DR. SIMPSON is Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Human and Molecular Genetics, Florida International University College of Medicine, Miami, FL. He is Past President of the Society for Gynecologic Investigation and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and a member of the Contemporary OB/GYN Editorial Board. Author of more than 600 articles and chapters and 15 books, Dr. Simpson?s research interests include prenatal genetic diagnosis, genetics of the disorders of sexual differentiation, and genetics of endometriosis.
Instead of invasive procedures such as chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis, definitive, noninvasive testing for fetal chromosomal abnormalities has long been the "holy grail" in obstetrics. It now appears practical to achieve prenatal genetic diagnosis using cell-free fetal dna in maternal blood.
Adequate maternal folate levels are necessary for prevening neural tube defects; however, an insufficent number of woman in the United States avail themselves of folc acid supplementation during their childbearing years, and diet rarely supplies sufficient folate despite the recent fortification of many grains with folic acid.
Array-based comparative genomic hybridization detects significantly more and smaller abnormalities than standard chromosome analysis. Already in limited use, the test may well replace karyotyping for prenatal diagnosis of genetic disorders.
More than 8,000 registrants gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, November 5 to 10, 2006, for the XVIII FIGO World Congress of Gynecology and Obstetrics. With its 110 national member societies, FIGO provides a forum for scientific advances and also has instituted many initiatives to improve women's health worldwide. All of the organization's efforts were on display at the triennial meeting.