New data supports a non-invasive approach to routine prenatal genetic testing
Research studies demonstrating the viability of an approach to routinely detect the presence of fetal DNA in a mother's blood to accurately diagnose or rule out genetic defects -- as early as the first trimester -- was presented today at the 27th Annual Meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine being held in San Francisco. This future diagnostic technology, currently under development at Sequenom, Inc., shows promise that a universal alternative to such invasive genetic screening procedures as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, may be available in the future.
Facial composite systems falling short
The mention of facial composites often conjures up images of a sinister criminal, skillfully depicted by a sketch artist using pencil and paper. In reality, the vast majority of law enforcement agencies use mechanized methods, usually computer software, when creating facial composite. By having a vast repertoire of eyes, ears, hair and so on at their disposal, witnesses have the ability to create an image that ideally encompasses all of the features of the perpetrator. So have these technological advances improved our ability to identify and apprehend criminals? Gary Wells and Lisa Hasels of Iowa State University say "no." more
First-degree fetal heart block may be reversible
There is an increased risk of fetal heart problems when mothers carry particular antibodies associated with rheumatic diseases, according to an abstract presented by Yale School of Medicine researchers at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference February 9 in San Francisco. more
Males have adapted to battle with competing sperm
In the context of sexual reproduction, natural selection is generally thought of as a pre-copulation mechanism. We are drawn to features of the human body that tell us our partner is healthy and will provide us a fighting opportunity to carry on our genetic lineage. But a new article appearing in the February issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science suggests that the human male has evolved mechanisms to pass on his genes during post-copulation as well, a phenomenon dubbed "sperm competition." more
Scientists discover new gene that prevents multiple types of cancer
A decades-old cancer mystery has been solved by researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). "We not only found a critical tumor suppressor gene, but have revealed a master switch for a tumor suppressive network that means more targeted and effective cancer therapy in the future," said CSHL Associate Professor Alea Mills, Ph.D. The study, headed by Mills, was published in the February issue of Cell.
3-D ultrasound identifies women at risk for impending preterm birth
To help physicians non-invasively identify women at risk for preterm birth, 3-D ultrasound was used to measure the size of fetal adrenal glands, according to an abstract presented by Yale School of Medicine researchers at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Conference 8 February in San Francisco. more
A simple test permits to distinguish between bipolar disorder and depression
Patients with bipolar disorder experience manic or hypomanic episodes (euphoria) and depression. Type II bipolar disorder (hypomanic) patients are especially difficult to diagnose since their manic episodes are not very marked and they are usually diagnosed as depression patients. Choosing an incorrect treatment can be counterproductive. A study led by IDIBAPS, with the participation of PSYNCRO and 10 more hospital centres and the support of GSK, demonstrates how the HCL-32 test identifies bipolar depression in a simple way and with success above 80%. This work has been done with the Spanish version of this test. more
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