Researchers find ‘predictor’ for pregnant women who may miscarry

March 14th, 2008 - 11:41 am ICT by admin  

Washington, Mar 14 (ANI): All women need not worry about whether or not they will be able to have a trouble-free pregnancy, for researchers at the University of Leicester have identified a predictor for expecting women whose pregnancy may end in a miscarriage.

This predictor, they say, is the level of a naturally occurring cannabis (an endocannabinoid) known as anandamide.

The researchers, led by Professor Justin Konje, found that women who had higher levels of anandamide during the course of their pregnancy had a greater chance of miscarrying.

He and his team had previously reported that the levels of these endocannabinoids fall during the early period of pregnancy and rise towards term.

He said: We are extremely excited by these findings. Essentially, we have for the first time been able to use the levels of this naturally occurring cannabis, anandamide in 45 women presenting with threatened miscarriage and a viable pregnancy to predict the eventual outcome of the pregnancy.

Using a threshold we defined from this study, we were able to predict all the women who then went on to have a subsequent miscarriage and 94 percent of those who went on to have a live birth.

This is the first time that this has been reported. It has very significant implications and if the results are replicated, we would eventually be able to reassure women who present with bleeding in early pregnancy about the outcome of their pregnancies.

Obviously for those whose pregnancies are identified by this measurement as destined to end in a miscarriage, knowing this may cause grief and upset but it may also help them to come to terms quickly with the outcome of the pregnancies.

This is the first stage of this study but the results are very encouraging and we are undertaking further studies to confirm our observations. Once these are confirmed, we plan to develop a bed-side test which could then be applied in clinical practice.

Other researchers on the study were Osama Habayeb, Anthony H. Taylor, Mark Finney and Mark D. Evans. Professors David Taylor and Stephen Bell and Dr Marcus Cooke of the University of Leicester also contributed to the study.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. (ANI)

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