June 28, 2018 | A biomagnetic technique developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) can be used to assess the brain and heart health of third-trimester fetuses exposed to opioids, UAMS researchers showed in a recent pilot study.

The study was published online this month in the medical journal Addiction, authored by Diana Escalona-Vargas, Ph.D., research faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Jessica Coker, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, all in the College of Medicine.

The study was conducted by recording and analyzing biomagnetic data from fetuses of eight women exposed to the opioid buprenorphine and 16 non-exposed women. Researchers acquired the data noninvasively by using the SARA (SQUID-Array for Reproductive Assessment) device developed by UAMS researchers.