Using big data to help solve one of the major global health challenges
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Pre-term birth is one of the leading causes of death for children under five. In many parts of the world, however, countries do not have the necessary data on how many children are born pre-term to address the challenge. A group of researchers at the University of Ottawa, working in collaboration with Stanford University, Newborn Screening Ontario and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, have developed a way to assess the gestational age of newborns using blood samples spotted onto paper and algorithms that can analyze the results. By offering a new and efficient way to determine pre-term birth estimates, the work of this research team will help develop and evaluate health programs and policies that can address one of the world’s major global health challenges.

“We’re using metabolic fingerprints – unique patterns in specific molecules found in the blood – to help estimate gestational age…This could be crucial to global efforts to reduce pre-term birth and improve newborn health.”
Dr. Kumanan Wilson
Internal medicine specialist and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and Professor at the University of Ottawa
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