Washington, Sept 5 : A group of researchers has developed a world-first computerised system which may reveal a way to predict premature birth with greater accuracy.
The University of Melbourne, the University of Newcastle has collaborated with Symbion Pathology to develop a computer program to predict women at risk of a premature birth.
Premature birth is responsible for 70 per cent of new born baby deaths and 50 per cent of cerebral palsy cases.
Professor Roger Smith from the University of Newcastle, said that identifying patterns in hormone levels could make it possible for scientists to determine high risk pregnancies.
"The mechanisms that regulate the onset of human labour are still unknown, which makes it difficult to predict the event. However by detecting patterns in hormone levels, we could see when a pregnancy was going 'off course'," said Professor Smith.
He added: "This would identify women who may benefit from medical treatments currently available to prevent premature birth."
Professor David Smith from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne, said: "We are creating software and other computational methods to analyse pathology samples, determine patterns in blood hormone levels, and display the results. The program will not only identify women at risk of giving birth early - it will also identify women not at risk, who could have their pregnancies managed by midwives in hospital or a home birth setting."
The scientists are now hoping to have the computer program fully developed in three years.