiety disorder, other indications for antidepressants, and other drugs. High dimensional propensity score (hdPS) methods were used to empirically identify and adjust for additional factors. 12 710 (12%) women had current exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitor monotherapy, and 1495 (1.4%) women had current exposure to non-serotonin reuptake inhibitor monotherapy. The risk of postpartum hemorrhage was 2.8% among women with mood/anxiety disorders but no exposure to antidepressants, 4.0% in the current users of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 3.8% in the current users of non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 3.2% in the recent users of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 3.1% in the recent users of non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 2.5% in the past users of serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and 3.4% in the past users of non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Compared with no exposure, women with current exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors had a 1.47-fold increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage (95% confidence interval 1.33 to 1.62) and women with current non-serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure had a 1.39-fold increased risk (1.07 to 1.81). Results were similar with hdPS adjustment. Women with current exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors had an adjusted excess risk of 1.26% (0.90% to 1.62%), with a number needed to harm of 80, and for women with current exposure to non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors the excess risk was 1.03% (0.07% to 1.99%), with a number needed to harm of 97. For exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors the relative risk was 1.19 (1.03 to 1.38) for recent exposure and 0.93 (0.82 to 1.06) for past exposure; for non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors the figures were 1.17 (0.80 to 1.70) and 1.26 (1.00 to 1.59), respectively. Current exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor monotherapy was also associated with postpartum hemorrhage (1.42, 1.27 to 1.57), as was current serotonin norepinephrine (noradrenaline) reuptake inhibitor (1.90, 1.37 to 2.63) and tricyclic monotherapy (1.77, 0.90 to 3.47). All types of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors available for analysis and venlafaxine, a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, were significantly associated with postpartum hemorrhage. Exposure to serotonin and non-serotonin reuptake inhibitors, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and tricyclics, close to the time of delivery was associated with a 1.4 to 1.9-fold increased risk for postpartum hemorrhage. While potential confounding by unmeasured factors cannot be ruled out, these findings suggest that patients treated with antidepressants during late pregnancy are more likely to experience postpartum hemorrhage.
    BMJ (online) 01/2013; 347:f4877. · 17.22 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
1,293.05 Total Impact Points


  • 2014
    • University of Freiburg
      Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 1996–2014
    • Harvard Medical School
      • • Department of Medicine
      • • Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2009–2013
    • Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
      Freiburg an der Elbe, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 1998–2013
    • Brigham and Women's Hospital
      • Department of Medicine
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 2012
    • Erasmus MC
      Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands
  • 1994–2012
    • Harvard University
      • • Department of Epidemiology
      • • Department of Nutrition
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • Partners HealthCare
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
    • Columbia University
      • Department of Epidemiology
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 2010
    • Karolinska Institutet
      • Institutionen för medicin, Huddinge
      Solna, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2008
    • University of Toronto
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2007
    • Baylor College of Medicine
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Houston, TX, United States
  • 2000
    • Statens Serum Institut
      • Department of Epidemiology Research
      Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 1999
    • University of California, Los Angeles
      • Department of Epidemiology
      Los Angeles, CA, United States