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Researchers see possible link between opioids, birth defect

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 17 January 2019
NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials are looking into a possible link between prescription opioids and a horrific birth defect. When a baby is born with its intestines hanging outside the stomach, due to a hole in the abdominal wall, it's called gastroschisis. Most are repaired through surgery. Roughly 1,800 such cases are seen in the U.S. each year, but the number has been rising and officials don't know why. The condition seems to occur more often when the mom is a teenager or was smoking or drinking alcohol early in pregnancy, researchers have noted. But a study released Thursday noted cases were 60 percent more common in counties that had the highest overall opioid prescription rates.
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