by caryn (10159 Posts), Sun Sep 26, 2010 00:01 am
The finding of a consistent discriminatory metabolite signature in early pregnancy plasma preceding the onset of preeclampsia offers insight into disease pathogenesis and offers the tantalizing promise of a robust presymptomatic screening test.
So looking at this particular panel of factors let them identify, at 15 weeks gestation, a population of women who were given more than 20 times the normal risk of developing preeclampsia. But, as the LA Times article points out, it wasn't very specific, because many women who did not go on to develop preeclampsia would have been managed as if they were likely to do so. The good thing about this is that it's better to be managed as high-risk, and then to not get sick, than it is to be managed as low-risk, and then get sick. (The bad thing is that it's no fun to be managed as high-risk and then not get sick, of course.)
This test isn't available anywhere -- and won't be for years, if then -- but it's a very interesting proof of concept, because it picked up on the fact that metabolic factors were busted as all * by 15 weeks gestation. That confirms a bunch of the underlying theory, particularly the bits about how PE stems from very early pregnancy factors, is a secondary strategy allowing the placenta to manipulate bloodflow when deep implantation fails, involves a metabolic hijack of the mother, etc.
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