State of the Art ReviewPreterm Birth

Prevention of preterm birth: Harnessing science to address the global epidemic

Science Translational Medicine  12 Nov 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 262, pp. 262sr5
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009871

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Abstract

Preterm birth is a leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality worldwide, but current interventions to prevent prematurity are largely ineffective. Preterm birth is increasingly recognized as an outcome that can result from a variety of pathological processes. Despite current research efforts, the mechanisms underlying these processes remain poorly understood and are influenced by a range of biological and environmental factors. Research with modern techniques is needed to understand the mechanisms responsible for preterm labor and birth and identify targets for diagnostic and therapeutic solutions. This review evaluates the state of reproductive science relevant to understanding the causes of preterm birth, identifies potential targets for prevention, and outlines challenges and opportunities for translating research findings into effective interventions.

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