A research team at Stanford University in California, United States of America, has developed a new blood test that can predict if a pregnant woman will give birth prematurely.
The researchers said it is up to 80 percent accurate and can also be used to estimate the mother’s due date as reliably as an ultrasound, but costs much less.
Premature babies suffer a greater risk of breathing problems, feeding problems and are more susceptible to contracting infections. It occurs when a baby arrives at least three weeks early.
Before this new technique, the best tests only predicted premature birth in high-risk women, such as women who conceived through IVF, suffered multiple miscarriages or had already given birth prematurely.
The researchers hope this new breakthrough will accurately predict delivery dates so treatment can be provided immediately after birth or lead to new drugs to delay premature birth.
They also only proved correct around 20 percent of the time. They were very good at determining if the woman wouldn’t deliver preterm, if the test came back “no”,’ Mira Moufarrej, a bio-engineering PhD student at Stanford, told Daily Mail Online.
But they were not very good at predicting if or when the woman would deliver preterm, if the test came back “yes”.
The difference is our test is very good at determining “yes”. This new blood test looks at genes in blood samples from pregnant women and measures the levels of RNA, which carries instructions from DNA to parts of the body that make proteins.
From there the scientists worked to identify which genes give reliable signals about the risk of premature birth and gestational age, or how far a pregnancy is.
By: Olayemi John-Mensah
Daily Trust News
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