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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Fertility & Pregnancy Channel
Reported January 16, 2006

Better Down Detection

SEATTLE (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs in about 1 out of every 800 births. Now, a new test can tell you whether your baby's at risk just 11 weeks into your pregnancy.

He's a healthy 4-year old, and Griffin Gonzales's mom, Amy, knew he would be just weeks after she was pregnant. "It was very reassuring," she says. "I think it really helped us enjoy the rest of the pregnancy knowing that everything looked good."

Amy took part in a national study to test a new way to detect the genetic disorder Down syndrome. The new technique combines an ultrasound and a blood test and gives women results in just 11 weeks. Currently, women have a blood test at 16 weeks, then choose whether to have riskier follow-up tests like an amniocentesis. Screening five weeks earlier allows them to decide whether to have more testing sooner and what to do if something is wrong.

"Now, at 11 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, a diagnostic test could be done and within 24 hours, they could have preliminary results available," says David Luthy, M.D., a perinatogist at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.

In the study, the new screening correctly identified 87 percent of fetuses likely to be born with Down syndrome. The standard blood test only identified 81 percent.

Amy also had the new screening with her second pregnancy. And she says she'd definitely have it again. "I think this is a great, non-invasive screening test that gives you a lot of information without putting any risk," she says, and it put her worries to rest sooner.

This article was reported by, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: /newsalert/.

If you would like more information, please contact:

Ed Boyle
Swedish Medical Center
747 Broadway
Seattle, WA
(206) 386-2748

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