Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infection puts extremely low birth weight infants at risk for developmental delays

17.11.2004


Extremely low birth weight infants--the tiniest category of premature infants--are much more likely to experience developmental impairments if they acquire an infection during the newborn period, according to a study by the Neonatal Research Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health. The developmental impairments were seen regardless of the type of infection--whether it occurred in the brain, blood or intestines.



The study was conducted by Barbara J. Stoll, M.D., of the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and her colleague. Appearing in the November 17 Journal of the American Medical Association, the study reported that 65 percent of a group of extremely low birth weight infants had developed at least one infection during their hospitalizations after birth. These infants were more likely to have an impairment than were infants who had not developed an infection. "This study shows us that successfully treating an extremely low birth weight infant’s infection does not automatically ensure that the infant will do well," said NICHD Director Duane Alexander, M.D. "Parents and health care workers need to monitor these children carefully as they grow, and be ready to provide them with developmental and educational services, if necessary."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 60,326 very low birth weight infants born in 2002, or 1.46 percent of the 4,021,726 total births for that year. Infants are classified as low birth weight if they are born weighing less than 2500 grams (about 5.5 pounds) and very low birth weight if they weigh less than1500 grams (about3.3 pounds). In the current study, the researchers analyzed the records of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants--those weighing less than 1000grams, or 2.2 pounds. Yearly statistics are not compiled on ELBW infants. Study co-author Rosemary Higgins, M.D., of NICHD’s Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, estimated that as many as 50 percent of newborns below 1500 grams may fall into the ELBW category.


The study enrolled infants weighing from 401 to 1000 grams at birth. In all, 6,093 infants were evaluated for this study. The infants were evaluated when they were between 18 and 22 months corrected gestational age--equivalent to the age they would be had they been born at term. The researchers found that the majority of these infants (65 percent) had at least one infection during their stay in the hospital after birth.

According to Dr. Higgins, about 47 percent of the children with infections had some form of delay in development or a physical or mental impairment. These impairments consisted of either cerebral palsy, a visual impairment, a hearing impairment, or were manifested as low scores on tests of infant mental development or motor skills. Dr. Higgins added that although infants with infections were more likely to have such impairments, infants who did not have infections also had a high rate of impairment, at about 29 percent. "This is a high risk, fragile population of infants," she said.

As expected, meningitis--an infection of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord--was associated with neurological impairments. For example, in the group that had meningitis with or without sepsis (an infection of the blood) 38 percent had low scores for mental development, compared to 22 percent of the children who did not have an infection. Children in this group were also more likely to have cerebral palsy (19 percent) than were children who did not have an infection (8 percent).

Moreover, children with infections that did not directly involve the nervous system were also more likely to have an impairment involving the nervous system. Of the infants who had sepsis alone, 37 percent had low mental development scores and 17 percent had cerebral palsy. Of the children without an infection, 22 percent had low mental development scores, and 8 percent had cerebral palsy. Of the infants who had both sepsis and necrotizing enterocolitis (an intestinal infection), 42 percent received low mental development scores, compared to 22 percent who had not had an infection.

Dr. Higgins explained that before the current study, researchers had known that ELBW infants were more likely to experience problems with the brain and nervous system, but did not know the extent of the problems. This study is the first to show how widespread the problems are, and that they appear more often in children who have had an infection.

The study authors called for additional research to determine how infections might injure brain tissue in this group of infants, as well as research to prevent infection and to prevent such nervous system damage from occurring once an infection had occurred.

Robert Bock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>