First MAGIC paper accepted

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MAGIC is our longitudinal study of antenatal weight and postpartum weight retention which recruited in Nottingham. A number of outputs are due to come out of the study, but the first has now been accepted for publication in the Journal of Pregnancy.

The paper is entitled ‘Antenatal weight management: women’s experiences, behaviours, and expectations of weighing in early pregnancy’ and the authors were, Judy Swift, Jo Pearce, Preeti Jethwa, Moira Taylor, Amanda Avery, Sarah Ellis, Simon Langley-Evans and Sarah McMullen. The work was part-funded by a donation from the Revere Charitable Trust.

The current emphasis on obstetric risk management helps to frame gestational weight gain as problematic and encourages intervention by healthcare professionals. However pregnant women have reported confusion, distrust, and negative affect associated with antenatal weight management interactions. The MAGIC study (MAnaging weiGht In pregnanCy) sought to examine women’s self-reported experiences of usual-care antenatal weight management in early pregnancy, and consider these alongside weight monitoring behaviours and future expectations. 193 women (18yrs+) were recruited from routine antenatal clinics at the Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust. Self-reported gestation was 10-27 weeks, with 41.5% (n=80) between 12-14 and 43.0% (n=83) between 20-22 weeks. At recruitment 50.3% of participants (n=97) could be classified as overweight or obese. 69.4% of highest weight women (≥30kg/m2) did not report receiving advice about weight, although they were significantly more likely to compared to women with BMI<30kg/m2. The majority of women (regardless of BMI) did not express any barriers to being weighed and 40.8% reported weighing themselves at home. Women across the BMI categories expressed a desire for more engagement from healthcare professionals on the issue of bodyweight. Women are clearly not being served appropriately in the current situation which simultaneously problematizes and fails to offer constructive dialogue.

Paper accepted for publication

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Our paper entitled ‘Impact of gonadectomy on blood pressure regulation in ageing male and female rats’, has been accepted by Biology of Sex Differences (IF 3.23). The full author list is Wioletta Pijacka, Bethan Clifford, Dawid Walas, Chantal Tilburgs, Jaap A. Joles, Sarah McMullen and Simon C. Langley-Evans

This work was funded by the British Heart Foundation through a grant to Sarah McMullen and myself and is the product of a collaboration with Jaap in the Netherlands. The data give strong support to the hypothesis that testosterone has a major negative impact upon the health of males as they age.

Sexual dimorphism in blood pressure has been associated with differential expression of the angiotensin II (AII) receptors and with activity of the nervous system. It is generally accepted that aging affects kidney function as well as autonomic nervous system and hormonal balance. Given that hypertension is more prevalent in men than women until women reach their seventh decade we hypothesised that females would be relatively protected from adverse effects of ageing compared to males, and that this would be mediated by the protective effect of ovarian steroids. Intact and gonadectomised male and female normotensive Wistar rats aged 6, 12 and 18 months were used to study renal function, blood pressure, heart rate and blood pressure variability. We observed that intact females had lower levels of proteinuria and higher (12.5%) creatinine clearance compared to intact males, and that this difference was abolished by castration but not by ovariectomy. Ovariectomy resulted in a change by 9% in heart rate, resulting in similar cardiovascular parameters to those observed in males or gonadectomised males. Spectral analysis of systolic blood pressure revealed that high frequency power spectra were significantly elevated in the females vs. males and were reduced by ovariectomy. Taken altogether the results show that females are protected from age-related declining renal function and to a lesser extent from rising blood pressure in comparison to males. Whilst ovariectomy had some deleterious effects in females, the strongest effects were associated with gonadectomy in males, suggesting a damaging effect of male hormones.