Medical malpractice cases frequently try to link injuries to the white matter of a newborns brain -- a precursor to cerebral palsy and other disorders -- to the babys delivery, though a new Johns Hopkins study demonstrates that such injuries are more closely associated with neonatal infections.
White matter, the tracts of nerve fibers that communicate messages in the brain, is generally injured at so-called "end zones" between the long, penetrating arteries that supply blood to the brain. These zones are susceptible to the type of fall in cerebral blood flow and oxygen that could occur during complications in delivery, as marked by excess acid in the umbilical cord.
The Hopkins team reviewed medical records of 150 premature babies who had white matter injuries and were born between May 1994 and September 2001. They compared each babys delivery to that of the next healthy baby delivered at the same gestational age (23-24 weeks), looking for causes of problems.
Trent Stockton | EurekAlert!
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