Loading...
Browsing Tag

University of California

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: Skipping Prenatal Vitamins During Pregnancy Linked to Child’s School Progress

nutrient-additives-505124_640

Failing to take multivitamins during pregnancy could set a child back by a year by the time they reach secondary school, a new study suggests.

The issue of taking supplements is controversial for pregnant women, with research last year suggesting that it was a waste of money to take anything except folic acid and vitamin d.

But a new study by an international team including Harvard University, the University of California and the University of Lancaster, found that multivitamins can add the equivalent of up to a full year of schooling to a child’s cognitive abilities between the ages of nine and 12.

The finding, which was carried out in women in Indonesia, is likely to be most relevant for women who do not get sufficient vitamins and minerals from their diets.

The study also found that early life nurturing, happier mothers and educated parents all led to cleverer children. A nurturing environment was found to be more even more important than biological factors, such as good nutrition, for general intellectual ability, academic achievement and fine motor dexterity.

continue reading

Study: Diabetes risk high for women whose mothers smoked while pregnant

New research suggests that women whose own moms smoked while pregnant are two to three times more likely to develop as adults. 
This suggestion is based on a survey of 1,800 women between 1959 and 1967 who received obstetric care in San Francisco as part of an early. The study was limited to women because it was initially launched to explore breast cancer risk. The findings found that fetal exposure to cigarettes not only increased the risk of obesity and low birth weight, but also diabetes.
“Our findings are consistent with the idea that gestational environmental chemical exposures can contribute to the development of health and disease,” study author assistant professor of environmental toxicology at the University of California, Davis, Michelle La Merrill, said in a release. “We found that smoking of parents is by itself a risk factor for diabetes, independent of obesity or birth weight,” she added. According to La Merrill, the study suggests that, “if a parent smokes, you’re not protected from diabetes just because you’re lean.”
read more about this finding in Philly.com