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Journal of Biomolecules and Biochemistry

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Impacts of High Environmental Temperatures on Congenital Anomalies: A Systematic Review

Author(s): Sameeha Atout

Links between heat exposure and congenital anomalies have not been explored in detail despite animal data and other strands of evidence that indicate such links are likely. We reviewed articles on heat and congenital anomalies from PubMed and Web of Science, screening 14,880 titles and abstracts in duplicate for articles on environmental heat exposure during pregnancy and congenital anomalies. Thirteen studies were included. Most studies were in North America (8) or the Middle East (3). Methodological diversity was considerable, including in temperature measurement, gestational windows of exposure, and range of defects studied. Associations were detected between heat exposure and congenital cardiac anomalies in three of six studies, with point estimates highest for atrial septal defects. Two studies with null findings used self-reported temperature exposures.