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SMFM highlights significance of spina bifida research findings
Date:2/10/2011

SAN FRANCISCO (February 10, 2011) More than two thousand physicians, some of the top obstetric/gynecologists in the world who specialize in maternal-fetal medicine, especially high risk pregnancies, gathered today for their annual meeting in San Francisco to begin four days of intensive research presentations. Presentations each year at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting , represent major findings in reducing high-risk pregnancies and complications.

Catherine Y. Spong, M.D., chief, pregnancy and perinatology branch, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, discussed the government study that she co-authored, "Management of Myelomeningocele Study" (MOMS) at the SMFM annual meeting. An article on the study appeared today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Myelomeningocele is the most serious form of spina bifida, a condition in which the spinal column fails to close around the spinal cord and the cord protrudes through an opening in the spine.

The $22.5 million study looked at the benefits of a surgical procedure used to repair this common defect of the spine while the baby is still in the uterus. The findings reported that the procedure greatly reduced the need to divert, or shunt, fluid away from the brain. The surgical procedure consists of closing an opening at the back of the fetal spine, which is a departure from the traditional approach of operating on the infant after birth.

The fetal procedure increases the chances that a child will be able to walk without crutches or other devices.

"This research is a huge finding for our profession and our patients," stated Joshua Copel, M.D., professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Yale University. Copel is also president of SMFM and a clinical practitioner in prenatal ultrasound and prenatal therapy.


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Contact: Vicki Bendure
vicki@bendurepr.com
202-374-9259
Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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