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