Common Treatment to Delay Labor Decreases Preterm Infants' Risk for Cerebral Palsy
Preterm infants born to mothers receiving
intravenous magnesium sulfate — a common treatment to delay labor
— are less likely to develop cerebral palsy than preterm infants
whose mothers do not receive it.
Balintfy: Preterm infants born to mothers receiving intravenous magnesium sulfate — a common treatment to delay labor — are less likely to develop cerebral palsy than preterm infants whose mothers do not receive it.
Spong: Cerebral palsy is a devastating condition that affects most commonly infants who are born pre-term and, to date, we don't have any treatments for that.
Balintfy: Dr. Cathy Spong is the Chief of the Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Spong: Our goal is always to optimize pregnancy outcome and to try to improve the outcome for the children. When you're looking at infants who are born pre-term, we know that there are lots of things that can go wrong and one of the things is cerebral palsy, which is so common in these infants. And anything we can do to try to prevent that would be beneficial.
Balintfy: Researchers theorized that magnesium sulfate protects against cerebral palsy because it can stabilize blood vessels, protect against damage from oxygen depletion, and protect against injury from swelling and inflammation. Dr. Deborah Hirtz, a pediatric neurologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says, a recent study is the largest, most comprehensive effort to date that looked at using this inexpensive and commonly used treatment to reduce the occurrence of cerebral palsy after preterm birth.
Hirtz: This study shows that if women who are about to deliver pre-term, more than two months early, are given this treatment of intravenous magnesium sulfate, that the risk of cerebral palsy in the babies that are born early can be decreased.Balintfy: The study was undertaken by the Fetal-Maternal Medicine-Unit-Network, with substantial support from two NIH institutes: NICHD and NINDS. The study results appear in the August 28, 2008 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. For more information on the study, visit www.nih.gov. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.