Link may explain high blood pressure in pregnancy
Posted Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:41pm AEDT

Australian researchers have found a viral link they think may help explain high blood pressure during pregnancy.

A team from the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital and the University of Adelaide says it has discovered a possible link between exposure to viral infections, especially herpes, and pre-eclampsia and pre-term births.

It says viral nucleic acid was found in heel-prick blood samples taken from more than 1,300 newborns over a decade.

More than 400 were diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Leader of the research group, Professor Alastair MacLennan, says it is an exciting finding and more studies will be needed.

High blood pressure affects up to 10 per cent of pregnancies in the developed world and is a common cause of maternal death in the third world.

The team has been focused on cerebral palsy research and has already demonstrated a link between viral infection in pregnancy, genetic mutations affecting inflammatory and clotting processes and development of cerebral palsy.

The latest findings have been published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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