WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. New research out of Wake Forest University School of Medicine provides for the first time a solid scientific answer for the long-standing question of whether there is an association between preterm birth and brain malformations.
In a study of more than 1,000 preterm infant autopsies, researchers found that there is a strong association between congenital brain defects and preterm birth, leading investigators to believe that something about the brain malformations may be causing preterm birth and providing a possible study path toward a better understanding of the problem.
The study appears in the June issue of Pediatric Research. It is the first to investigate the risk of being born preterm for infants who have a variety of congenital brain defects.
"The most important thing about this study is that to-date, it is still unknown why there are so many preterm births. This study suggests that one way to look for the causes of preterm birth is to look at those types of brain malformations that have very strong association with preterm birth, and see if there is some sort of difference between those babies and full-term babies some sort of soluble factor or an increased amount of something in the preterm babies that is not found in other babies," said William R. Brown, Ph.D., a research associate professor of radiologic sciences and author/investigator for the study.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and the Pratt Family Foundation, Brown's research on brain malformations and preterm birth grew out of a study of bleeds in the brains of babies, where researchers found that a large percentage of the babies being studied had small, unrecognized types of brain malformations that warranted further investigation.
Previous studies have shown that malformations of other parts of the body are associated with preterm birth. However, though there has
|Contact: Jessica Guenzel|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center