Help for the Preemie Brain
A few days ago, I heard a news reporter state casually that most babies who are born weighing two pounds survive. I’ve known for a while that babies who are born prematurely have much better chances of survival due to medical advancement, but the statement made me reflect on how far we’ve come. The news story continued about how we continue to move forward in researching the brain, and, specifically, the brain of a baby born prematurely. Since a preemie’s lungs are not fully developed, the result is less oxygen to the brain. Some of the specific brain cells that die as a result of a lack of oxygen are responsible for producing myelin. Myelin is a protective layer around nerve cells and without it problems with motor skills or cerebral palsy can occur. A possible solution to this has been found in mice that were given epidermal growth factor (EGF). Vittorio Gallo, of Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. found that EGF, when given to mice soon after the injury helped the brain repair the cells that create myelin. This research has positive implications for all of those with Multiple Sclerosis as well since it is the result of missing myelin.
This type of science and research offers much promise of hope for the future. Click here to read or listen to the news story.