Test To Measure the Risk of Miscarriage

Mar 24, 2008

Scientists developed a test able to predict a risk of miscarriage for pregnant woman. The test measures the level of anandamide, a naturally occurring 'cannabis' in pregnant women who may have a negative outcome of their pregnancy.

Justin Konje, a professor and his colleagues at the University of Leicester, said that they managed to use their method of measuring the level of naturally occurring cannabis anandamide to foresee the possible risk of miscarriage in women with viable baby and having vaginal bleeding. The high level of anandamide indicates that woman is at increased risk of miscarriage.

Using the test on 45 women with threatened miscarriage, scientists predicted who would eventually have a miscarriage and who will have a live birth.

Women who would be warned about their risk of miscarriage will have to undergo serious stress but they will be able to cope with this quicker knowing the outcome of their pregnancy.

Scientists plan to go on with further research and if the results will be confirmed, the bed-side test will be developed to use in clinical practice.

The high level of anandamide measurement has an advantage over other methods like those based on peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Professor Konje found that the level of endocannabinoid, a compound similar to cannabis produced in a body is lower at an early stage of the pregnancy and increase at the time of supposed term of delivery. He revealed that those women, who delivered, had four times higher level of the endocannabinoid than those who did not.

The test determining the level of naturally occurring cannabis will be helpful to those women who may have a preterm birth and other pregnant women who will deliver in term.

Scientists are aimed to develop a test that would be able to give the results in 10-12 minutes if compared to the blood test which can take up to 12 hours to get the results.

The research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.