(HealthNewsDigest.com) – BEER-SHEVA, Israel, July 29, 2021– Preterm babies have a significantly higher risk for cerebral palsy (CP) and other long-term neurological disorders, according to researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and Soroka University Medical Center (Soroka) in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The study is the first to demonstrate a critical cut-off for this significant complication in delivery before 25 weeks of gestation.
According to the study, published in Journal of Clinical Medicine, researchers identified the critical thresholds for preterm delivery that increase the chances of long-term hospitalizations for CP and other pediatric neurological disorders, including movement, developmental, degenerative, and psychiatric disorders.
CP is the most common cause of severe childhood physical disability and motor impairment. This group of permanent disorders, which forms in a fetus’s or infant’s developing brain, can also affect sensation, perception, cognition, communication, and behavior.
“Extremely premature exposure to the environment outside of the uterus may alter musculoskeletal and nervous system development, and shift the trajectory of motor development for otherwise healthy children,” says Dr. Eyal Sheiner, vice dean for academic promotion at BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and director of the Soroka Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Beer-Sheva.
In the large study, the researchers compared the outcomes of 220,563 deliveries over 23 years. They found that babies born before 25 weeks had a fourfold risk of developing long-term neurological issues and significantly increased CP rates. Each additional week of gestation, up to 37 weeks, appears to decrease the risk of long-term neurological disorders.
“Neurological disorders that stem from premature births are devastating,” says Doug Seserman, chief executive officer, Americans for Ben-Gurion University. “BGU’s extraordinary professors are conducting critical research, determined to improve the health of children and families in the Negev region and worldwide. Americans for Ben-Gurion University is proud to support their noble mission.”
Other researchers that participated in the study include Dr. Gali Pariente and Dr. Shiran Zer of Soroka and BGU FOHS and Dr. Tamar Wainstock of BGU’s School of Public Health. Shayna Miodownik is a student in the BGU Medical School for International Health.
About Americans for Ben-Gurion University
Americans for Ben-Gurion University plays a vital role in maintaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision of an “Oxford in the Negev.” By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.