New App Can Help Doctors Predict Preterm Birth Risk

New App Can Help Doctors Predict Preterm Birth Risk

A new app that uses an algorithm could help doctors to better identify women at risk of giving birth prematurely, scientists say.

QUiPP, developed by researchers at King's College London, was tested in two studies of high-risk women being monitored at ante-natal clinics.

The app uses an algorithm which combines the gestation of previous pregnancies and the length of the cervix with levels of foetal fibronectin to classify a woman's risk.

The first study focused on women deemed to be at high risk of preterm birth, usually because of a previous early pregnancy, despite not showing any symptoms. The second study predicted the likelihood of early delivery in a group of women showing symptoms of early labour which often does not progress to real labour.

In the first study, researchers collected data from 1,249 women at high risk for pre-term birth attending pre-term surveillance clinics. The model was developed on the first 624 consecutive women and validated on the subsequent 625.

The estimated probability of delivery before 30, 34 or 37 weeks' gestation and within two or four weeks of testing for foetal fibronectin was calculated for each patient and analysed as a predictive test for the actual occurrence of each event.

In the second study, data from 382 high-risk women was collected. The model was developed on the first 190 women and validated on the remaining 192.

In both studies, the app was found to perform well as a predictive tool, and far better than each component (previous pregnancy, cervical length or foetal fibronectin) taken alone.

Worldwide 15 million babies are born preterm (before 37 weeks) each year and over a million of these die of prematurity-related complications, researchers said.

A number of factors are used to determine if a woman is at risk of giving birth prematurely, including a history of preterm births or late miscarriages.

Two further factors which doctors can consider are the length of cervix and levels of a biomarker found in vaginal fluid known as foetal fibronectin, which are typically tested from 23 weeks.

The researchers have further developed the foetal fibronectin test to be accurately used from the first half of pregnancy.

"Despite advances in prenatal care the rate of preterm birth has never been higher in recent years, including in the US and UK, so doctors need reliable ways of predicting whether a woman is at risk of giving birth early," said Andrew Shennan from King's College.

"It can be difficult to accurately assess a woman's risk, given that many women who show symptoms of preterm labour do not go on to deliver early," he added.

The findings were published in the journal Ultrasound in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Sitting job: Why it's dangerous and how you can reduce the risk

We all have heard about the negative effects of a sitting job. Research has shown that people who sit at a desk job all day have a higher risk of dying from any cause.

There is evidence to prove that even if you exercise, prolonged sitting actively promotes a range of chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity etc.

Studies have also found that sitting for long hours increases one’s risk of getting cancer. Further, one’s chances of suffering from anxiety disorder and depression also rises depending upon the hours he/she spends in the chair.

While studies have shown that sitting kills even if you exercise and eat right, you can still reduce your mortality risk by incorporating some activities in your daily schedule that will help you avoid sitting for longer periods of time.

In an exclusive interview with Salome Phelamei of Zee Media Corp, Deepak Rawat, National Fitness Manager, Fitness First India, shared some excellent tips to stay healthy while being at a desk job.

Mr Deepak Rawat is a certified Personal Trainer, American Council on Exercise, USA; Certified Spinning Instructor; Clinical Exercise Specialist Certification Gold Standard, American Council on Exercise, USA; Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist Certification, American Council on Exercise, USA.

Having more than 11 years of working experience in the fitness industry, Deepak Rawat featured in the Top 10 Personal Trainer in India, Men’s Health, October 2014 edition.

How sitting for longer durations affect one's health?

Sitting for more than six hours a day damages your body from inside. It starts affecting your muscles and organs, thus making you prone to a lot of diseases including weight gain, high cholesterol and many more. Daily exercise does minimize the impact but doesn’t nullify it.

To completely kill the side effects of siting, it is advised - especially on the days you're sitting for work - to stand for five minutes after every 30-60 minutes of sitting.

Additionally, few stretching exercises will help your muscles relax. It will help you increase your efficiency also as sitting for too long affects you both mentally and physically.

Remember that your body is not meant for just staring at screens and sitting on a chair the whole day, there's more to it. If you take care of your health, your health will take care of your work in future.

Best exercises/suggestions for people with a sitting job of more than 8 hours a day:

The best way to start with is to include simple workouts in your daily routine. If you live closer to your office, then it’s better to walk, jog or cycle. On the contrary, in case the office is located far off, try getting off the public transport a few stops earlier than your actual office stop or park your vehicle in a parking lot that is a little far away so that you can walk for a few minutes.

Best exercises to do at a desk job:

Our daily lifestyle directly affects our level of health. Here is a list of simple exercises which can be done while sitting in office, with proper technique and posture.

Stretching: - Stretch your hamstring, gluteus and chest while sitting at your office chair to avoid muscle tightness caused due to long sitting.

Stability: - Single leg standing, pelvic bridge and plank are the best exercises to gain stability.

Strength: - Squats on office chair, wall push-ups, wall angels for lower body, and push and pull strength exercises give strength to your body.

Tips to burn calories while at work

By following simple steps, you can actually burn a lot of calories which you gain by sitting for hours.

Walk while you talk on phone

Go for the stairs instead of the elevator for a meeting at a different floor

Go out during your lunch break

 

Healthcare professionals need to fasten the seatbelts for a major technical drift in 2015

What is all there on the horizon for healthcare segment as the year 2015 starts? Experts predict a great technological transformation in the way medical business will be managed. New and innovative medical practices will capture the marketplace and factors that make the life of a consumer better will be greatly appreciated. High availability of the Internet will make interconnection of devices possible, and predictive technologies and data analytics will come at the forefront. There will further integration of healthcare services and the Information Technology.

Remote payment will take further momentum

As the Internet technology becomes swifter and quicker, people prefer the simple ways of paying medical bills. Huge piles of paperwork and manual processing irritate them because of slow processing speed.  As the popularity of the mobile payment increases, new applications are emerging on varying platforms like Apple, Android, and MS Windows. The market is expecting to grow leaps and bounds, and healthcare professionals have to be more engaged with it in 2015.

Fitness apps will be smarter!

Fitness apps will become smart and intelligent by integrating with the Internet technology. At one side projects like Google’s Iris test a contact lens for monitoring glucose level for diabetic patients, smart fitness devices would monitor fitness levels and determine the exercising needs. There are devices that can track oxygen saturation, blood pressures, and heart rates in the body.  Experts say the ingestible computers (tiny pills stuffed with miniature microprocessor) may become a reality very soon. They will monitor a patient’s response to a particular drug.  Convergence of technology brings smart machines that take care of the vitals while surgery is going on so that surgeons concentrate on the operation without getting diverted.

E-prescriptions and remote monitoring will become a reality

E-prescription is a unique and innovative way of writing prescriptions in an electronic format rather than on a piece of paper. The use of E0prescription is expected to reach new levels with the enhancement in accuracy and reduced legibility

Remote patient monitoring is another area that is expected to take-off in the year 2015. Many healthcare organizations are keen to it as tele medicine usage gets focused for medical reimbursement. As healthcare expenses become expensive, and the population of elderly people increases because of better medical facilities; healthcare organizations have to divert more resources for health solutions. Since remote monitoring becomes easy with the technical advancement, enhanced systems are getting introduced with better security and compatibility standards.

Consumer-centric healthcare will be a buzzword

According to health experts, patients will take further control on their health, than healthcare professionals. As the individual involvement and control increases with high-technology solutions, there will be a great pressure for consumer-centric services. 

Healthcare companies welcome these changes overwhelmingly because it will make the relationship between medical professionals and patients further strong. Even today, integration of technology makes healthcare processes smart and swift. Doctors use cloud-based computers and software, tablets, embedded medical devices, and many more to bring excellence in the treatment. 2015 is expected to add great value to it.