Day: January 26, 2022

Long-term Marijuana Use Could Impact Male Fertility

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Chronic use of marijuana could greatly impact male fertility and reproductive outcomes, according to a new study appearing in Fertility & Sterility. This is the first study to assess the impacts of typical substance use on testicular function via a mode of delivery, and dosage.

Robust research in animal models has shown that cannabis negatively impacts male fertility. Researchers monitored the reproductive systems of healthy male nonhuman primates following exposure to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

The nonhuman primates in the study received a THC edible once daily over the course of seven months. Their THC dose was based on published medical marijuana acclimation recommendations for humans, and was increased every 70 days in alignment with the animals’ sperm development cycle. Dose adjustments were made until it reached the equivalent of a heavy medical marijuana dose in humans. Semen samples were collected at baseline before initiation of THC, and again at the end of each THC dosing timepoint.

The study found that THC use was linked to significant adverse impacts to the animals’ reproductive hormones, including decreased levels of testosterone and severe testicular shrinkage. “Specifically, we observed a greater than 50% decrease in testicular size,” said senior author Jamie Lo, MD, MCR. “Unfortunately, these effects appeared to worsen as the THC dose was increased, suggesting a possible dose-dependent effect.”

These results align with Dr Lo’s previous studies indicating similar THC-associated impacts to female reproductive hormones and the menstrual cycle.

“These early findings are concerning from a clinical standpoint,” said study lead author Jason Hedges, MD, PhD. “Even moderate doses could have a profound impact on fertility outcomes. While family planning may not be top of mind for those in their late teens and early 20s, the longer-term effects of THC on male reproductive health are not well-defined; it is possible that THC could cause lasting impacts that may alter family planning later in life.”

The researchers will continue to explore the relationship between THC and reproductive health in both male and female nonhuman primates, examining longer term THC exposure impacts, including changes to sperm count and motility, and whether discontinuing use of THC products could reverse adverse effects.

Source: Ohio Health & Science University

Study Confirms COVID Vaccination does not Affect Fertility in IVF

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Vaccination against COVID did not affect fertility outcomes in patients undergoing in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), according to a new study. The findings, which were published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, add to the growing body of evidence providing reassurance that COVID vaccination does not affect fertility.

Investigators compared rates of fertilisation, pregnancy, and early miscarriage in IVF patients who had received two doses of vaccines manufactured by Pfizer or Moderna with the same outcomes in unvaccinated patients.

“The study found no significant differences in response to ovarian stimulation, egg quality, embryo development, or pregnancy outcomes between the vaccinated compared to unvaccinated patients.” said first author Devora Aharon, MD.

The study involved patients whose eggs were frozen and then thawed for in vitro fertilisation and womb transfer, and patients who underwent medical treatment to stimulate the development of eggs. The two groups of patients who underwent frozen-thawed embryo transfer (214 vaccinated and 733 unvaccinated) had similar rates of pregnancy and early pregnancy loss. The two groups of patients who underwent ovarian stimulation (222 vaccinated and 983 unvaccinated) had similar rates of eggs retrieved, fertilisation, and embryos with normal numbers of chromosomes, among several other measures.

The authors of the study anticipate that the findings will ease the anxiety of people considering pregnancy. 

Patients undergoing IVF treatment are closely tracked, enabling the researchers to capture early data on the implantation of embryos in addition to pregnancy losses that might be undercounted in other studies.

Previous studies have found that COVID vaccination helped protect pregnant persons (already at greater risk from severe illness and death from COVID) from severe illness, conferred antibodies to their infants, and did not raise the risk of preterm birth or foetal growth problems.

Source: EurekAlert!

Ozone Therapy in a Complex Periodontal Inflammation Case

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A new treatment approach for tissue inflammation around the dental root and root canal has been implemented, which uses ozone therapy. When used in a complex clinical case, the method helped save a patient’s tooth. 

Inflammation of the dental pulp and the periodontium, if not localised only on the inside or the outside but affects both areas, can be extremely difficult to completely cure a tooth. Such cases are difficult to diagnose, therefore, professional literature contains only a few descriptions of them, and there are no general treatment recommendations. Some dentists prefer to focus on the internal canals first, while others suggest treating the pulp and the periodontium simultaneously. A dentist from RUDN University implemented a single protocol for comprehensive pulp and periodontium treatment.

Explaining the problem, RUDN Associate Professor Maria Makeeva, PhD, said: “Inflammation of periodontal tissues often leads to tooth loss. In some cases, a lost tooth cannot be replaced with an implant, because the consequences of the infection worsen the implantation prognosis. Therefore, keeping the tooth is a more desirable outcome in this scenario.”

As described in described in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry, the new approach was carried out in a patient (aged 44) with significant inflammation of the right mandibular canine. The patient was initially diagnosed with periodontium inflammation; the tooth was loose, and a flow of pus was seen. The first steps were typical for a periodontal inflammation treatment protocol: the patient was administered an antibiotic and then was instructed to rinse the tooth with chlorhexidine. The dentist also scaled the tooth. After that, the patient remained under observation for six months. Although the bleeding and pyorrhoea stopped, the dentist discovered tissue injury around the root of the tooth, which had caused bone destruction. It turned out that one narrow area had an 8mm deep periodontal pocket, and that the initial inflammation transferred to the internal tissues of the tooth.

A periodontologist and an endodontist together implemented a comprehensive treatment approach. After removing the dead pulp from the dental canals, which were then dried and treated with ozone for 24 seconds for better disinfection. After a week of dressing, the treatment was repeated, and the cavity was covered with a permanent filling made of a light-cured composite material. After cleaning, the periodontal pocket was rinsed, dried, and treated with ozone for 18 seconds. A recall examination in six months showed no inflammation of the tooth. Additionally, the bone tissue was recovering, and the periodontal pocket reduced to 4mm.

“Simultaneous inflammation of the pulp and periodontium tissues is very difficult to treat. It can be caused by several types of pathogens at the same time that migrate between tissues and worsen the prognosis. Our experience shows that such an infected tooth can be saved, but it requires close collaboration of a periodontologist and an endodontist, as well as a patient’s complete compliance with oral hygiene recommendations. One should also take into consideration possible bacterial resistance to antibiotics and therefore use additional antibacterial treatment, such as ozone,” explained Dr Makeeva.

Source: News-Medical.Net

Nanoparticle and Antibiotic Polytherapy Defeats AMR Bacteria

Polytherapy with PMB and cubosomes result in interactions with the bacterial OM in two consecutive ways: PMB initially interacts with the outer leaflet of OM via electrostatic interactions, leading to destabilised areas. Cubosomes then contact with the bilayer, causing further membrane perturbations via a lipid-exchange process. Credit: Monash University/Lai et al.

Researchers from Monash University have discovered a potential new method to circumvent antibiotic resistance, by means of a nanoparticle and antibiotic polytherapy. This approach could also reduce antibiotic intake.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to be among the top 10 global public health threats. A recent report found that in 2019, 1.27 million deaths were directly attributable to AMR infections – more than deaths from either HIV or TB.

AMR occurs when pathogens evolve to no longer respond to medicines, consequently infections become increasingly difficult or impossible to treat.

The study, which appears in Nature Communications, has found that the use of nanoparticles in combination with other antibiotics, is an effective strategy to improve bacterial killing.

For Gram-negative bacteria, polymyxins have been used as drugs of last resort as they disrupt the bacterial outer membrane (OM), causing it to become more permeable, causing cell contents to leak out and kill the bacteria.

The strategy involves administering polymyxin B (PMB) alongside cube-shaped nanoparticles called cubosomes. The PMB disrupted the OM first, but not enough to kill the cell. When the accompanying cubosome bound to the OM, disrupting it further, successfully killing the cell. Interestingly, loading PMB into the cubosomes as a carrier had little effect; in fact, the cubosome strengthened the OM.

“This is a stunning finding in how we deliver medicine and how the medicine we take impacts us in the future,” said lead researcher Dr Hsin-Hui Shen. 

This approach also means that lower dosages of antibiotics could be used. “Instead of looking for new antibiotics to counteract superbugs, we can use the nanotechnology approach to reduce the dose of antibiotic intake, effectively killing multidrug-resistant organisms.”

It has been 30 years since the discovery of the last new antibiotic, and in coming years, the growing crisis of antibiotics resistance will result in increased mortality from basic infections because they have developed antimicrobial resistance.

Without effective antimicrobials, the WHO warns that the success of modern medicine in treating infections, including during major surgery and cancer chemotherapy, would be at increased risk.

While nanoparticles had been used for a long time before as antimicrobial carriers,  “but the use of nanoparticles in polytherapy treatments with antibiotics in order to overcome antimicrobial resistance has been overlooked,” explained Dr Shen. “The use of nanoparticles-antibiotics combination therapy could reduce the dose intake in the human body and overcome the multidrug resistance.”

Research will now progress to the testing phase.

Source: Monash University