Premature Babies Get Changes in Brain Structure before Their Birth
New research shows that premature babies develop changes in their brains even before they are born. The research was done by Yale School of Medicine researchers and their colleagues at the National Institutes of Health, NIH and Wayne State University.
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Authors found that 10 to 11 percent of American babies have premature birth. The new study shows that early birth also affects development of brain in the womb. This impact on brain can cause neuro developmental disorders, like autism, cerebral palsay, and attention deficit hyperactivity.
The team that did research included Yale School of Medicine researchers , Laura Ment, M.D, Dustin Scheinost, and R. Todd Constable, and they all collaborated with principal investigator Moriah Thomason of Wayne State University, and Roberto Romero, M.D., who is also chief of the Perinatology Research Branch and Program Director for Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine of NICHD/NIH.
The team used a tool for this study named “fetal resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging”. The team selected 32 fetuses having normal brain anatomy to measure brain connectivity. Out of 32, 14 were between 24 and 35 weeks old.
Assistant professor in the Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Yale School of Medicine analyzed the fetuses at Wayne State and Scheinost, using the tool and detected the difference between different neural networks of the patients.
The research team observed that the neural connectivity level was poor in preterm fetuses. Research areas were located in brain hemisphere. This was amazing to find that brain changes developed many weeks before the birth. The studied infants had brain changes in language areas which were also present in the fetus.
The team’s next step will be to find the causes of prematurity, like inflammation, infection, and how they influence the brain in utero, said Ment, professor of pediatrics and neurology at Yale School of Medicine.
The research published in the journal Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group Journal.