Miscarriages 'predicted' by restricted embryo growth
There are hopes that a new tool which is able to predict miscarriages could be developed after scientists found the events are linked to early embryo growth.
During a study carried out at the University of Nottingham in the UK it was revealed embryos that had restricted growth during the early stages of pregnancy were involved in almost 80 percent of single baby miscarriages.
To back up these findings, the researchers also discovered that in over 98 percent of successful single baby pregnancies there was no evidence of restricted embryo growth.
The research has now been praised by fertility experts who have said it has enhanced their understanding of why miscarriages occur.
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As part of the investigations the scientists tracked the growth of over 500 embryos – 247 single baby embryos and 264 twin embryos.
To ensure accuracy, the scientists studied pregnancies that resulted from IVF treatment as it meant they knew their exact gestational age.
During the first trimester of pregnancy an ultrasound was used to measure the length of the embryo and the scientists continued to monitor its progress.
Although they found restricted growth of embryos during the first 12 weeks of pregnancies was an indicator of miscarriage risk later on in the cycle, this was only the case in single baby pregnancies.
Only 28 percent of twin embryo miscarriages were thought to be the result of restricted growth.
The research was led by Dr Shyamaly Sur who is now hoping the information could be used in the future to identify pregnancies that have a miscarriage risk.
He said: “There are various reasons why some embryos show restricted growth in the early stages of pregnancy.
“It could be down to an abnormality in the foetus or something in the environment of the womb.
“More research is now needed to investigate the relationship between growth and the underlying causes of miscarriage in more detail,” he continued.
“We are focussing on how blood flow to the womb lining and embryo quality influence conception rates and subsequent miscarriage.”
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NeuTigers: edge AI in healthcare
What is edge AI?
Edge AI is essentially a combination of edge computing and artificial intelligence. Algorithms are processed locally - directly on a mobile device or server - rather than in the cloud. This reduces cost, computing power and energy requirements. There are also claims that edge AI is so fast it is possible to reach near real-time analytics.
Edge AI devices include smart speakers, smart phones, laptops, robots, self-driven cars, drones, and surveillance cameras that use video analytics.
Who is NeuTigers?
NeuTigers is a spin-off company from Princeton University, formed in 2018 to apply edge AI and machine learning to solve challenges in healthcare, energy, productivity, and security.
With offices in Princeton, NJ, the company is based at one of the top AI accelerator programs of FutureLabs in New York, and has also established a subsidiary in Nice, France.
How is NeuTigers applying edge AI to healthcare?
The NeuTigers AI Technology Stack uses deep neural networks that mimic how the human brain perceives and interprets the world. The company has developed the StarDeepTM Smart Health Platform for health monitoring and biomedical imaging, to improve the accuracy and speed of diagnosing diseases.
NeuTigers say the platform has the potential to monitor and screen for thousands of conditions, when used in combination with medical devices and smart sensors already deployed in healthcare settings.
Are there any real world examples?
In January NeuTigers launched CovidDeep, a tool that predicts COVID-19 with more than 90% accuracy, using physiological data from a wristband along with blood pressure and blood oxygen readings. It then analyses the data and gives a prediction within two minutes.
This week NeuTigers announced a new study to detect the early signs of complications with sickle cell anaemia. Conducted at a hospital in Paris, the research will begin by looking at changes to skin response, heart beat, sleep and temperature to predict an acute episode of sickle cell anaemia, and how this impacts on the patients’ disease conditions and quality of life.
The second phase of the project is to expand with prospective studies across different sites in EU, Africa and the US to explore the models' accuracy and clinical effectiveness.
Adel Laoui, CEO and founder of NeuTigers, says: “The best way to deal with a crisis is to avoid it happening in the first place. We are now entering a new era where medical early warning systems have become a reality.
“We are excited at the possibility of deploying a technology that can save lives of patients dealing with sickle cell anaemia. The potential of the StarDeep platform to dramatically improve patient outcomes while slashing some of the highest costs of healthcare makes it one of the most exciting developments in preventative personal medicine.”