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Profiling amniotic fluid yields faster test for infection and preterm birth risk, researchers find

Researchers at the 26th Annual Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) meeting today announced that profiling certain proteins in amniotic fluid is the fastest and most accurate way to detect potentially dangerous infections in pregnant women, and also can accurately predict whether premature delivery is imminent.

Diagnosing intra-amniotic inflammation or infection is crucial because these conditions can lead to the death of the fetus or other serious consequences of preterm birth, including brain damage, lung and bowel injury.

The study's authors were recognized by an award from the March of Dimes, marking the third year that the organization has honored SMFM members for cutting-edge prematurity research. The March of Dimes is conducting a multi-year, multi-million-dollar campaign aimed at reducing the growing rate of premature births through research and awareness.

"Our goal was to create a test that could more accurately predict which pregnancies with preterm labor are at risk for fetal complications from intrauterine inflammation/infection," said Catalin S. Buhimschi, M.D., of Yale University, the lead study author and SMFM member. "We found that profiling the proteins in amniotic fluid for markers of inflammation--a proteomic profile--not only yielded results twice as fast as other tests, but those results were also much more accurate. We discovered that the presence of fewer than two biomarkers for inflammation meant the median time for delivery was five to six days. If all the biomarkers for inflammation were present, delivery time was within hours."

"Research such as this is vital if we are to understand the basic mechanisms underlying preterm birth and find ways to prevent or treat it," said Nancy S. Green, M.D., medical director of the March of Dimes. "Dr. Buhimschi's work is exciting because it offers a potential new tool to identify women who are at highest risk for a preterm delivery. For these women, knowing the
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Contact: Sanda Pecina
202-367-1622
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
2-Feb-2006


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