Scientists are hopeful that new computer technology will lead the way to preventing birth defects. We already know that ultrasound can identify problems in the unborn like a cleft lip or a missing arm or leg. New animal studies are taking that technology even further. According to the March of Dimes, researchers are using what's called microscopic x-ray computed tomography, or micro-CT for short, to allow them see images in 3-d and as tiny as one tenth the width of a human hair.
University of Texas Researcher Suresh Prajapati says, "By studying those birth defects in animals, you can very-well clearly study them in humans, or you can correlate them with the human birth defects". Dr. Charles Keller, M.D. adds, "And we don't have to slice and dice. We can look at the intact object and discover things that we never knew before".
Dr. Keller and his colleagues say they are receiving better understandings of the source of birth defects, so that ultimately, being able to completely reverse the defect before the baby is born.