Gestational diabetes is common in pregnant women. It is said that 10 to 17 percent of pregnant women around the globe are affected by this most prevalent condition.
Despite several attempts, efforts to develop a reliable screening method to aid in early detection have fallen short. One of the main challenges has been the accurate identification of higher-risk markers, which have proven to be difficult to gauge or lack sufficient prediction accuracy.
Screening Test To Detect Diabetes In Pregnancy
Researchers from Semmelweis University and the University of Debrecen in Hungary have revealed a revolutionary method that allows for early detection of later-onset gestational diabetes mellitus for the first time ever.
The screening test, the first of its kind in the world, not only suggests ways to prevent gestational diabetes but also opens new avenues for timely intervention.
The screening for gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is recommended at 24 weeks or later. However, early screening can be done at an early stage to prevent the disease.
The researchers have studied the biological samples and follow-ups of 2,545 pregnant women through Debrecen University’s biobank.
Through analysing various parameters such as oxidative-nitrative-stress-related markers, steroid hormone levels, and metabolites, scientists found out the complexities of pregnancy pathologies.
Associate professor at the Department of Physiology at Semmelweis University, Eszter M. Horvath, explained that the placenta acts as a "steroid factory" with the quantity and composition of steroids produced varying in different pregnancy pathologies. The responding author of the study added that alterations in the tested steroid levels can indicate underlying changes occurring within the pregnancy."
The Five Markers
The team of researchers identified five markers that demonstrated the potential for detecting subtle deviations during the early stages of pregnancy.
These markers include fructosamine, which reflects average blood glucose levels over the preceding 2 to 3 weeks; soluble urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (suPAR), a marker highly correlated with other inflammation markers and often elevated in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients; and three steroid hormones: cortisol, cortisone, and 11-deoxycorticosterone.
With the implementation of these groundbreaking predictors along with well-established risk factors such as age and weight, researchers devised a method that boasts an unprecedented accuracy rate of almost 100 percent in predicting later-onset GDM (between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy) during the first trimester.
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