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Promising Small Chip Could Minimize Preterm Births [VIDEO]

Update Date: Apr 14, 2017 10:03 AM EDT

Researchers at Brigham Young University are currently developing a small chip that could minimize preterm births. The device is intended to provide clues on whether a pregnant woman has a risk of premature delivery with 90 percent precision.

The chip called integrated microfluidic device has a potential to minimize preterm births by simply finding its symptoms via biomarkers- a method that has not been developed. Biomarkers are substances present in the body that may indicate a condition. The small device will act like a laboratory that can measure nine biomarkers present in the blood but the difference is that it can do the processes faster- and a lot cheaper.

The researchers have developed a system that can do preconcentrating and separating biomarkers using it. Mukul Sonker, the lead author of the study, explained that preconcentrating proteins and peptides allow for predicting the risk of preterm birth possible.

The study was co-authored by chemistry professor Adam Woolley of BYU whose wife almost had a premature delivery of their son but it was prevented by medical intervention. He was pleased that their work may make a way for saving the lives of babies in the future as it can help pregnant women and doctors prepare, the EurekAlert reported.

There are various risks that may increase the likelihood of a premature delivery but there are women who do not carry their child full term even without having any of these risks. The succeeding birth to a preterm one is one of them. Doctors usually track pregnant women under their care who may either be underweight or overweight because this is a risk factor.

It is also important for women to have the right nutrition during pregnancy since a poor one might cause premature birth. Being pregnant with twins or more, an inadequate period of intervals between pregnancies, and conditions in the reproductive system may increase the likelihood as well, according to Mayo Clinic.

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