Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Leicester medical team announces 'predictor' for pregnant women who may have miscarriages

14.03.2008
A medical team from the University of Leicester has been able to establish for the first time a predictor for pregnant women who may have miscarriages and those who won’t. Their research is published in the highly prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers measured the levels of a naturally occurring ‘cannabis’ (an endocannabinoid) known as anandamide in women who presented with a threatened miscarriage (bleeding in early pregnancy with a viable baby) and found that those who at the time of the test had significantly higher levels of anandamide subsequently miscarried.

Professor Justin Konje, who heads the Endocannabinoid Research Group of the Reproductive Sciences Section in the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “We are extremely excited by these findings. Essentially, we have for the first time been able to use the levels of this naturally occurring cannabis, anandamide in 45 women presenting with threatened miscarriage and a viable pregnancy to predict the eventual outcome of the pregnancy. Using a threshold we defined from this study, we were able to predict all the women who then went on to have a subsequent miscarriage and 94% of those who went on to have a live birth.

“This is the first time that this has been reported. It has very significant implications and if the results are replicated, we would eventually be able to reassure women who present with bleeding in early pregnancy about the outcome of their pregnancies.

“Obviously for those whose pregnancies are identified by this measurement as destined to end in a miscarriage, knowing this may cause grief and upset but it may also help them to come to terms quickly with the outcome of the pregnancies.

“This is the first stage of this study but the results are very encouraging and we are undertaking further studies to confirm our observations. Once these are confirmed, we plan to develop a bed-side test which could then be applied in clinical practice.”

In the paper, the authors state that approximately 40%-50% of all human conceptions are lost before 20 weeks of gestation. They conclude:

“In this pilot study of women with threatened miscarriage, high plasma anandamide level was associated with subsequent miscarriage. The study is limited by the small number of participants and requires replication in larger and more diverse populations. Compared with tests based on peripheral blood mononuclear cells, anandamide-level measurement has an advantage of being based on whole blood and not requiring separation. If established as valid and clinically practical, anandamide measurement has the potential for improving the prediction and counselling of women presenting with threatened miscarriages.”

Professor Konje based at the Leicester Royal Infirmary, carried out the study with Osama Habayeb, Anthony H. Taylor, Mark Finney and Mark D. Evans. Professors David Taylor and Stephen Bell and Dr Marcus Cooke of the University of Leicester also contributed to the study.

The study was funded by income from the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and by PerkinElmer through a grant to support the Endocannabinoid Research Laboratory of Dr Konje. The British United Provident Association (BUPA) Foundation funded some of the consumables used for the laboratory analysis.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Professor Konje has been researching the levels of compounds produced by the human body, which are very similar to cannabis, for a number of years. Previously, his team reported than the levels of these endocannabinoids fall during the early period of pregnancy and rise towards term. Measuring the endocannabinoid level in women who were delivering preterm, Professor Konje and his team discovered that the level of endocannabinoids was four times higher in those who went on to deliver compared to those who did not.

Since a large number of women go into hospital with preterm labour, but only a few actually go on to have premature babies, this may be one of the most reliable ways of distinguishing those who are going into early labour from those whose contractions will subside until later in the pregnancy.

The implications for this are highly significant, both in health management and in cost-effectiveness. Professor Konje commented: “When women present with preterm labour, we need a test to tell us which ones will deliver and which ones will not so that we can plan their management.

“But there is also a major cost factor in the management of these women and babies. In the UK 8% of babies are delivered prematurely but many more women present with signs of preterm labour. A day on the intensive care unit costs £1,000-£1,500, so knowing who actually needs this level of care would be a major step forward.”

Currently, it can take 12 hours to get results from a blood test. His research aims to develop a means of monitoring monoclonal antibodies which could deliver the same result in 10-15 minutes.

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leicester.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New malaria analysis method reveals disease severity in minutes
14.08.2017 | University of British Columbia

nachricht New type of blood cells work as indicators of autoimmunity
14.08.2017 | Instituto de Medicina Molecular

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Climate change: In their old age, trees still accumulate large quantities of carbon

17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences

Modern genetic sequencing tools give clearer picture of how corals are related

17.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Superconductivity research reveals potential new state of matter

17.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>