A new study has revealed that African-American infants are more likely to be born with low birth weights, die before their first birthday and be preterm. The Solano Black Infant Health Program study additionally attributed other reports that the reasons why these occurrences happen are not related to education, wealth or a genetic disposition among people of African descent, but are strictly applied to black infants in the United States. The causes for concern among this recent discovery are the long-term health effects and costs of preterm birth. Preterm birth also has a cost related issue as preterm infants have to stay in the hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to gain weight and overcome obstacles such as difficulty feeding and breathing. Although the study from Solano Black Infant Health Program identified that low birth weights and preterm birth occur to black infants, and the reason for these occurrences are not related to health, wealth or genetic disposition, it did not answer the question as to why low birth rates and preterm births occur. Concludingly, chronic stress due to racial discrimination is a problem that will not end soon, so the best thing African-American women can do to avoid low weight and preterm births are arranging preconception check ups to make sure one is in the best health possible, seek early prenatal care, manage medical problems and medication and develop healthy habits which include prenatal vitamins and monitored exercise. June 22, 2016 (Toronto) a€“  A blood test developed by a team at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of Sinai Health System, and the University of Calgary has been shown to predict if a pregnant woman is at risk of delivering her baby prematurely, before full 37 weeks of gestation. Mitigating risk for preterm birth is important because premature birth remains the main cause of child-related mortality in the developed world.
The study population is a subset of women who participated in the All Our Babies study, a community based longitudinal pregnancy cohort in Calgary, Alberta.

The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute has the largest perinatal research program in Canada - based on activity, volume of research and funding. The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of Sinai Health System, is a leading biomedical research centre, ranking amongst the top biomedical research institutes in the world. African-American who had high education and incomes, and healthy lifestyles still gave birth prematurely.
Preterm birth, which is defined as birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy, has lifelong consequences. The test is the most accurate one to date and provides the earliest detection of premature birth, with 86 per cent accuracy in determining mothers at risk of early delivery. Preterm birth occurs in five to 10 per cent of all pregnancies, but is associated with 70% of all newborn deaths (excluding genetic anomalies) and up to 75% of newborn disease including cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, respiratory illness and complications of neonatal intensive care. Jan Heng (former post-doc at Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and currently at Harvard Medical School), and recently named Scotiabank Scientist in Child and Adolescent Development Health Research, Professor Stephen Lye (Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and University of Toronto) as well as Professor Suzanne Tough (University of Calgary). The researchers collected paired maternal blood from pregnant women at two clinically relevant time points: approximately 17 weeks when fetal ultrasound is conducted and at approximately 27 weeks of gestation when gestational diabetes screening is performed. With close to 7,000 births a year, Mount Sinai Hospital, also part of Sinai Health System, is one of the largest perinatal centres in North America that cares for pregnant women and newborn babies.

Established in 1985, the institute is profoundly advancing understanding of human biology in health and disease. The earlier a baby is born, the more severe its health problems will be, because certain growth and development, which occurs in the final weeks of pregnancy, has not taken place. The lifelong accumulated experiences of racial discrimination by African American women constitute an independent risk factor for preterm delivery. The international team, consisting of clinicians, scientists and biostatisticians, used gene expression profiling and bioinformatics to develop gene sets, coupled with a patienta€™s clinical information such as history of preterm birth, history of abortion or anaemia, to predict whether or not a woman will deliver prematurely.
The hospital treats some of the most complicated pregnancies in Canada and has the largest program of its kind in this country. Many of the breakthroughs that began as fundamental research have resulted in new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat prevalent conditions. The institute is affiliated with the University of Toronto and is focused on women's and infants' health, cancer biology, stem cell biology, neurobiology, diabetes, arthritis, health systems research, population health services and solutions, and systems biology.

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