"The immunological clock"
by zainabmianoor on September 19, 2017 - 12:56am
Human development is based on an adjustable timeline that is different for each being. One child might take their first steps at age 2, while the other at age 3. Both are completely normal. Pregnancy, on the other hand, is stricter with time, as an early delivery can result in many developmental issues for the child. Until recently, science has not succeeded at efficiently tracking a woman’s immune function during pregnancy, even though it is the immune system that allows prediction of risks, such as preterm labor. A team of biologists, in the past few weeks, has developed an algorithm that tracks a woman’s immunity during pregnancy, which will now allow them to determine which immunological changes are behind pregnancy related diseases.
Firstly, this algorithm is a huge step forward in medicine as it allows the prediction and alleviation of risks during pregnancy through blood sample, which is a method that was unknown to science. Since a pregnant woman’s immune functions change in a timely fashion during pregnancy, following the changes within the system of women who are delivering on time allowed scientist to use that data and predict when a woman will face complications over the gestational period by comparing the two.
Secondly, this study is taking part in saving lives, since a great deal of children over the world are born premature, and most of them die. No scientist ever blamed the “immunological clock” for this. This study helps understand why certain babies are delivered early and what measures can be taken to help them live long healthy lives. Also, since the algorithm can predict a mother’s gestational age and immunological changes at any point in the pregnancy, it is no longer necessary for women to go to their doctor as frequently and perform several tests to vaguely know what is happening in their pregnancy. They can go fewer times and have more information.
Evidently, a lot more work needs to be done on this algorithm for it to be able to fulfill its function as adequately as possible, however, once it will, it will open the doors to a ton of new scientific discoveries that will take part in molding the future. If you wish to know more about the mechanism and details behind this algorithm, read the full article at: http://immunology.sciencemag.org/content/2/15/eaan2946.full