A meta-analysis study that looked at a range of previous reports has shown that the most premature babies have a greater risk of severe and moderate to severe neurodevelopment problems in later life.
Gregory Moore MD and his colleague at the Ottawa Hospital, Canada, wanted to discover if there was a connection between premature births and neurodevelopmental problems and looked at prematurely born children who were followed up between the ages of four and eight.
The team of researchers collected studies that were written in English and involved babies born between 22 and 25 weeks. They found:
All premature babies had a significantly higher risk of developing a moderate to severe impairment •
The youngest at 22 weeks carried the highest risk with a 31 per cent chance of severe risk and 43 per cent chance of moderate to severe impairment.•
Severe impairments could include blindness, deafness and inability to move unaided and extremely low IQ. Moderate to severe impairments are less serious forms of the severe problems such as partial deafness or blindness or the need for support such as leg braces in order to move about.
The authors concluded that these results “should facilitate discussion during the shared decision-making process about care plans for these infants, particularly in centres without their own data”.
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