Despite Advances, Many Preemies Still Face Severe Disabilities
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.
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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.”