Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Test may see Down syndrom earlier

NEW YORK — By this time next year there may be an alternative prenatal test for Down syndrome that offers accurate results as early as nine weeks into the pregnancy.

For years, many women have undergone a blood or ultrasound test that indicates a heightened risk of Down syndrome, followed by a procedure to make a firm diagnosis by capturing DNA from the fetus.

Usually, it is a needle procedure, called amniocentesis, done almost four months or more into the pregnancy. Sometimes it is an earlier test called chorionic villus sampling, which collects a bit of tissue from the placenta. Both pose a tiny but real chance of miscarriage.

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