Risk of preterm birth reliably predicted by blood tests

A new study published in the Journal of Perinatology, suggests that blood tests can be used to predict the risk of preterm births among pregnant women with and without preeclampsia.

Portrait of Kelli Ryckman, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health.The researchers found that screening for specific biomarkers along with understanding certain demographic information about the patient could identify the risk of most of the women in the study during their second trimester of pregnancy.

Senior author Kelli Ryckman, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, says that knowing which women are in the high risk group would allow providers to suggest additional monitoring and even offer an opportunity for intervention.

“For example, our test identified about 95 percent of women who had a preterm birth with preeclampsia before 32 weeks,” Ryckman says. “These women could be offered low-dose aspirin as a way to help lower their risk for preeclampsia.”

The test, developed and studied in 400 women during their second trimester, screened for 25 biomarkers or substances in the blood that were signs of inflammation and immune system activation, as well as certain protein levels, indicative of a possible preterm birth risk.

While the results of the study are encouraging, Ryckman notes that the test is still in very early stages of development, and more research is needed to determine its accuracy and safety.

Additional authors of the study are Laura L. Jelliffe-Pawlowski, Larry Rand, and Mary E. Norton, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine; Bruce Bedell and Jeffrey C. Murray, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine; Rebecca J. Baer and Scott P. Oltman, University of California San Diego; and Gary M. Shaw and David K. Stevenson, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Funding for the study was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH/NHLBI, the March of Dimes Prematurity Center at Stanford University School of Medicine, the Stanford Child Health Research Institute at Stanford University School of Medicine, the Stanford Clinical and Translational Science Award CTSA to Spectrum, the March of Dimes Prematurity Center—Ohio Collaborative, March of Dimes, and the California Preterm Birth Initiative at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital.

Related Media Coverage

CNN
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/07/health/blood-test-preterm-birth-risk-study/index.html

EurekAlert
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uoc–rop052118.php

HealthLine
https://www.healthline.com/health-news/new-test-better-predicts-risk-of-premature-birth#1

Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5766977/New-test-spot-preeclampsia-preemie-risk-weeks-pregnancy-study-finds.html

International panels will address breast cancer in Asia

All are invited to two public panels featuring a medical and  anthropology delegation from the National University of Singapore and the National Museum of Denmark, who will speak about an international and inter-disciplinary project to study the hurdles which women across Asia face in early presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Meanings: Journeys across Asia

Monday, April 23 |  3:30 – 5 pm | 1117 University Capitol Centre

Breast cancer is now the most common and fast-growing cancer among women in most Asian countries. This University of Iowa Anthropology Seminar with panelists (see below) will present conversations across Asia with breast cancer patients, their caregivers, traditional healers as well as ordinary people on the subject of breast cancer meanings.

Choosing to Die: A Global Look at the Impact of Cultural Norms on the Choices Women Make in Cancer Treatment

Tuesday, April 24 | 3 – 4:30 pm | 1117 University Capitol Centre

Panelists will discuss details of their recent international, interdisplinary pilot study focused on the hurdles women across Asia seem to face when diagnosed with breast cancer. Moderated by Dr. Resmiye Oral, UI Carver College of Medicine.

Panelists include:

Mikael Hartman
Senior consultant in division of general surgery (breast surgery) at National University Hospital and head of Breast Cancer Prevention Program of the School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Wong Mee Lian
Professor of public health, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, National University of Singapore

Jenny Liu
Manager of the Breast Cancer Prevention Program, School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Miriam Koktvedgaard Zeitzen
Anthropologist, modern history and world cultures, National Museum of Denmark

Cynthia Chou
Professor of Anthropology and C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley Family Chair of Asian Studies, University of Iowa

Sponsored by International Programs, Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Sarolta Petersen at sarolta-petersen@uiowa.edu (319) 335-3862

Speaker to address maternal mental health disparities

Maternal Mental Health Disparities and Patient Engagement in Research

Karen Tabb Dina, PhD
Assistant Professor
University of Illinois School of Social Work

Thursday, April 12
3:30-4:30 pm
C217 CPHB

Abstract: Women’s mental health during the perinatal period is critically important.  Currently there are no best practices for screening for depression and addressing mental health needs in public health clinics. Clinic staff are often responsible for performing depression screening, however, few studies examine staff perceptions on feasibility and acceptability of using perinatal screening for mood disorders in ethnically diverse public health clinics. We conducted focus group interviews with public health staff (n=25) to learn how a multidisciplinary clinical staff addresses mental health in their clinic. Most participants identified multiple barriers to universal depression screening in a public health clinic, but at the same time found value in the practice of screening low-income women for depression. The findings from the focus group study established the foundation for a university-community partnership to improve maternal health outcomes at the county level in Illinois. The partnership has grown into a local initiative and is now in the early stages of developing a patient centered outcomes research community.

Sponsored by the Iowa Institute of Public Health Research and Policy and the Iowa Perinatal Health Research Collaborative

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the College of Public Health in advance at 319-384-1500.

 

UI research paper awarded the David Liu Prize

A University of Iowa research paper on intimate partner violence during pregnancy and the risk for adverse infant outcomes has been awarded the David Liu Prize by the Royal Academy of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

The paper appeared in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG) in 2016.

Researchers analyzed 50 studies into the effects of domestic violence by a partner or ex-partner on risk of preterm birth, low birth weight (less than 2500g) and small-for-gestational-age babies. The combined results evaluated more than 5 million women from 17 countries, 15,000 of whom had experienced domestic violence.

Overall, the results found that domestic violence doubled the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. This risk further increased for women who experienced two or more types of domestic violence during their pregnancy.

The research team included Audrey Saftlas, professor of epidemiology; Brittney Donovan, doctoral student in epidemiology; Kelli Ryckman, associate professor of epidemiology; Cassie Spracklen, doctoral student in epidemiology; and Marin Schweitzer, assistant professor of internal medicine.

Mr. David T. Y. Liu, author of the classic text Labour Ward Manual and pioneer in chorion villus sampling, generously funds this prize to encourage research and publication in obstetrics and prenatal diagnosis.

The award recipient is chosen annually from papers in the field that have been published in BJOG over the previous 12 months. Contending articles are appraised on their validity, the likelihood of the findings being adopted into practice regionally and internationally, whether the paper is explained sufficiently for replication, and the quality of outcomes relevant for patients.