A study recently released by the Science Medicine Translational journal shows potential future learning difficulties are significantly reduced the longer a premature baby remains in hospital after delivery.
Babies born three or more weeks before the normal full-term date of 40 weeks are considered premature. These babies often experience problems with their learning development as they progress through the first few years of schooling.
Neurology head and child expert Dr Steven Miller explained how extending premature babies' hospital stays may help strengthen their outer brain layers, which is where thought takes place: “The baby’s growth during the intensive care stay is with the way the cerebral cortex is growing. The babies with less rapid growth after birth have less rapid brain development.”
During the study, MRI scans were conducted on 95 premature babies who were born between two weeks and four months early. By comparing head size, body length and body weight to the brain scans, the researchers were able to establish which babies grew faster and had better brain development.
The researchers intend to follow the progress of the premature babies who participated in the study to determine if their incubator findings correlate with the children’s learning development throughout their education.
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