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Oregon Researchers Say New Test For Down Syndrome Is More Accurate

There's a new, more accurate test for Down Syndrome. Oregon researchers say it's better for expectant mothers because it returns fewer false positives.

Think about it. You're an expectant mother and a routine blood tests finds your child has an elevated risk of Down Syndrome.

Next step is another invasive procedure for a more accurate test of your amniotic fluid.

That's traumatic, says OHSU's Dr. Leo Pereira, who co-authored a report on the test for this month's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"In this study, we looked at over 15,000 patients," he said. "We had to tell 884 patients that there might be a problem in order to identify 30 cases that actually had Down Syndrome. The other 854 had normal pregnancies, so we really scared them unnecessarily."

Pereira hopes insurance companies will permit patients to use the new test. While it is more expensive he says, insurance companies could save money because fewer mothers will need to have the additional test on their amniotic fluid.

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.