Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UT Southwestern scientists discover link between infections in mothers and brain injuries in babies

12.11.2002


Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have unraveled a mysterious connection – a potential mechanism that links brain injuries in infants to an infection in the mother’s placenta.



Their findings, published in the October edition of Pediatrics, could eventually lead to diagnostic tests for infants and mothers that could help prevent brain injury.

"The most critical issue in preventing and treating brain injury in infants is figuring out where the damage begins and what triggers it," said Dr. Jeffrey Perlman, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study. "Our study opens a new pathway of understanding, but we still don’t have all the answers."


The study reveals the link between brain injury that occurs during the perinatal period - immediately before and after birth - and an infection in the mother’s placenta, called chorioamnionitis, which causes fever, inflammation, and abnormally high heart rates in the unborn child.

"Our study revealed the cause of brain injury in infants is not as simplistic as initial studies indicated," said Perlman, also professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and anesthesiology and pain management. "These findings bring us a small step closer to understanding how the brain is injured and could eventually lead to new strategies for controlling infection and, more importantly, for preventing brain injury."

Earlier studies have pointed to lack of oxygen as the primary cause for neonatal brain injuries, including cerebral palsy. Brain injury during the perinatal period is one of the most common causes of severe, long-term neurologic deficit in infants and children. Each year, one in 1,000 babies is born with brain injury in the United States - about 4,000 annually.

The UT Southwestern researchers studied 61 full-term infants who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital over a two-year period between July 1999 and December 2001. They examined the babies’ umbilical cord blood for infection and also conducted extensive neurological examinations twice in the first 24 hours of life.

"We discovered a significant correlation between the increased elevation of inflammation in the mother’s placenta and a reduction in neurological function in infants," Perlman said. "This is the first time such a relationship has been established."

By measuring specific inflammation markers in cord blood at birth and then again at 12 to 14 hours of age, researchers discovered infants with higher levels were "floppy," or had poor muscle tone.

"The five infants with the highest level of biomarkers either had a brain dysfunction known as encephalopathy or seizures," said Dr. Octavio Ramilo, study collaborator and associate professor of pediatrics and microbiology.

Brain injuries in newborns usually result in weakness or paralysis, mental retardation and/or seizures. About half of the children suffering from brain injuries must use braces, walkers, or wheelchairs as they get older.

Other UT Southwestern contributors to the study were Dr. Abbot Laptook, professor of pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology; and Dr. Hasan Jafri, assistant professor of pediatrics. Dr. Lina Shalak, the principal author of the study, was a fellow in neonatal intensive care at UT Southwestern at the time of the study and is currently a pediatric resident at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas.

Barbara Bedrick | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University

nachricht 3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>