Israeli Scientists Discover Early Indicators Of Dangerous Pregnancy Complication
Israeli scientists recently announced that they have discovered a breakthrough method to identify critical molecular biomarkers of preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that can interfere with blood flow to the placenta and possibly to the fetus, leading to low birth weight, prematurity, and sometimes even death. The disorder, which usually begins after 20 weeks of gestation, affects between 2 and 8 percent of all pregnancies and is one of the three leading causes of maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Dr. Noam Shomron from Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, who along with Prof. Moshe Hod led the research, said in a statement that preeclampsia “is a serious disease that endangers the health, sometimes even the lives, of the mother and the fetus. We don’t know what causes it, but preeclampsia, if caught in time, has a simple and proven remedy: low doses of aspirin administered from the 16th week until the end of pregnancy.”
Dr. Shomron explained that where doctors have so far tried to determine risk of preeclampsia by referring to blood pressure levels, amount of protein in urine, and other general symptoms including low platelet count and kidney problems, “we sought a definitive biomarker that appears in a patient’s blood as early as the first trimester, before any symptoms appear.”
The scientists, including PhD student Liron Yoffe who conducted the research, and Professor Kypros Nicolaides of King’s College London, say their research can help create a simple diagnostic blood test that can predict preeclampsia in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and allow doctors to provide treatment to prevent the disease.
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