Protein level link could help early diagnosis
Ectopic pregnancies may soon be identified earlier and without expensive scans, following research at Edinburgh University.
Scientists have found that a protein known as ‘Activin B’ is much lower in women who suffer an ectopic pregnancy, where the foetus develops outside the womb.
The study suggests the link between activin B and these pregnancies could help develop a much simpler test.
At the moment, testing for ectopic pregnancies requires ultrasounds and several blood tests, estimated to cost the NHS £9 million a year.
In the UK, five women a year die from ectopic pregnancies, and in the developing world, the number is double that.
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