News in brief

Calcium for pre-eclampsia

Calcium supplements during pregnancy appear to almost halve the risk of pre-eclampsia, according to a Cochrane Review of published data. Twelve randomised trials were assessed and showed that high BP was reduced with calcium supplementation of at least 1g v placebo (relative risk 0.70). There was also a reduction in the risk of pre-eclampsia (relative risk 0.48), which was greatest in high-risk women and those with low baseline calcium intake.

Hofmeyr GJ, Atallah AN, Duley L. Cochrane Library 2006; 3: CD001059

Iron link with endometriosis

Researchers at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, tested the theory that iron could be linked to endometriosis by giving iron-containing erythrocytes to one group of mice, desferrioaxamine (an iron chelator) to another and leaving a third group as control. After five days, although the numbers of endometrial lesions were the same in all three groups, cell growth in the mice given erythrocytes was greater than control, and mice treated with desferrioxamine had less cell activity than the other groups. The authors conclude that iron chelator treatment could be beneficial in endometriosis.

Defrère S, Langendonckt AV, Vaesen S et al. Hum Reprod 2006 ePub ahead of print doi: 10.1093/humre/del261

Metformin in polycystic ovary syndrome

As little as two weeks’ treatment with metformin improves the chances of ovulation in patients with PCOS, according to a small US study. Researchers randomised 31 obese patients with PCOS to receive either clomifene citrate or clomifene citrate plus metformin for two weeks. In the combined group, seven of the 16 patients ovulated, compared with only one of the 15 patients taking clomifene alone, a statistically significant difference.

The researchers propose more work to establish whether the effects are similar in lean patients and patients from different ethnic backgrounds.

Khorram O, Helliwell JP, Katz S et al. Fertility & Sterility 2006; 85: 1448-51

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