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The Guardian

Study: A Blood Test Can Now Predict A Baby’s Due Date Just Like An Ultrasound

Researchers have learned of a way to predict a woman’s due date using a blood test!

In an article published in the journal Science  on June 7th, scientists studied 31 expectant mothers and were able to accurately peg their due dates roughly half the time by sequencing nine types of circulating RNA in the blood.

Miraculously, this test was about as reliable as using ultrasound which currently is the way women learn their predicted due dates. It also enabled the researchers to predict, in most cases, which of the high-risk pregnancies would end prematurely.

“Obviously the numbers [of participants] are very small but the results are very impressive,” Andrew Shennan, an obstetrics professor at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London who was not involved in the study, told The Guardian, adding that such a blood test would be especially useful in developing countries where ultrasound is not readily available.

The researchers were able to zero in on the blood transcripts known to originate in the placenta whose levels corresponded with pregnancy progression in based on blood samples submitted each week by moms-to-be in Denmark who submitted a blood sample each week throughout their pregnancies.

The results were so accurate that it predicted accurately within 14 days of a woman’s due date 45 percent of the time. Compare that to an ultrasound which gets it right 48 percent of the time, according to the authors.

To see if they could pick out preterm from full-term pregnancies, the researchers scanned all the free-floating RNAs in women’s blood and found 38 had levels that were distinctive for each group. Using combinations of particular transcripts, they were able to pick out six of eight pregnancies that ended early and misclassified one out of 26 that went full-term, among a subset of women who were known to be at high risk for prematurity.

CNN reports that a paper published in the Journal of Perinatology last month also describes a test to predict prematurity. The study involved 400 women and 25 biomarkers.

“Our test was able to predict 80.3% of women who went on to have any preterm birth, at 15 to 20 weeks gestation,” Laura Jelliffe-Pawlowski, an associate professor and director of Precision Health and Discovery at the University of California, San Francisco’s Preterm Birth Initiative and coauthor of the study told CNN.

If the test ultimately makes it to mass market, it would cost between $50 to $100, but it is understood that the test should be conducted on more diverse women.

h/t The Scientist

STUDY: Broadband Access linked to Teen Pregnancy Reduction

 

broadband

Broadband access is being credited for decreasing teen pregnancy, The Guardian reports

A recent study at the German Institute (IZA) concluded that “at least 13% of the total decline in the teen birth rate between 1999 and 2007 can be explained by increases in high speed internet access” in the United States.

Melanie Guldi from the University of Central Florida and Chris Herbst from Arizona State University conclude:

Broadband internet has the potential to shape in powerful ways the nature and intensity of individuals’ social connections as well as the quantity and quality of information received on relationships and sexual health … Americans are increasingly turning to the internet for a wide range of advice on romantic relationships, sex, and contraceptive methods.

Americans – including teens – are asking for guidance on everything from whether they should have sex with a certain individual and the most effective forms of contraception to how to deal with a cheating boyfriend. Teens, who now spend more time engaging with various forms of media – much of it on-line – than any other activity (aside from sleep), are particularly well-positioned to take advantage of new information and relationship landscape created by explosion in broadband internet.

Reducing teen pregnancies is just one of the many plus-sides of increased broadband access. Recent research shows that better internet connections can increase monthly household income by £200 ($314) in developed households, by improving access to learning and working from home.

Sounds simplistic, but the decline in teen pregnancies could also be that they’re too busy watching YouTube.

Woman charged with murder for taking abortion pills she bought online still faces charges

kelissa jones

Murder charges against a woman who took an online abortion pill to terminate her 5 1/2 month pregnancy have been dropped, but she still faces other charges

Kenlissa Jones broke up with her boyfriend and according to  her brother could not afford an abortion the traditional way.  She opted for purchasing the prescription drug Cyotec from a Canadian pharmaceutical company. The four pills Jones took induced labor and she delivered the baby in the back of a neighbor’s car on the way to the hospital

Hospital officials alerted authorities and police threw Jones in a Dougherty County jail and charged her with malice murder and possession of a dangerous drug.

An attorney for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women predicted the case would be thrown out. Lynn Paltrow, who is also the group’s executive director told The Guardian that Georgia case law explicitly prohibits prosecuting women for foeticide involving their own pregnancies.

Jones’ brother Ricco Riggens told the Washington Post that Jones gave birth to another child earlier who was taken away from her and given to another family member.

Riggens, who lives in Alabama,  gained custody of Jones’ first child, a  20-month old child she delivered almost two years ago.

He is described at sobbing over the still born death of his nephew.

“These past four days, I cried buckets of tears; I cried in that lady’s office for a long time,” Riggins told The Washington Post. “It was gut-wrenching..I hate it. I just really, really hate it.”

Jones still faces charges for misdemeanor possession of a dangerous drugs, Doughtery County District Attorney Greg Edwards told the Associated Press.

Riggens said he doesn’t think his sister is aware of the consequences of her actions and her mother Brenda Jones said her daughter is mentally unstable.