New Way to Learn About the Effects of Pregnancy on Kidneys

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“One thing that happens during pregnancy is that plasma volume expands to supply a developing fetus and placenta,” said Melissa Stadt, a master’s researcher in applied mathematics at the University of Waterloo.

Keeping these facts in mind, the research team used computational models representing kidney function during mid-and late pregnancy. These in-silico experiments, so-called because they are essentially conducted in the silicon of computer chips, provide a way to simulate different kinds of strain on the kidneys that would otherwise not be possible to test in live pregnancies without substantial risk.

Because of the risks associated with human pregnancies, medical researchers often use other mammals like rats for research. Although computational models do not require any live test subjects, the research team still modeled rat pregnancies so they could incorporate more of the existing scientific data into their study.

While computational models of organs like the kidneys are only ever approximations of what may happen in a specific individual case, they are a safe, cost-effective, and timely way to conduct trials, not just of the various impacts pregnancy may have on the kidneys, but also of potential treatments and medications.

The new research will also help medical practitioners better understand the physiology of the kidneys during pregnancy and develop appropriate patient care and treatments to improve health outcomes.

Source: Medindia

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