Doctors said Wednesday that a DNA test of a pregnant woman's blood is more accurate than current ways of screening for Down syndrome and other common disorders.
If other studies bear this out, it could transform prenatal care by giving a more reliable, non-invasive way to detect these problems very early in pregnancy and reduce the need for more invasive, follow-up tests.
The DNA tests are used now for women at high risk of having a fetus with a chromosome problem, usually because the moms are older.
The new study was the first to test them in a general U.S. population. The DNA tests gave far fewer false alarms than the blood tests and ultrasounds used now.
The study was published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.
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