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Pregnancy disorder shares aspects with Alzheimer’s

Misfolded proteins found in urine of women with preeclampsia

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2:02pm, July 17, 2014

Preeclampsia, a life-threatening condition that strikes during pregnancy, may have a lot in common with Alzheimer’s and mad cow diseases, a new study suggests.

Misfolded proteins, including one involved in Alzheimer’s, clump in the urine of women with preeclampsia, researchers report in the July 16 Science Translational Medicine. Those twisted proteins are produced by the placenta, a pancake-shaped organ that fuses to the uterine wall and nourishes the fetus. 

A urine test could detect the abnormal proteins up to 10 weeks before symptoms began, say Irina Buhimschi, an obstetrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and colleagues.

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