Tags: blood | test | fetal | problem

Blood Test Flags Fetal Problems

Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:18 AM EDT

Pregnant women may soon be able to take a blood test that will predict their risk of having dangerously small or unhealthy babies.
Researchers from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and the University of Ottawa have found a protein in the blood of pregnant women that flags a fetus that isn't growing properly, and has a high risk of stillbirth and long-term health complications.
Lead researcher Dr. Andrée Gruslin said the finding opens the door to developing a widely available blood test to flag such cases and improving the outcomes of women and their children who face this risk – estimated to be as many as one of every 20 pregnancies.
Gruslin's study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, involved 72 women and centered on a protein called Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 4 (IGFBP-4). Gruslin found women with high levels of IGFBP-4 were 22 times more likely to give birth to tiny babies than those with normal levels of the protein.
"Usually, we don't find out until later in a pregnancy that a fetus isn't growing properly, but this test can tell us in the first trimester if there's likely to be a problem," said Gruslin. "By identifying these high-risk pregnancies early on, we will be able to monitor these women more closely and hopefully help them deliver a healthier baby."
The IGFBP-4 blood test is still experimental, but Gruslin hopes to develop a version that could be widely available within the next couple of years. She also hopes that her studies could lead to new approaches that would improve fetal growth in high-risk pregnancies.

© HealthDay

Pregnant women may soon be able to take a blood test to indicate whether their babies are developing normally.
Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:18 AM
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