Medical Breakthrough for Pregnant Women

Medical Breakthrough for Pregnant Women

By Kamin Gock

 

A breakthrough discovery by scientists at the Victor Chang Institute in Sydney have found that a molecule called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is vital in the normal development of organs for babies.

The find is the first of its kind, and it explained why some women experience miscarriages and birth defects in their offspring.

The landmark discovery also found that vitamin B3 can actually cure critical molecular deficiencies such as low levels of NAD in pregnant women.

This is the first time NAD has been associated with the birth defects and miscarriages.

It is being considered as the greatest scientific findings from the Institute so far, and lead researcher Sally Dunwoodie believes it is “arguably, the most important discovery for pregnant women since folate.”

“We have discovered a whole new cause of birth defects and a way to treat it as well,” she said.

Prof. Sally Dunwoodie from The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Prof. Sally Dunwoodie from The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

Statistically, 7.9 million babies worldwide are born with a birth defect, whilst in Australia, one in four pregnant women experience a miscarriage.

“The ramifications are likely to be huge. This has the potential to significantly reduce the number of miscarriage and birth defects around the world, and I do not use those words lightly,” Ms. Dunwoodie said.

 

The discovery also has found a cheap and promising preventative measure, by increasing the vitamin B3 intake by pregnant women through supplements and food high in vitamin B3.

A sufficient vitamin B3 intake can significantly boost NAD within the body, as vitamin B3 is required to make NAD and is typically found in green vegetables, meat and Vegemite.

The study used pregnant mice with the NAD gene removed and gave the mice regular doses of vitamin B3.
The regular dose prevented miscarriages and birth defects overriding the genetic block.

The findings were published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.

Professor Bob Graham, the head of the Victor Chang Institute believes the discovery has the potential to help millions of pregnant women worldwide.

“This will change the way pregnant women are cared for around the world,” he said.

Researchers at the Victor Chang Institute are now focusing on developing a diagnostic test which will measure NAD levels in women to help doctors potential identify birth-related risks during pregnancy.

About author

earche04
earche04 29 posts

Erin joined the NRN team straight after graduating from a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University in 2016.

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