Stories about: premature babies

Babies born extremely premature are surviving. How do they do in the long run?

The NICU at Boston Children's Hospital in 1976

Thirty years ago, no one would have expected babies born extremely prematurely—between 23 and 25 weeks’ gestation, considered the edge of viability—to survive long enough to worry about what the future might hold for them as third graders.

But times change. Treatments like surfactants and prenatal steroids, along with improvements in ventilators and nutrition, have often enabled children born in that “gray zone” to survive.

Thus, doctors and parents now can start to ask questions about the long-term development of extremely premature babies. How will he do—physically, cognitively, intellectually—in the long run? What impairments might she face, and how severe will they be?

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Preemies' pain threshold lower than previously thought

Baby in NICUMore than four million babies are born in the United States every year. Of those, 13 percent will be born prematurely. For these infants, their time spent in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is critical to the future of their well-being.

A recent study finds that routine tests performed on infants in the NICU can increase their pain response. It was once believed that newborns don’t feel pain from routine tests. However, some infants undergo many of these routine tests daily and this study shows that “repeated exposure to pain and stress early in life may have lasting effects, including increased pain sensitivity later in life,” according to Reuters.

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Health headlines: Deafness, IVF and the new flu vaccine

yawning boyOther stories we’ve been reading:

New York’s soda tax could bring in $222 million. [Read Children’s obesity expert’s take on artificially sweetened beverages.] Chronic health conditions are increasing in children. If your child’s grandparents are babysitting regularly, it’s more likely your kid will be overweight. Bone-anchored hearing aids help kids with single-side deafness.

The best way to keep your kids vaccinations up-to-date is to keep a shot card. [Read about the updated immunization schedule.] Rapid flu tests are most accurate for young children. The new seasonal flu vaccine will contain an H1N1 strain.

Teens might exercise more if they think it’s fun. Video games aren’t the cause for your teen’s headaches. Tired teens are more prone to car crashes. A lack of morning light can cause irregular sleep for teens. {Read how late bedtimes affect teens mental health.]

Preemie twins may face lower risks of certain complications versus single preemie babies. Does an adult’s health differ when they’re an IVF baby? Bilingualism may begin in the womb. The average birth weight in the United States in on the decline.

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Health headlines: Food labels, alcoholism & teen obesity surgery

soda pouring into a glassOther stories we’ve been reading:

There’s more bad news for soda – a new study links it to pancreas cancer. [Read what Children’s obesity expert has to say about artificially sweetened beverages.] There are federal efforts to ban junk food from schools. [Read about junk food advertisements on kids’ websites.] The FDA wants nutrition information labels on the front of food packages. Junk food is getting the spot light in many movies.

Children born early in the year are more likely to be athletes. Obese children are more likely to die young. There’s a link between children with a super sweet tooth and alcoholism. Can you really tell if you’re child will be obese by age 2?

Depression during pregnancy could result in an antisocial teen. A pregnant woman can decrease her baby’s risk of schizophrenia later in life by increasing her iron intake. Obese moms put their newborns at risk for a number of health risks. Older women are more likely to give birth to a child who develops autism. Extremely premature babies show a higher risk for autism.

Obesity surgery may be the best solution for overweight teens. Early language problems may hinder adult literacy. There may be a genetic cause for your child’s obstructive sleep apnea. Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased of dying from a heart-related condition. Reading fiction may be the key to teen girls properly managing their weight.

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