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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog
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Friday, November 18, 2011
Why Brain Injuries Are More Common In Preemies
From Shots, NPR's Health Blog:
Scientists say they are beginning to understand why brain injuries are so common in very premature infants — and they are coming up with strategies to prevent or repair these injuries.The advances could eventually help reduce the number of premature babies who develop cerebral palsy, epilepsy or behavioral disorders such as ADHD, researchers told the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.
Each year more than 60,000 babies are born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. And because of advances in neonatal medicine over the past several decades, most of those babies will survive. But researchers have had less success finding ways to prevent brain damage in these infants.
The most common cause of brain injury in premature infants is a lack of oxygen in the days and weeks after birth, Rowitch says. The lack of oxygen damages white matter, which provides the "communication highways" that carry messages around the brain and to distant parts of the body, he says.
Continue reading.Those stresses often include periods when an infant's immature lungs are not delivering enough oxygen to the brain, even with help from a mechanical breathing device.
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