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Fetal Nasal Bone Predicts Down Syndrome

Ultrasound Finding May Reduce Need for Amniocentesis

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"From the clinical utility point of view the presence of the nasal bone may not mean much, because we found that more than half of the Down fetuses had it," he says. "But if you don't find it there is clearly something wrong."

Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, who conducted the analysis of past ultrasound studies, says it is not yet clear whether ultrasound screening represents an advance over serum blood screening, which, she adds, is widely underutilized in the United States.

"We ignore the best current methods to estimate risk, and still rely far too heavily on maternal age to determine who should and should not have amniocentesis," she says. "Serum blood testing could reduce the need for amnio in older women by 75%."

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