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September 12, 1977

Medical News

JAMA. 1977;238(11):1119-1127. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280120011001

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Recent findings aid in judging risk of damage from high bilirubin levels  More accurate assessment of the risk of encephalopathy in infants with hyperbilirubinemia is now possible, according to Gerard Odell, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.Speaking at the meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry in Chicago, Dr Odell reviewed recent research showing that brain damage is related to three factors: degree of saturation of albumin with bilirubin, amount of nonesterified fatty acid in the blood, and length of exposure to high serum levels of bilirubin. He also referred to an automated assay that may be available soon and may provide accurate, routine estimations not only of the concentration of bilirubin but also of whether that concentration poses a risk of brain damage.Immediate, severe brain damage or, later, more subtle cognitive dysfunction may appear in infants with serum unconjugated bilirubin