MSAFP is a screening test that examines the level of alpha-fetoprotein in the mother’s blood during pregnancy. It is often part of the triple screen test that assesses whether further diagnostic testing may be needed.
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More recently, protein quality has been found to have an impact on broader issues such as reducing stunting and the successful development of human capital as marked by improved school performance associated to linear growth.
A landmark early life intervention study from Guatemala, comparing an energy supplement alone or a balanced protein and energy food provided during the first 2-3 years of life, has shown that the group that received the protein supplement did better in terms of their height as well as in their learning and earning capacity as adults (Hoddinott et al, Lancet 2008).
Blood is drawn from veins in the mother’s arm and sent off to a laboratory for analysis.