Nav: Home

New test may uncover deadly hypertension disease in pregnancy

October 22, 2012

SANTA BARBARA - Collaborators at Cottage Health System and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have identified biomarkers that may yield a revolutionary diagnostic test for pre-eclampsia, a complex and potentially life-threatening hypertensive condition affecting 5% of pregnancies worldwide.

The most common dangerous complication of pregnancy, pre-eclampsia is potentially fatal and often mimics or is confused with other pregnancy-related conditions--such as swelling, gastric pain, and high blood pressure. Pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia, which carries a maternal mortality rate of 1.8 percent worldwide.

Through a partnership funded by the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Research Grant Program, the study was led by Dr. Alex Soffici, perinatologist with Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and Dr. Patrick Daugherty, professor of chemical engineering at UCSB. Plasma samples were collected over a period of two years from both normal-outcome and pre-eclampsia pregnancy patients at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, and then analyzed by UCSB graduate researcher Serra Elliott to identify candidate biomarkers.

"We are seeing the early stages of something that could be quite big," said Soffici. "Therapeutics for pre-eclampsia are on the horizon."

The group discovered that certain antibodies are present in the blood of patients with pre-eclampsia, but not in women with healthy pregnancies. Their results suggest that this new diagnostic test could effectively distinguish pre-eclampsia syndrome from conditions with similar symptoms. The collaborators' research continues in an ongoing study that could lead to technology available to clinical settings.

"We developed a separation process to sift through enormous numbers of distinct molecules present in blood to identify those few that are uniquely present in patients with pre-eclampsia," explained Daugherty. "Since our process simultaneously identifies biochemical reagents that can capture the disease biomarkers, there is an opportunity to create an effective diagnostic test for this prevalent disorder and possibly for other diseases where definitive tests are not yet available."

Elliott, lead scientist on the project, recently presented their findings at a conference for the International Society of the Study of Hypertension in Pregnancy in Geneva, Switzerland. "There are very few groups in the world working on this technology and we have found it to be exactly what the international research community was looking for. This project has great promise," commented Soffici.

Soffici added, "We are grateful to the Cottage Health System administration and to UCSB leaders for recognizing the great value in cooperation between clinicians and researchers, and for breaking down many of the barriers that previously existed for this kind of project."
-end-


University of California - Santa Barbara

Related Pregnancy Articles:

Are women using e-cigarettes during preconception and/or pregnancy?
A new study of 1,365 racially/ethnically diverse, low-income pregnant women found that 4% reported e-cigarette use.
A better pregnancy test for whales
To determine whale pregnancy, researchers have relied on visual cues or hormone tests of blubber collected via darts, but the results were often inconclusive.
Cannabis use during pregnancy
The large health care system Kaiser Permanente Northern California provides universal screening for prenatal cannabis use in women during pregnancy by self-report and urine toxicology testing.
Questions and answers about cannabis use during pregnancy
A new study shows that women have many medical questions about the use of cannabis both before and during pregnancy, and during the postpartum period while breastfeeding.
The effect of taking antidepressants during pregnancy
Exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy and the first weeks of life can alter sensory processing well into adulthood, according to research in mice recently published in eNeuro.
Is ivermectin safe during pregnancy?
Is it safe to give ivermectin to pregnant women? To answer this question, researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), an institution supported by 'la Caixa,' conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies that reported cases of accidental exposure to the drug among pregnant women.
Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.
Opioid use disorder in pregnancy: 5 things to know
Opioid use is increasing in pregnancy as well as the general population.
Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.
New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond
The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.