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Experimental Test May Warn of Premature Births
Date:4/20/2011

kely you are to have significant changes in the physiology of the woman that is observed in the blood."

The test may cost $150 to $250, Graves said. It would require several years to go through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process. BYU and the University of Utah have a patent on the test and have licensed it.

Even if the test is found to indicate that a birth will be premature, physicians would have limited options. One option is to provide drugs that dampen the immune system so the baby's lungs develop faster, said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Wu said the study results are promising, but more research is needed to confirm that the test is reliable. "If you are going to be alarming a patient by saying that she may have premature delivery, you want to make sure that's truly the case."

The study appears in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

More information

For more about premature birth, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Steven W. Graves, Ph.D., professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah; Jennifer Wu, M.D., obstetrician-gynecologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 2011, American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology


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