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Rising rate of malformation of male urinary tract in US
J.R., Penile birth defect on the rise, Science News 152 (22): 344,
November 29, 1997.
The U.S. incidence of hypospadias - a male birth defect
characterized by a malplacement of the urinary outlet - nearly
doubled between 1968 and 1993, a new study finds. This is the
first report of such an increase outside Europe (SN: 1/22/94, p.
Epidemiologists at the federal Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in Atlanta analyzed data from two registries of birth
defects. The U.S. rate, now "approaching 1 percent of male
births," is among the highest reported anywhere, observes
Leonard J. Paulozzi, who led the study. In the November
"Pediatrics," his team notes that severe cases appear to account
for most of the increase. Although the rising incidence shows
up in all regions of the country, the rate of increase has been
highest in the Southeast and in non-whites - previously, a
relatively low-risk group.
Hypospadias, which is correctable through surgery, traces to
some disruption in the development of the penile urethra - the
urine-carrying organ - between weeks 9 and 12 of gestation.
What triggers the deformity remains unknown, although Paulozzi
notes could stem from a mother's steroid use early in
pregnancy, from dietary factors, or from exposure to any of
dozens of pollutants that can mimic effects of estrogen and
other steroid hormones.
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