Friday, December 24, 2010

Pitt Researcher Creates Database for Pregnancy Complications

Dr. James Watson, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, is spearheading a project to research prevention and treatment for preeclampsia along with creating a database for future studies. “We’re trying to bring together groups of individuals who have data and biological samples that have studied preeclampsia in the past with the idea that we can maybe pull sources to answer questions pretty quicky,” Watson says. The database method has been successful in other research, including cancer and heart disease. Watson is the senior advisor to PRE-EMPT or PRE-Eclampsia Monitoring, Prevention, and Treatment, a group that is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through a $7 million grant over four years. His goal is to create a research database filled with blood, urine, and other biological samples from ethnically diverse women across the globe. This database will facilitate the first goal of finding a specific marker of the disease, but can also be used in future pregnancy research. “We’re hoping that we can move pretty quickly. It’s our initial goal to find something along the line of a predictor,” Watson says. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that involves high blood pressure in the mother and affects five to ten percent of pregnancies. It is the second leading cause of maternal death worldwide.

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