SINGAPORE: Plant oestrogen discoveries and rapid prenatal diagnosis —— these are just some of the new research presented at the recent Obstetrics and Gynaecology Congress organised by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology of the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
The international conference from May 25 to 27 focused on the latest advances in obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as concerns in fertility and women’s health.
Can this herb called epimedium fight against breast cancer?
Researchers found it contains active ingredients that not only strengthens bones but also targets breast cancer cells for destruction. It does so by targeting the oestrogen receptor for destruction, removing the driver for growth of breast cancer cells.
Professor Yong Eu Leong, head of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said: "The active compounds are oestrogens, plant oestrogens. And what they do is that when they are consumed, they are broken down into this compound that can exert mild oestrogenic effects.
"These oestrogenic effects are sufficient to maintain bone health, we believe, but at the same time does not stimulate breast cancer growth."
While the research is still in its infancy, Prof Yong hopes that a pharmaceutical drug of this compound can eventually be developed.
Separately, researchers have come up with a faster way of delivering test results.
For the first time, soon—to—be—mothers will be able to receive their results from an amniocentesis on the same day. This is a diagnostic test that is carried out during pregnancy to assess whether the baby could develop an abnormality.
Currently, results are released within 48 hours. The process was modified to be faster so as to relieve patients’ anxiety.
Associate Professor Mahesh Choolani, from the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at NUS’ Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said: "Amniocentesis carries with it a small but definite risk of miscarriage. So from a mum’s perspective, that day is a big day for her.
"She has two main concerns. Her first concern is will I miscarry? And that’s a big concern. And the second concern is, is my baby normal?"
He added that the test is 100 per cent accurate.
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