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For a healthy baby

HEALTH CARE BEGINS IN THE WOMB Dr. Sujatha Jagadeesh

HEALTH CARE BEGINS IN THE WOMB Dr. Sujatha Jagadeesh  

The Foetal Care Research Foundation at Mediscan is launching a new born screening program for the first time in the State

"Statistics say every minute there is a child born into this world and new medical technologies too are taking birth at a frenetic pace," says Dr. Sujatha Jagadeesh, dysmorphologist (study of abnormal structure and function of the foetus at Mediscan) and paediatrician, Foetal Care Research Foundation (FCRF). The Foundation, a unit of Mediscan Systems, run by Dr. Suresh and Dr. Indrani Suresh, pioneered ultrasound scanning in the State.

On the occasion of Mediscan's 23rd anniversary, the foundation is launching a novel, `new born screening program' for the first time in Tamil Nadu this month.

Says Dr. Sujatha, "The guidelines have astonishing features to identify in newborns disorders such as hypothyroidism and galactosemia even before the symptoms surface. The committee meeting on the screening programme was attended by the Indian Association of Paediatrics, National Neonatology Forum, Royal College of Obstetricians, Federation of Obstetricians and the Gynaecology Society of India."

Dr. Sujatha demystifies some of the high-sounding yet simple techniques to ensure safe pregnancy and highlights some of the disorders. The agenda

Started in 1993, the research-related service dealt with treating and curing the functional and structural defects of the foetus. Recurrent miscarriage and unexplained birth defects are some of the problems that many couples face. But technology shouldn't stop at just identifying the defects. It should look into the causes and find solutions to these problems. To achieve this, the foundation has introduced several hi-tech features into its services. * A database from the Murdoch Institute, Melbourne gives us probability-solutions to specific genetic defects. Constant interaction with specialists abroad has given rise to a networking of cases and diagnostic tests at the gene level.

* Genetic problems are being studied at the Cytogenetic Lab at a macro-level under a microscope.

* Genetic testing is done using blood samples, placental tissue, amniotic fluid and even on the abortus.

* In depth gene analysis is also done.

* Offers a perspective analysis from the co-ordinated results of ultrasound, pathology and the genetic lab. * The birth defects registry started in 2001 in Chennai has 14 centres giving baseline data on birth defects for the epidemiologist to compile statistics.

Simple solutions

* A folic acid supplement has a high preventive value in some congenital anomalies as neural tube defects, cardiac anomalies and defects of the spinal cord.

* A scan during the fifth month of pregnancy helps detect major defects in the growing foetus.

RANJANI GOVIND

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