Saturday, September 16, 2006

Poison gas may prevent pregnancy problem

Research suggests carbon monoxide could treat pre-eclampsia

NEW YORK - Scientists report that carbon monoxide, a potentially poisonous gas found in cigarette smoke and automobile emissions, prevents the death of placental cells and might become the basis of a treatment for pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy condition involving high blood pressure thought to stem from problems with the placenta.

Still, the researchers note that carbon monoxide as a treatment for pre-eclampsia is many years away, because they must determine what levels of the chemical are safe for the developing baby and figure out the best way to deliver it to the mother.

Smokers, who inhale relatively high levels of carbon monoxide, have a lower-than-average risk of pre-eclampsia, note Dr. Graeme M. Smith and associates at Queens University Hospital in Kingston, Ontario.

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