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Lindsay Cahill, PhD

Lindsay Cahill, PhD

Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Understanding the Effects of Treatment to Prevent Brain Injury in Premature Babies

One of the most common pregnancy complications is giving birth too early.

In Canada, 8% of babies are born premature and while survival rates have improved dramatically, the risk of severe disability from brain injury remains high.  When a mother is at risk of premature birth, she is usually given a magnesium sulphate treatment to protect the baby’s brain.

There is conflicting evidence about the efficacy of this treatment and how it works.  One possible explanation is that only a subset of premature babies benefit from treatment. We will:

  • Look at how magnesium sulphate works by using experimental mice that mimic different causes of premature birth
  • Make use of magnetic resonance to study how chemicals in the brain change with treatment, and
  • Look at whether the gender of the baby and/or the cause of the early birth should be considered, when making decisions about treatment

Professor Cahill is the recipient of a Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award 2020.