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A medical advancement has made it possible for signs of carrying twins or the risk of a miscarriage to be verified in urine samples.

MAP Diagnostics in Hertfordshire have created a test that analyses the protein composition of urine, which allows scientists to then predict the chance of a successful birth, a miscarriage, and whether a woman is pregnant with twins. These proteins are secreted from embryos, and the test makes use of a small mass spectrometer to identify these protein cultures.

Identifying the protein cultures allows the test to search for these potential risks using an algorithm. The algorithm is based on the protein profile of a sample of 121 women between 6 and 10 weeks pregnant. Biological Natural Sciences applicants should consider how verifiable this sample size is in proving the efficacy of a product, in contrast to the phases of new drug development which are perhaps more rigorous.

Furthermore, HSPS and Medicine applicants should consider the ethical implications of marketing the features of this test given the small sample size that verifies its claims. As Zev Williams of Yeshiva University in New York argues, “you wouldn’t want a lot of women being unnecessarily stressed or falsely reassured” by a test which claims that it can accurately predict these risks. As such, Medicine applicants should further consider the ethical responsibility of people working in research and development of new treatments.

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