The test, which is designed to be used at home, will allow mums-to-be to check for themselves whether they are at risk of the condition, which can be symptomless in the early stages but kills 1000 babies in the UK every year. The test is expected to be more reliable than the traditional blood pressure and urine tests conducted in GPs’ offices and hospitals.
Pre-eclampsia is also a leading cause of maternal mortality, killing one woman globally every six minutes, according to the UK’s Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC). Earlier detection and intervention could save lives.
Standard blood pressure and urine tests are unreliable, and there is a lot of scope for “user error”, according to Michael Rich, chief executive of APEC. In addition, high blood pressure can be caused by a variety of factors other than pre-eclampsia, and even when a woman develops pre-eclampsia, problems with high blood pressure may not occur until the latter stages.
The new test works by monitoring levels of urate, a salt of uric acid, increased levels of which are thought to be due to impaired kidney excretion in pre-eclampsia.
‘A salivary urate test is simple, non-invasive, quick and cheap and can be done at any time. As a metabolic test independent of blood pressure, it may obviate the need for hospital admission,’ said retired hospital rheumatologist Brian Owen-Smith, who invented the test.
The trial, which will eventually involve 1000 women, is underway at St Richards Hospital in Chichester. Trial subjects send away saliva-wiped swabs for analysis. Results are expected early next year. The ultimate aim is to develop a “traffic light” detection kit for use in the home.
Pre-eclampsia is thought to be the result of problems relating to the implantation of the placenta. The main diagnostic symptoms are raised blood pressure and the excretion of protein in the urine. While there is no cure, other than the delivery of the baby and removal of the faulty placenta, early detection and management of the problem can have a big impact on patient outcome.
Lisa Richards | alfa
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences