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The World in Medicine
April 20, 2005

Baby Oil

JAMA. 2005;293(15):1848. doi:10.1001/jama.293.15.1848-b

Massaging low-birth-weight infants with sunflower seed oil is a simple and low-cost way to protect them against infection, according to a new study published online on March 3 in the Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com).

Preterm infants are at high risk of life-threatening infection, in part because their skin lacks a protective biofilm called vernix. To assess whether massaging an infant’s skin with sunflower seed oil could provide an infection-reducing barrier, researchers from the United States and Bangladesh randomly assigned 497 premature infants to receive massage with the oil, massage with an ointment called Aquaphor (containing petrolatum, mineral oil, mineral wax, and lanolin), or no intervention.

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