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Downs test may increase risk of birthmarks

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A test performed in early pregnancy to check for genetic defects such as Down’s syndrome on babies in the womb could increase the risk of the baby being born with a birthmark or port wine stain, according to a new report.

10 February, 2009 – 15:39

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston, in their overview report published in the December 08 issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery found that in previous studies researchers found “cavernous or strawberry hemangiomas” in 12 of 95 (12.6 percent) CVS-exposed infants compared with 3 of 87 (3.4 percent) infants who had been exposed to amniocentesis, which is typically performed later in pregnancy. In another study, hemangiomas were seen in 21.1 percent in 578 CVS-exposed infants versus 7.4 percent in 445 amniocentesis-exposed infants. Some babies in the CVS group, but none in the amniocentesis group, had multiple hemangiomas.

However the researchers conclude that despite all the evidence, because CVS detects serious genetic diseases like Down’s syndrome, the benefits of knowing the test results could outweigh the possible risk of birth marks.

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