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1/6. Impact of chemical warfare with agent orange on women's reproductive lives in vietnam: a pilot study.

    During the American war in vietnam, huge quantities of the highly toxic herbicide dioxin ('Agent Orange'), were sprayed over large areas of central and south vietnam. In addition to polluting the environment and causing cancers and other diseases in those directly exposed to it, dioxin has caused high rates of pregnancy loss, congenital birth defects and other health problems in their children. This paper reports the findings of a pilot study in the year 2000 among 30 Vietnamese women whose husbands and/or who themselves were exposed to Agent Orange. The aim was to develop research in order to explore the impact of chemical warfare on people's lives. Using the reproductive lifeline and semi-structured interviews, information was gathered on both partners' periods of exposure to Agent Orange, pregnancy outcomes, perceived health problems of children and experiences of living with handicapped children. The women had had a high number of miscarriages and premature births. About two-thirds of their children had congenital malformations or developed disabilities within the first years of life. Most of the families were poor, aggravated by impaired health in the men, the burden of caring for disabled children, and feelings of guilt and inferiority. The plight of 'Agent Orange families' is special and should be placed in its historical and political context.
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2/6. prenatal diagnosis of methotrexate embryopathy.

    BACKGROUND: methotrexate is an antineoplastic agent used by obstetrician-gynecologists for termination of early pregnancy. The drug is not always successful and is associated with a known array of malformations. CASE: We present a case of a failed pregnancy termination with methotrexate, which resulted in fetal anomalies. Ultrasound revealed absent or markedly shortened long bones, abnormal positioning of the hands, micrognathia, echogenic bowel, and a two-vessel umbilical cord. The patient elected to undergo pregnancy termination, and the ultrasound findings were confirmed at autopsy. CONCLUSION: Because of methotrexate's teratogenic potential, follow-up to confirm successful termination is necessary. Ultrasound evaluation of the fetus is indicated if pregnancy termination is unsuccessful.
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3/6. Proximal phocomelia and radial ray aplasia in fetal valproic syndrome.

    We describe a child with multiple congenital anomalies born to a women treated with valproic acid (1000 mg/day) for post traumatic epilepsy. Defects included the typical dysmorphism of the "fetal valproic syndrome", bilateral radial ray aplasia, unilateral proximal phocomelia of the upper limb, kidney hypoplasia and brain atrophy. A direct teratogenic effect of valproic acid is suspected on an experimental basis, and validated by two previous reports of radial defects after valproic acid exposure.
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4/6. plasmodium falciparum malaria mimicking autoimmune hemolytic anemia during pregnancy.

    A 30-year-old woman contracted plasmodium falciparum malaria in the first trimester of her pregnancy while taking chloroquine for malaria prophylaxis. Her illness was characterized by hemolytic anemia with IgG1 coating of the surface of the erythrocytes and IgG3 in her serum. The hemolysis subsided following treatment of the malaria infection early in the third trimester. She delivered at term an infant who had hypoplasia of the right tibia and fibula and absence of the fifth ray of the right foot. The hemolytic process was attributed to the malaria infection, and the birth defect may have been related to the antimalarial therapy in the first trimester of pregnancy.
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5/6. Isolated fetal bilateral radial ray reduction associated with valproic acid usage.

    The authors describe the first case of an isolated bilateral radial ray reduction occurring in a fetus exposed in utero to valproic acid; the diagnosis was made by ultrasound during the second trimester. This case of an isolated radial ray reduction associated with valproic acid use in pregnancy is a reminder for sonographers to carefully examine not only the cardiac and neurologic system, but also the extremities, when a fetus is exposed in utero to valproic acid.
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6/6. Preaxial ray reduction defects as part of valproic acid embryofetopathy.

    It is well known that prenatal exposure of valproic acid (VPA) may be associated with the occurrence of neural tube defects (Robert and Gibaud, 1982). Additional adverse effects related to VPA exposure include craniofacial abnormalities, skeletal defects, brain defects, cardiovascular defects, and urogenital defects (DiLiberti et al., 1984; Winter et al., 1987; Huot et al., 1987; Jager-Roman et al., 1986; Martinez-Frias, 1990). Recently, radial ray reduction has been reported as a severe type of skeletal defect associated with VPA exposure (Jager-Roman et al., 1986; Huot et al., 1987; Verloes et al., 1990). We report two additional cases of this severe limb reduction defect as part of a broader pattern of altered morphogenesis in fetuses exposed to VPA and to confirm an association between such severe specific skeletal defects and VPA exposure. We briefly review teratologic studies in experimental animals which document the biologic plausibility of this association, and suggest that fetuses exposed to VPA undergo detailed prenatal ultrasonographic evaluation of the limbs.
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