Thursday, April 24, 2008

Your Brain On Pregnancy

Pregnancy complications

A fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery MRI of a formerly eclamptic patient reveals white matter lesions (arrows). Neuro-Imaging Center of the School of Behavioural and Cognitive Neurosciences in Groningen


If you develop eclampsia [high blood pressure and seizures] during pregnancy, does your brain return to normal postpartum?

Maybe, maybe not, according to recent findings that challenge the current opinion that eclampsia is a one-time event from which women can expect a full clinical recovery.

A study looked at 103 women and found white matter brain lesions in:

- 41% formerly eclamptic women

- 29% formerly preeclamptic women [high blood pressure; no seizures]

- 17% women who had a normotensive pregnancy [normal blood pressure]

Moreover:

The researchers also observed that the number of eclamptic seizures appeared to be related to the presence and severity of the brain matter lesions. In all, 19 eclamptic women had one grand mal seizure, 10 had two, and 10 had three or more. Women who reported three or more eclamptic seizures were three times more likely to have white matter lesions than were women with no seizures, she said.

The total volume of the lesions was significantly greater among formerly eclamptic women than controls (0.04 mL vs. 0.004 mL).

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