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Better Chances for Baby?


New Study Details IVF Success Rates

It's a question often asked by couples trying to conceive - what are the chances in vitro fertilization (IVF) will result in a baby? Now they may have an answer.

In the largest study of IVF patients to date, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Boston IVF followed more than 6,000 women through six IVF cycles. They found that for women under 40, the chances of a successful live birth following IVF therapy were between 65 and 85 percent. For women 40 and older, the number was between 23 and 42 percent. The findings appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"This shows that, overall, IVF is extraordinarily effective and largely overcomes infertility, especially in younger women," explains lead author Beth Malizia, MD, a clinical fellow at Boston IVF and in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at BIDMC.

Traditionally, IVF statistics have been reported as pregnancies per IVF cycle, but often those calculations can be misleading because they don't take into account the difference in success between the first-time patient and the patient who did not become pregnant in previous IVF attempts.

"IVF treatment has come of age," says the study's senior author Alan Penzias. "Although we continue to address the challenge of age-dependent decline in fertility, with these successful results, we have shown that fertility can be restored to the majority of young women who want to have a baby."

Socializing May Lower Risk of Dementia

Getting out and socializing may help protect you from dementia, according to a new study. Researchers in Sweden followed more than 500 elderly people who did not have dementia. After six years, they found those who were less stressed and more socially active were 50 percent less likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

An estimated 24 million people worldwide suffer from memory loss and other forms of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Researchers believe that number may quadruple by 2040. BIDMC Neurologist Dr. Daniel Press agrees keeping your brain and your body active can help lower your risk for dementia.

"I recommend staying physically and mentally active, but do things you enjoy," advises Dr. Press. "If you don't like doing crossword puzzles, don't do them. Starting a new hobby will engage your brain. If it has a social component to it, that will be even more beneficial."

The findings are reported in the journal Neurology.

Weight May Contribute to Ovarian Cancer Risk

Controlling weight may help women lower their risk of developing ovarian cancer, according to a new study. Researchers followed more than 94,000 U.S. women ages 50 to 71 for more than 7 years. They found that obese women were 83 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer than normal-weight women.

The risk appeared to be confined to women who had not used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause. Past studies have linked hormones to a reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

Researchers say it's not clear why obesity may contribute to ovarian cancer, but they believe it may have something to do with the effects of excess body fat on a woman's estrogen levels. The findings of the study are reported in the February edition of the journal Cancer.