Brain scan of premature infants could predict disability and improve outcomes, study finds
Every year, nearly 4,500 babies in Canada and three million worldwide are born very preterm at 24 to 32 weeks of gestation. These babies are at significantly higher risk of motor, cognitive and language challenges across their lifespan.
New research led by The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) may help doctors better predict whether a preterm baby will have disabilities later on by scanning the infant’s brain after birth.
The team studied preterm newborns admitted to the Neonatal ICU at British Columbia’s Women’s Hospital over seven years. The findings could improve early identification of preterm babies at risk of development challenges, reassure families when outcomes are expected to be optimal and allow for effective and timely interventions.
“Ultimately, our goal is that through research we will improve the care and treatment for these babies and support their development,” says Dr. Steven Miller, principal investigator of the study and Head of Neurology and Senior Scientist at SickKids.