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Medical News & Perspectives
January 7, 2009

Safer Therapies for Newborns Probed

JAMA. 2009;301(1):25. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.895

Washington, DC–Advances in the care of neonates has greatly increased the likelihood that an infant who is born prematurely or who experiences an injury during birth will survive. However, an emerging body of evidence indicates that such lifesaving therapies may come at a price because they may contribute to neurological problems later in development.

But as scientists begin to understand the mechanisms underlying the dangers these therapies pose to the vulnerable newborn brain, they are developing promising strategies for mitigating such effects. Studies probing the neurotoxic effects of corticosteroids used to speed lung development and a strategy for mitigating potential neurological damage in neonates who undergo anesthesia were highlighted recently at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in November.

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