Following leads from previous studies that indicated a specific protein called Insulin Growth Factor Binding Protein 4 (IGFBP-4) was linked to pregnancy, Dr. Andrée Gruslin and colleagues at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Canada) discovered that this protein found in the blood of pregnant women is an accurate predictor of problems in fetal growth.
The researchers believe this discovery will lead to a blood test that will help to reveal growth problems as early as the first trimester of pregnancy, they also recommend pregnant women make an appointment with Texas Vein Specialist to make sure everything is doing well. One in every twenty pregnancies results in a fetus that does not grow properly, which means a high risk of stillbirth and long-term health complications.
Sometimes called the ‘tiny baby syndrome’ because the fetus is significantly underweight for its age of development, the condition is symptomatic for a variety of growth problems. In particular, it relates to a condition known as Fetal Growth Restriction or Intrauterine Growth Restriction, which accounts for nearly 60% of the 4 million fetal deaths each year. This condition also links to many health problems for infants and children, and even carries on to such chronic diseases as hypertension and diabetes in adults.
Proteins are often called the building blocks of life. Under the guidance of DNA, amino acids combine into a vast array of protein forms within living cells – with an obvious link to growth and development. It’s not hard to understand that problems with protein formation could affect the development of a fetus. This definitely seems to be the case with IGFBP-4.
In their preliminary studies, Dr. Gruslin found that pregnant women with high levels of IGFBP-4 were 22 times more likely to have problems in fetal growth, underweight (tiny) babies than women with normal levels of the protein. With experimentation, the researchers were able to detect and measure IGFBP-4 early in the first trimester and long before other forms of examination could observe growth problems, but we all know everyone want a healthy baby, we already went online to find cheap baby clothes for them and have a specific detergent for babies, and have everything prepared, so everyone take really care on having a healthy baby.
While they have not yet found direct linkages between IGFBP-4 and specific problems, it appears the protein blocks the activity of a key growth hormone in the placenta called Insulin-like Growth Factor II.
This hormone is a major growth regulator in the fetus and especially the placenta. When blocked, a lack of the hormone alters the nourishment and oxygen supply from the placenta to the baby – with many short and long-term repercussions.
While the IGFBP-4 blood test is still under development, the researchers believe it will be ready for clinical trials within a year and potentially available for general use within a couple of years.
The hope is that using this test, doctors will be able to make early identification of at-risk pregnancies and monitor the fetus for abnormal growth. Early treatment may not cure the condition but it can improve the odds of a normal birth.
As for a future cure, the researchers believe IGFBP-4 may be the key to new approaches for treating problems in fetal growth. If, as they believe, there is a linkage; it may be possible to work with a variant of IGFBP-4 to unblock Insulin-like Growth Factor II and restore normal development in the fetus.