Thursday, 15 December 2016

Commentary on non-invasive prenatal screening

A lot of the most recent media attention and commentary on non-invasive pre-natal testing/screening has arisen from UK proposals about providing this testing under the National Health Service there, but it continues to be discussed vigorously around the world:

Is Screening The Solution To A Down Syndrome Problem?
Renate Lindeman, Huffington Post, 29 October 2016
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. For weeks the web was flooded with beautiful photos and inspirational stories of men and women who became pre-school teachers, Zumba teachers, athletes, models, DJs, artists, etc. There has never been a better time to live with Down syndrome, or has there?

Fears over new Down's syndrome test may have been exaggerated, warns expert
Hannah Devlin, The Guardian, 5 November 2016
Leading statistician says evidence suggests there will be no change in number of terminations, and more than 40 miscarriages a year will be avoided ...

Why having Down syndrome is not a ‘choice’ but the systematic eradication is
Renate Lindeman, Huffington Post, 6 November 2016
... We can all agree however, that having Down syndrome is not a choice. Neither is being a woman, or a man, being colored, transgender, having a different sexual preference, a high IQ or short legs. The only choice we have is to prevent the births of babies based on any of these human traits. And while NIPT can potentially detect a range of genetic (chromosomal) conditions, microdeletions and duplications in an unborn child, it is focused mainly on detecting Down syndrome. That is a choice ...

Doctors question accuracy of prenatal tests that predict Down syndrome
Blake Hanson, WSOC-TV, 23 November 2016
... (Dr Brian) Skotko told Channel 9 that the 99 percent accuracy rate advertised on test manufacturers’ websites refers to the test picking up 99 percent of fetuses who have Down syndrome. He said it's important that patients ask for the accuracy of the test if it comes back positive.

Non-invasive prenatal tests, or NIPT, became popular in 2011. Skotko said the technology moved quickly, but the explanation of information to patients hasn't kept up ...

Other recent posts on NIPT

  • The link below was also included in the most recent post on research into aspects of Down syndrome, here:
Non-invasive Prenatal Testing and the Unveiling of an Impaired Translation Process
Blake Murdoch et al, Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada,
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) is an exciting technology with the potential to provide a variety of clinical benefits, including a reduction in miscarriages, via a decline in invasive testing. However, there is also concern that the economic and near-future clinical benefits of NIPT have been overstated and the potential limitations and harms underplayed. NIPT, therefore, presents an opportunity to explore the ways in which a range of social pressures and policies can influence the translation, implementation, and use of a health care innovation ...
  • The full text available without charge online 

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