Birth defect that causes intestines to protrude from a baby’s abdomen on the rise in the U.S.

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Incidents of a birth defect that causes a newborn’s intestines to protrude from the abdomen are on the rise in the United States, especially among African Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The condition, called gastroschisis, is a defect in the abdominal wall. When a baby is affected by gastroschisis, the intestines, and sometimes also organs such as the liver and stomach, stick out from the abdomen through a hole next to the belly button.

The Los Angeles Times reports that from 1994 to 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have documented a 263 percent increase in gastroschisis among babies born to black mothers under the age of 20. About 2,000 babies are born with the birth defect every year.

Health officials struggling to understand the cause.

"This isn't new. I saw cases when I was a brand new trainee long ago,” James Greenberg, co-director of the Perinatal Institute and director of Neonatology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, told CBS News, “but they were really unusual then."

Although the condition can be life-threatening, it can often be remedied by surgery in the weeks after the baby is born.

Even after surgery, however, some infants can have problems eating and digesting food, because the organs have been irritated by exposure to amniotic fluid in the uterus, increasing the risk of problems such as stunted growth or malnutrition.

Although researchers do not know what causes gastroschisis, they suspect that a mother’s diet, consumption of tobacco, alcohol and medicines, exposure to toxins and sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy are all factors that could have an effect on the development of an abdominal wall defect, the Los Angeles Times reported.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Gastroschisis cases on the rise in the U.S. from 1994 to 2012
2. The intestines, and sometimes the stomach and liver, sticking out of the baby’s belly; number of cases in the U.S. each year
3. Gastroschisis surgery, possible problems and risks after surgery

VOICEOVER (in English):

“From 1994 to 2012, the CDC has documented a 263 percent increase in gastroschisis among babies born to black mothers under the age of 20.”

“When a baby is affected by gastroschisis, the intestines, and sometimes also organs such as the liver and stomach, protrude from the abdomen through a hole next to the bellybutton.”

“In the U.S. about 2,000 babies are born with the birth defect every year.”

“Although the condition can be life-threatening, it can often be remedied by surgery in the weeks after the baby is born.”

“Even after surgery, however, some infants can have problems eating and digesting food, increasing the risk of problems such as stunted growth and malnutrition. This is because the organs have been irritated by exposure to amniotic fluid in the uterus.”

SOURCES: Los Angeles Times, CBS News

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-bizarre-birth-defect-rise-cdc-20160121-story.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/serious-birth-defect-is-on-the-rise-says-cdc/