PLASMA PROTEINS IN TOXEMIAS OF PREGNANCY (A Journal Article Review) Name of Student (author) PSY 256 Name of University (affiliation) Introduction This paper is an article review of a research study conducted by Mack et al…
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Results of their study entitled as “Plasma Proteins in Toxemias of Pregnancy” was first published in the prestigious peer-reviewed The Journal of Clinical Investigation on April 2, 1951. Based on their results, it is not very clear yet whether protein deficiency is the real cause of toxemia or if there are still other unidentified and elusive “toxic factors” such as higher tissue requirements for the proteins during pregnancy or interference with the absorption and uptake of protein intake. Their hypothesis was to determine the possible or probable factors of toxemia, and its manifestations in pregnant women, by studying the blood proteins of normal pregnant women and those of pregnant women who suffered mild eclampsia, severe pre-eclampsia, and eclampsia prior to actual delivery. The difficulty in the research study was how to separate various factors which could possibly be contributory to toxemia and eclampsia in some pregnant women while others did not suffer the same symptoms and manifestations. The main method utilized for this blood proteins analysis was electrophoresis, which is the process of using an electric field to look at the motion behavior of dispersed particles within a fluid, depending on their electric charge (if positively- or negatively-charged). The researchers chose to conduct their experiment with their expectations of separating the confounding factors associated with toxemia and eclampsia, as the serious ailment of eclampsia has been attributed to a good number of conflicting theories. Discussion The researchers utilized the blood samples of 29 private clinic patients using the newer electrophoresis techniques; all the members of that sampling were selected due to development of toxemia during their last trimester of pregnancy. Patient history, physical examination results, and blood protein samples were analyzed for the purpose of comparing the results with another control group, which are pregnant women who did not develop toxemia or eclampsia, and also with another control group, which are women who were not pregnant (Mack et al., 1951, p. 610). Women who had toxemias during pregnancy were studied up to eight weeks postpartum. The laboratory results obtained indicated the mean concentrations of total proteins in the blood plasma including that of albumin, beta and gamma globulins of the women who developed pre-eclampsia and eclampsia tended to be lower when compared to values in a normal pregnancy (ibid. p. 611) but the other globulin fractions in blood plasma tended to be higher instead. This is contrasted with the mean values of fibrinogen for normal pregnancy in the third trimester, where these values were found to be much higher than the average for non-pregnant women. Both chemical analysis and electrophoresis determination indicated that a rising toxemic level is associated with a decline in the fibrin levels, a leading indicator of eclampsia. However, these results are somewhat confusing, because like in the case of three patients who developed a severe case of pre-eclampsia, their plasma fibrinogen levels were found to be lower compared to women who had normal pregnancies, but still this lowered level is still not significantly lower to mean values. These three exceptional cases led to premature placental separation (or spontaneous abortion) pointing to increased hypo-proteinemia as a possible cause for toxemic pregnancies. In the study, the dependent variable is the level of toxemia in pre-eclampsia and also in
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