October 02, 2008

Distinct pregnancy risks in Asian-white couples

Asian-white couples face distinct pregnancy risks, Stanford/Packard:
STANFORD, Calif. - Pregnant women who are part of an Asian-white couple face an increased risk of gestational diabetes as compared with couples in which both partners are white, according to a new study from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The researchers also found that Asian women whose partners are white are more likely than white women with Asian or white partners to have a caesarean delivery, as part of a broad analysis of perinatal outcomes among Asian, white and Asian-white couples.

...

More specifically, the researchers found that white mother/Asian father couples had the lowest rate (23 percent) of caesarean delivery, while Asian mother/white father couples had the highest rate (33.2 percent). Because birth weights between these two groups were similar, the researchers say the findings suggest that the average Asian woman's pelvis may be smaller than the average white woman's and less able to accommodate babies of a certain size. (Asian couples had babies with the lowest median birth weight, so caesarean delivery was less common among those women.)

...

El-Sayed and his colleagues also found that the incidence of gestational diabetes was lowest among white couples at 1.61 percent and highest among Asian couples at 5.73 percent - and just under 4 percent for Asian-white couples. These findings weren't altogether surprising: past studies have shown an increased risk of diabetes among Asian couples, which researchers attribute to an underlying genetic predisposition. But the interesting finding, El-Sayed said, was that the risk for interracial couples was about the same regardless of which parent was Asian.

7 comments:

Kosmo said...

"But the interesting finding, El-Sayed said, was that the risk [of gestational diabetes] for interracial couples was about the same regardless of which parent was Asian."

I can't think of a mechanism by which this could make sense unless it is the baby's genes-- and not the mother's-- which cause gestational diabetes.

dienekesp said...

Yes, it would appear that some genetic factor in babies of Asian or part-Asian ancestry puts the mother (regardless of her race) at increased risk for gestational diabetes.

Dragon Horse said...

Could it be as simple as Asian women married to white males tend to eat more Western food, which their bodies don't metabolize as well making them more likely to get diabetes? Asian Americans have a high obesity rate, but it is not commonly talked about.

"Asians, especially those from Far Eastern nations like China, Korea and Japan, are acutely susceptible to Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease and the subject of this series. They develop it at far lower weights than people of other races, studies show; at any weight, they are 60 percent more likely to get the disease than whites.

And that peril is compounded by recent immigrants' sudden collision with American culture. Many of them left places where factory and fieldwork was strenuous, televisions were rare and advertising was limited. They may speak little English and have poor access to medical care.

Many have never even heard of diabetes, much less the recent scientific studies showing that a Western diet, high in fat and sugar, puts them in danger of getting Type 2 diabetes, which has been linked to obesity and inactivity, as well as to heredity. (Type 1, which comprises only 5 percent to 10 percent of cases, is not associated with behavior, and is believed to stem almost entirely from genetic factors.)

Many recent Chinese immigrants have come from places where food was scarce, and experts say some view fat as a trophy of wealth and status. Their children try to fit into their new country by embracing its foods and its sedentary pastimes."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/12/nyregion/nyregionspecial5/12diabetes.html

eurologist said...

dragon horse, this is gestational diabetes - not diabetes. Also, it does not occur more often when the female is of Asian heritage (rather than the male).

Dragon Horse said...

Euro:

Thanks, I missed that last part.

As far as the former...gestational diabetes and regular type 2 diabetes are related.

"Women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus after pregnancy, while their offspring are prone to developing childhood obesity, with type 2 diabetes later in life. Most patients are treated only with diet modification and moderate exercise but some take anti-diabetic drugs, including insulin."

It could be that it is just the hormonal change during pregnancy pushes some borderline people or "susceptible" people over...temporarily during pregnancy or even permanently.

Alexandru said...

Maybe it is because of the fact that whites have genes which are more often trumped by the asian genes. Always noticed that mixed race kids always look much more like the non-white parent especially when mixed with africans.

Eric Uhden said...

This is very interesting because my father is half Japanese/half European descended and my mother is of full European decent. Out of 6 children, one has type 1 diabetes. I got all of my siblings, parents and grandparents DNA kits from 23andme for fun and found my brother with type 1 diabetes had the highest risk followed by me and two other siblings. The strange thing is that on all sides of the family no one has had type 1 diabetes before. I really wonder why mixing of Asian and European results in higher chances of type 1 diabetes. I wonder if genetic dietary needs or how carbs are processed or something like that has to do with it.