Using the same computer technology that companies employ to detect credit card fraud, researchers at Stanford University are hoping to identify patterns that may help explain a persistent public health problem in the United States: elevated rates of preterm birth.
Recent data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest a small decline in preterm birth in the United States over the past 5 years (http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_05.pdf). Yet preterm birth rates in the United States remain about 30% higher now than in the early 1980s, according to the March of Dimes, and research hasn't made much headway in understanding what has caused this trend and how to reverse it.
Kuehn BM. Center Takes Broader Look at Preterm Birth. JAMA. 2012;308(23):2448. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.90690