Can Brain Mapping Help Prevent Childhood Disabilities Among Prematurely Born Babies?

By Henry Tyler, Parent Herald January 20, 07:02 pm

It is well-known fact that premature babies can be vulnerable and prone to childhood disabilities. Fortunately, a new study suggests that brain mapping can help prevent many disabilities in prematurely born babies.

A baby is said to be prematurely born if birth occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, which is roughly three weeks before the normal time. Prediction and prevention of the adverse consequences of early brain injury can be achieved by brain mapping, according to the researchers at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada.

Premature birth very often leads to the death of the baby, affecting around 1 percent of the infants in the United States, Medical News noted. Not only that, but about 33 percent of all the deaths of infants are due to the premature delivery of these babies.

This is because different parts of the body and brain of a baby develop at different times of the gestation period and birth before the due time can lead to the non-development of various vital organs in the infant's body. This makes the baby prone to several kinds of disabilities.

Even though not all prematurely born babies immediately die, those who luckily survive develop complications and medical disorders. Breathing problems, issues in feeding, diseases related to hearing and visual impairment are all common disabilities found in prematurely born babies. Above all, such infants suffer from a great likelihood of brain injuries, especially due to an inadequate amount of oxygen supplied to the brain that affects the white matter.

The white area of the brain is very important for communication and signal transmission, both of which are negatively affected in preemies. Various changes in the white matter hint towards different potential diseases. By MRI-scanning and mapping for lesions, the possibilities for such babies to develop disabilities can be predicted, as per Neuroscience.

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