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Research and development in obstetrics & gynaecology in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the National University of Singapore

Research and development in obstetrics & gynaecology in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the National University of Singapore

Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore 11(3): 313-321

This is a review of the research and achievements of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, National University of Singapore since 1949. The research activities reviewed are Fertility Control, Subfertility, Reproductive Endocrinology, In-Vitro Fertilization, Trophoblastic Disease, Prostaglandins and Perinatal Medicine. The University Department has kept abreast with the Singapore norm of two-child families by providing the most sophisticated technology and expertise. The perinatal mortality and stillbirth rates have been reduced to 11 and 6 per thousand births. Prostaglandin research in the Department includes an investigation of the involvement of these substances in various physiological processes, pharmacological studies with different prostaglandins and development of clinical applications. Between 1974 and 1981 we had studied 12 intrauterine contraceptive devices, both on a departmental basis and in conjunction with international agencies. The newer medicated devices have proved to offer significant advantages over the original inert plastic configuration. Metabolic changes in Singapore women on the oral pill and injection Depoprovera were studied. Impaired glucose tolerance and raised fasting total lipids were found in women on the pill. Marginal changes in carbohydrate metabolism only were found in women on injection Depoprovera. Hypercoagulation changes in the blood occurring in Singapore women varied with the dose of the synthetic or natural oestrogen medication. Initially, the fibrinolytic activity was enough to compensate for these changes; however after two years there were signs of decompensation. Progestogens affect coagulation via their influence on the liver functions. Hypercoagulation changes also occurred in pregnancy and was of a greater magnitude than oestrogen or progestogen medication. In many obstetric disorders, including hydatidiform mole, there was evidence of intravascular coagulation. The introduction of endocrine function tests has greatly improved patient care in our Department, in particular those related to endocrine disorders. Application of the immunoassays to basic research has shown that physiological levels of oestradiol exert a negative feedback effect on both FSH and LH secretions in men. The greater suppression of LH than of FSH secretion by pharmacological doses of estradiol is possibly due to different control mechanisms in the pituitary for the synthesis and release of both gonadotrophins. Physiological level of testosterone per se has a definite negative feedback effect on the secretion of LH but not on FSH. Pharmacological doses of the 5-alpha-reduced metabolites of testosterone have been shown to suppress both LH and FSH indicating that some of the actions of testosterone could be medicated by these metabolites of which the 3 alpha-androstanediol and 3 beta-androstanediol are the more likely candidates.

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Accession: 044208514

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PMID: 7137908

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