The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) has developed a biomagnetic technique that can assess the health of a fetus in the third-trimester. Specifically, it looks at the brain and heart heath of fetuses who have been exposes to opioids.
A recent pilot study compared a group of women who had been exposed to an opioid versus a group of women who had not been exposed. Researchers acquired the data noninvasively by using the SARA (SQUID-Array for Reproductive Assessment) device developed by UAMS researchers.
Two of the doctors involved in the study feel the ability to assess fetus health without invasive measures might have the potential to change standard of care in the future. “A biomagnetic device such as SARA could help to understand the impact of buprenorphine on the clinical care of pregnant women with opioid use disorder as well as care of their exposed children,” Diana Escalona-Vargas, PH.D. said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that babies born with health issues due to opioid exposure has increased substantially over a 15-year stretch. Dr. Jessica Coker added, “For pregnant women, studies like these can help us identify babies who may be at higher risk for negative outcomes such as neonatal abstinence syndrome.”
To learn more about the impact opioids can have on fetal health and treatment options, visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.