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Despite Advances, Many Preemies Still Face Severe Disabilities


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More babies born premature are surviving, but they are just as likely to experience serious disabilities, researchers say.

In two new studies comparing the experiences of children born premature in 1995 versus 2006, British researchers found that medical advances led to a 13 percent increase in the survival rate for babies in their first week after birth.

What’s more, when the kids were assessed around age 3, those born in 2006 were 11 percent more likely to have no disability at all.

However, the chance that children born premature in either year had developed some type of severe disability was virtually no different, according to the studies published this month in the British Medical Journal.

“This research shows that while we still have some way to go in improving the outlook for extremely premature babies, we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said Kate Costeloe of Queen Mary, University of London who worked on the research. “The similarities between two sets of children born 11 years apart also indicate that continuing to follow the older children as they grow will give us important information about the outlook for premature babies born today and in the future.”

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Comments (2 Responses)

  1. Patty Sprofers says:

    I consider myself very fortunate. I was born in 1946 – 3 months premature. With the help and support of family, friends, physicians and colleague; coupled with faith and prayers, in spite of my disability (CP), I am living a full and happy life. From 1971 – 2006, I worked full-time as an administrative assistant for UCP/NYC . I retired in 2006 and continue to work for the Agency from my home. I am grateful for so much each and every day.

  2. Sharon says:

    Despite advances in medical outcomes, we still need to be educating medical and educational professionals that prematurity is a top 10 risk factor for DD. My youngest son was delayed in receiving his diagnoses due to an erroneous belief that he was “just a bit behind” due to being born premature. If anything, the fact that he WAS born premature should have aided me in getting a proper evaluations rather than be used as an excuse to “wait and see.” Believe me, I am forever grateful for the the medical care and miraculous medical advances that allowed him to survive. The care he received as a VPT, VLBW baby was far superior to what my parents received with me (also a preemie).

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