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New test detects fetus abormalities

A new noninvasive blood test for pregnant women could make it easier to catch abnormalities before a child is born.

Human cells should have two copies of each chromosome, but sometimes the division is uneven. Existing tests count the fragments of placental DNA in the mother’s blood. If the fragments from one chromosome are unusually abundant, it might be because the fetus has an extra copy of that chromosome.

But triploidy, where there are three copies of every chromosome, is missed, since the proportion of fragments from each chromosome is the same.

California-based company Natera uses an algorithm to calculate the most likely genotype for the fetus. To do this it looks at single letter variations called SNPs in the parents and compares this to a database of the most common SNPs patterns in the population. This genotype is then compared with placental DNA.

EKG? There’s an app for that

People with heart disease will soon be able to provide vital information about their heart rhythm to their health care provider without making a visit to the doctor’s office.

In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a mobile electrocardiogram (EKG) device that attaches to the back of an iPhone 4 or 5. To record an EKG, the user simply presses the fingers of both hands onto the electrode pads.

The information is analyzed by an app, then transmitted digitally for storage on the company’s website, where it can be accessed by a doctor.

Funds raised for area YMCAs

YMCA staff and volunteers from the Niagara Falls Family YMCA danced the night away recently at their victory dinner for the 2013 Strong Kids Campaign.

The Niagara Falls Y was able to raise $49,426, 3 percent more than its campaign goal, for YMCA financial assistance.

YMCA Buffalo Niagara, comprised of seven branches, YMCA Camp Weona and the YMCA Association Office, kicked off the eight-week campaign in January, and raised $658,113.

Last year, the YMCA Buffalo Niagara raised more than $576,000 and gave out over $873,000 in financial assistance thanks to the Strong Kids Campaign.

One in every four campers and one in every four school-age childcare participants, along with many families and adults, are able to benefit from YMCA programs and services thanks to the campaign.

– News staff and wire services