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The team led by Doctor Matt Hall, of the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation at the University of Leicester, conducted a study to see if analyzing the protein content of pregnant women's urine before the 20th week of pregnancy might predict a condition known as pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia affects approximately 5 percent of pregnancies and can pose serious health concerns for mother and child. Some patients develop severe disease associated with kidney, liver, and neurological problems. The condition is characterized by high blood pressure and the loss of protein in the urine during the second half of pregnancy.
The researchers recruited 145 patients at risk of pre-eclampsia from Leicester Royal Infirmary early in pregnancy. Eleven subsequently developed pre-eclampsia. An analysis of urine samples obtained prior to week 20 revealed a panel of 5 proteins that correctly predicted pre-eclampsia with 92 percent accuracy.
Hall said: "Our study suggests that changes in levels of certain proteins in the urine early in pregnancy can predict who will develop pre-eclampsia about 5 months before symptoms develop.
“Although these results do not give us a cure for pre-eclampsia, early identification of women at highest risk will allow focused monitoring and timely delivery of their babies, as well as reassurance for women found to be low risk."
MEDICA.de; Source: University of Leicester