Thursday November 22, 2018

Lia, the Pregnancy Test You Can Flush

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed

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In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.
In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy. Wikimedia Commons
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  • Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine
  • Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems
  •  Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market

NEW YORK: Bethany Edwards and her co-workers spend a lot of time with pregnancy tests.

“We all peed on a lot of different things,” Edwards says, laughing. “So that’s been fun and interesting.”

Edwards is the co-founder and CEO of Lia Diagnostics. Together with co-founder Anna Simpson, Edwards and her team have created a new-and-improved pregnancy test called Lia.

Lia works like traditional, over-the-counter pregnancy tests, detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine.

But unlike traditional tests, Lia is made of paper instead of plastic and is 100 percent biodegradable in 12 weeks, its creators say.

Also Read: Father’s stress linked to kids’ brain development

“We’re really bringing together a solution that is better for women but also better for the planet,” Edwards said.

Flushable, biodegradable

Born out of research conducted during their graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Lia’s creators say it’s the first flushable and biodegradable pregnancy test developed. The product recently obtained clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.

The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons
The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test. Wikimedia Commons

Creating a paper test that could hold up long enough to test urine samples but eventually disintegrate after flushing was a major challenge.

“We really had to develop our own coatings, proprietary coatings, to allow the paper and the materials that we’re using to hold up in use but also be able to break down quickly after you’re done,” Edwards said.

“It’s kind of a very counterintuitive sort of thing,” she added. “You want something that has rigidity and structure, but then after you’re done with it, doesn’t, and is able to become flimsy and separate in water.”

Also Read: Surgical Infections More Common in Low-Income Countries, Study Finds

Edwards demonstrated by wetting a Lia prototype under a faucet. In the section that tests urine samples, the water was absorbed, while along the outer edge, a water droplet remained intact.

The test eventually soaked up even more water, becoming pliable enough for its two paper layers to easily separate. Lia’s paper layers are crimped and held together by force, not glue, which helps it dissolve. Users can speed up the breakdown process by tearing the test in half, at notches near the centre.

In addition to being better for the environment, a flushable test has major implications for women’s privacy.

“We know that there’s sometimes fear around getting and obtaining a pregnancy test,” Edwards said. “Those extra efforts or having to ask somebody, the judgment in that is sometimes enough to have somebody not take a pregnancy test as soon as they should.”

“Lots of women tell their stories about hiding pregnancy tests in trash, trash cans, taking them in public restrooms, wrapping them in tinfoil and hiding them in other garbage cans. I mean, some extreme stories,” she added.

Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems.
Lia breaks down like toilet paper and can be flushed in a standard-flow sewer or septic systems. Wikimedia Commons

Privacy concerns

Dr Meera Shah, a physician based in New York and a fellow at Physicians for Reproductive Health, spoke of teenage patients whose privacy was compromised when their parents discovered pregnancy tests in the trash. The safety of domestic violence victims can also be potentially threatened by the discovery of a disposed of the test.

“I’ve had patients tell me that their partners found their pregnancy test in the trash can, and that put them at risk for further abuse at home,” Shah said.

Also Read: Study: Partial Dose of Yellow Fever Vaccine Provides Protection

“I think that a discreet pregnancy test can empower women and empower people to be able to take a test without worrying about outside interference,” she said. “That has the potential to further engage them with the reproductive health care that they need after that.”

Cost factor

“Often times I hear that pregnancy tests can be expensive,” Shah said. “I tend to work with lower-income patients, patients who have poorer access to reproductive health care services, and so I think the cost can be a barrier.”

Lia will be available in the third quarter of 2018 and sell for between $7 and $8, comparable to pregnancy tests currently on the market. (VOA)

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Managing Weight During Pregnancy May Affect Child’s Bone Health

The team analysed prospective data from 2,167 mother-child pairs

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Pregnancy, autism
Weight management in pregnancy may affect child's bone health. Pixabay

There is no benefit for children’s bone mass if women gain weight during pregnancy, says a new study.

And this applies to both normal and overweight women prior to pregnancy, says Teresa Monjardino, lead author from the Universidade do Porto in Portugal.

Weight management strategies during pregnancy reduce child cardiometabolic risk such as diabetes and heart disease.

However, because maternal weight has an overall positive correlation with a child’s bone mass, pregnancy weight management could adversely affect child bone health, said the researchers.

The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, showed that in under and normal weight mothers, weight gain during pregnancy was associated with slightly increased bone mass at 7 years of age in children.

Pregnancy, air pollution
Weight management strategies during pregnancy reduce child cardiometabolic risk such as diabetes and heart disease. Pixabay

On the other hand, in the case of overweight or obese mothers, no beneficial effect of weight gain on bone mass was observed.

“Until recently, it was a widely held scientific belief that any weight gain from the mother during pregnancy would have a beneficial effect on children’s bone mass,” said Monjardino.

Also Read- Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

“Our study results corroborate that there is no benefit in gaining weight above the US Institute of Medicine recommendations for pregnancy weight gain for children’s bone mass, in both normal and overweight women prior to pregnancy,” added Monjardino.

The team analysed prospective data from 2,167 mother-child pairs. (IANS)