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news@JAMA
July 9, 2014

From JAMA’s Daily News Site

JAMA. 2014;312(2):119. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8082

Treatment of premature infants with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) such as erythropoietin or darbepoetin in the early weeks of life may have long-term benefits on cognitive outcomes and brain development, according to a new study.

Erythropoietin and darbepoetin, which help stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, are used to treat certain types of chronic anemia. However, early studies suggest that these ESAs may also act on nerve cells in the brain and have positive effects on brain development and cognition. This could be helpful for premature infants, in whom incomplete brain development often results in future complications, such as cerebral palsy or developmental delay.

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