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Sugar and spice and everything nice: Health differences in newborn girls and boys

Two new studies seek to understand why death rates for female infants are higher after heart surgery and why female donor livers may be less effective for transplants

Austin, TX -- For generations, girls have whimsically been said to be made of "sugar and spice and everything nice," and boys from "snakes and snails and puppy dog tails." Inherent in these loving references is the fact that females and males are different, both when they are healthy and when they are ill.

Two studies using animal models may lead to a better understanding of sex-based health discrepancies among some newborns. One study found that gender differences in the heart may help explain why infant girls are more likely to die following heart surgery. The other study has determined that the rapid accumulation of acid in newborn female livers may shed light on why pediatric liver transplants are less successful when the livers are donated from infant girls.

The studies were conducted by Danny Quaglietta, Department of Physiology, Michael P. Belanger, Department of Surgery, and Carin Wittnich, Departments of Physiology and Surgery, at the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, CN. Their studies are entitled, "Ability to Buffer Changes in pH During Ischemia -- Are There Sex Differences in the Newborn Heart"" and "Orthotopic Liver Transplantation in Newborns -- Lower Success Rates From Female Donors and Why Ischemic Metabolism May Play A Role," respectively. Their research is among the 100 presentations being offered at the upcoming conference, Sex and Gender in Cardiovascular-Renal Physiology and Pathophysiology. The meeting, sponsored by The American Physiological Society (APS; www.The-APS.org), is being held August 9-12, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Austin on Town Lake, Austin, TX.

Study 1: Sex Differences in the Newborn Heart

Clinical studies in children have shown that girls are at higher risk fo
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Contact: Donna Krupa
dkrupa@the-aps.org
301-634-7209
American Physiological Society
8-Aug-2007


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