Is The Gestational Diabetes Test Important?
Every expecting mother in their second trimester has had to undergo a long drawn out blood test to screen for the gestational diabetes test. Gynecologists are unanimous in getting the test done on all their patients because they are wary of the havoc gestational diabetes can play in the life of the mother as well as the child. Gestational diabetes refers to the abnormal and sustained rise in blood sugar levels during the gestational period. Gestational diabetes during later stages of pregnancy can result in preterm birth, miscarriage and even perinatal death. The infants from gestational diabetic mothers are larger than usual and hence stand a higher chance of fetal injury. Even after childbirth, the infant may develop low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia), jaundice and respiratory distress syndrome. Both the mother and the child are at risk of having Type-2 diabetes mellitus in later life. Several factors make a woman vulnerable to gestational diabetes, such as the age of conception, race, nutrition, family history, sedentary lifestyle, and hypertension.
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What’s The Big Deal?
The Oral Glucose Tolerance Test is the screening for the gestational diabetes test, currently recommended by American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and American Diabetes Association. The woman in the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy is asked to drink an orange concentrated sugary drink. The base blood sugar level is compared with the blood sugar levels after every hour for three hours. If the blood sugar exceeds 130mg/dL, the woman is cautioned of possible gestational diabetes during later stages of pregnancy and asked to bring about dietary changes, including physical exercises and keeping a vigil on their blood sugar levels. The agony of a woman suffering nausea, morning sickness and having a dislike to intense flavors, is aggravated when she has to drink a sugary syrup to start with and sit through the long test and enduring the multiple jabs for the blood test. The test, in spite of its significance, has proven to have a reduced accuracy of 76%. The sensitivity and specificity of such a paramount test are questionable when it cannot pre-diagnose 24 out of every 100 women who go on to have gestational diabetes.
The agony of a woman suffering nausea, morning sickness and having a dislike to intense flavors, is aggravated when she has to drink a sugary syrup to start with and sit through the long test and enduring the multiple jabs for the blood test.
Is There A Smarter Alternative?
In such a scenario, the need of the hour is a reliable bio-marker which can act as an accurate predictor of gestational diabetes. Scientific research carried out at Brigham and Women’s Hospital by Jose A Halperin, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, have identified a complement regulatory protein, CD59, which gets glycated to form glycated-CD59 (GCD59) as a precursor to the diabetic condition. Extensive clinical studies have shown that glycation-inactivation of CD59 is directly linked to pathologies and tissue damages characteristic of the diabetic state. Halperin’s group are pretty sure that blood plasma levels of GCD59 are a reliable bio-marker for gestational diabetes as published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2017. The group has also developed an ELISA technique that detects blood plasma GCD59. A single measurement of the GCD59 at the 26th gestation week accurately identified women who are likely to be gestational diabetics, yet remained undetected by the glucose challenge tests. With no glucose drinks or multiple blood tests, this innovation is in all probability the best thing to happen for the gestational diabetes test.
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Hope Finally Arriving!
Mellitus LLC, which has bought the license for the new diagnostic technology is validating the bio-marker before commercialization. The researchers are due to start the human trials and obtain FDA approval for the GCD59 test for gestational diabetes. In the likelihood that the new test reaches the market, ‘the measurement of this novel disease-associated biomarker may be a convenient and effective alternative to the cumbersome methods currently used to screen and diagnose gestational diabetes.’
All expecting mothers will be keen to have a simple, reliable test for screening gestational diabetes rather than going through an uncomfortable blood test with poor reproducible. The identification of GCD59 as the bio-marker for diabetes is a significant milestone towards making the life of expecting mothers, a bit more easier.