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URI nursing study finds effects of premature birth can reach into adulthood
Date:6/15/2011

arch is comparing cortisol levels in the adults who were born pre-term versus those born full-term and is assessing if cortisol levels among adults who were the sickest as premature infants are higher than those less medically and neurologically compromised.

Very low birth weight, repeated blood draws, surgery and breathing issues are among the major factors in stress levels for pre-term infants.

Among the early findings are:

  • Male gender and birth weight affect early adult pulmonary function.

  • The poorest pulmonary outcomes and higher resting blood pressure were for those born at extremely low birth weight.

  • Additional health data for age 23 years has not been analyzed yet, but data from age 17 revealed that physical health, growth, and subtle neurological outcomes were poorer in the preterm groups.

  • Infants with medical and neurological impacts had a 24 to 32 percent increase in acute and chronic health conditions.

  • Continued monitoring of adults born prematurely is warranted, not only during young adulthood but as they reach middle age.

Sullivan said one approach her team will undertake will be Pathobiological Determinants of Atherosclerosis in Youth (PDAY) Risk Score at age 23 because it is strongly associated with coronary artery disease 10 to 15 years later.

"Continued monitoring of preterm survivors will enhance our understanding of the relative impact of prematurity and neonatal intensive care on later adult cardiopulmonary disease," Sullivan said.

"Since the beginning of the study, we have been asking the questions, can babies self-right themselves and do they have a resiliency that helps them overcome the challenges of pre-term birth?" Sullivan said. "Are there protective factors in the environment that mitigate the effects?"

Pre-term birth also affects even those infants not medically and neurologically ill in the following wa
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Contact: Dave Lavallee
dlavallee@advance.uri.edu
401-874-5862
University of Rhode Island
Source:Eurekalert

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