Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New screening test proves earlier, more accurate predictor for Down syndrome

10.11.2005


Columbia-led study of more than 38,000 women enables faster, first trimester prenatal testing for leading cause of mental retardation and birth defects

A new study from Columbia University Medical Center researchers at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia of more than 38,000 pregnant women at 15 U.S. centers demonstrates the high accuracy of non-invasive screening for Down syndrome (also known as trisomy 21) in the first trimester of pregnancy, at 11 weeks. The findings are a significant advantage over the current standard screening, a blood test performed in the second trimester of pregnancy.

"These results will undoubtedly change national practice – all pregnant women should have the option of early screening for Down syndrome in their first trimester," said Mary E. D’Alton, M.D., principal investigator of the study. She is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia. "Down syndrome screenings based on either maternal age alone, or an ultrasound or sonogram alone, are no longer justified protocols."



Published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine (Nov. 10, 2005 issue), the study is known as the FASTER trial (First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk). It was funded by a $13 million grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development – one of the largest ever grants for an obstetrical study.

The new screening approach uses a blood test that analyzes the level of a protein and hormone in the mother’s blood, combined with an ultrasound or sonogram picture of the thickness of skin on the back of the baby’s neck (known as the nuchal translucency or NT). Results are available within five days, often before starting the second trimester of pregnancy. This combination approach determines the odds that the baby might have Down syndrome, allowing pregnant women the option of prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities within the first trimester or pregnancy. The researchers found higher detection – 87 percent – in the first trimester compared to the best second trimester screening method – 81 percent detection. Results with this new combination screening approach in the first trimester are a significant advantage over the current standard screening test.

First-trimester screening was performed on 38,167 patients; 117 were found to have a fetus with Down syndrome. If a positive result was found via screening, the woman was given the option to have the finding confirmed with a diagnostic exam: chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. Both tests carry risks of complication leading to miscarriage.

Down syndrome is one of the leading causes of mental retardation and birth defects, found in one in 660 pregnancies. Persons with this condition have distinct physical features and commonly have certain birth defects and medical problems. Any woman can have a baby with Down syndrome, regardless of her age, race, health, economic status or family history. For this reason, most pregnant women undergo testing to determine their potential to have a baby with this syndrome.

Dr. D’Alton and the research team believe that the new screening method should only be administered by qualified, trained physicians. Dr. D’Alton and other experts working with the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine have recently formed the Maternal Fetal Medicine Foundation to facilitate physician training and quality review for the screening. So far 1,600 physicians and sonographers nationwide have undergone training, and more are scheduled. Information about the training and quality review program can be found at http://www.MFMF.org.

Women seeking this early screening should seek healthcare professionals with appropriate ultrasound training and who participate in ongoing quality monitoring programs. Programs should provide sufficient information and resources for counseling regarding the different screening options and limitations of these tests. Additionally, the services should provide access to an appropriate diagnostic test when the screening test is positive.

"This study was a wonderfully collaborative effort between researchers, including four leading Obstetrics and Gynecology centers in New York City. This incredible achievement would not have been possible without the hard work of the 15 centers that comprised the FASTER Research Consortium and the 38,167 women who participated in this clinical trial," said Dr. D’Alton.

Elizabeth Streich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.MFMF.org
http://www.columbia.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure
24.11.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

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: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>