Research yields reliable test for preeclampsia
Tuesday, Sep 3rd 2013

Pregnancies are often joyful times for the families, however, there is also danger associated with pregnancy complications. Researchers from the University of Manchester and Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust have developed a system to test for preeclampsia, one of the riskiest conditions for expectant mothers.

There was originally no way to determine the risk for first-time mothers, however, through analyzing urine samples, the researchers may have found a breakthrough in testing for the chances of complication. Samples from individuals at 15 weeks of pregnancy, before the traditional 20 weeks when symptoms begin to show, found proteins that differed between those who developed the condition and those who didn't, according to the university report. The study found two specific proteins that had not been previously associated with preeclampsia, but were consistently a predictor for risk. This breakthrough may facilitate early intervention and spur closer monitoring for mothers who have a high possibility of developing the condition.

"We also hope to understand the biology of the disease better by determining why these proteins are higher in women with preeclampsia and whether they have a role in the development of the placenta," said Dr. Jenny Myers, one of the research team's leaders.

New hope for health
Preeclampsia has both mild and severe cases, which can make it difficult to detect if the symptoms are on the lighter side. Two of the most common indicators are high blood pressure and excess protein, along with headaches, nausea, changes in vision and upper abdominal pain, according to the Mayo Clinic. Because some of these symptoms are common in pregnancy, it can make preeclampsia even more difficult to diagnose. The real cause of preeclampsia has not been determined, however, the testing development will help physicians better understand each individual's risk factor and ensure that the pregnancy continues smoothly with consistent monitoring and treating for the complication.

The only cure for the condition is to deliver the baby, which can put the mother and child at risk for further complications. However, additional research could yield new insights into the disease's development and lead to more effective courses of treatment. Using environmental control systems has helped engineer numerous breakthroughs in medicine. Keeping a stable temperature ensures that the samples are still viable for testing and that the results aren't a fluke. This helps researchers give the public straightforward answers and ways to change lives for the better. Diseases like preeclampsia may be difficult to treat, however, detection can easily lead to prevention and better medicine to significantly reduce the condition's risk in the future.