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Caffeine Therapy May Help Protect Lungs Of Premature Babies

Caffeine therapy helps to protect the lungs of premature infants from damage. An ongoing study, which is being led by McMaster University researchers have reported// an early finding in a trial being undertaken to assess the safety of caffeine therapy for the treatment of apnoea of prematurity.

Apnoea of prematurity is very common in preterm infants, because the lungs are underdeveloped and the central nervous system, which automatically directs the body to breathe, is still immature and often not functioning properly. Though still not exactly known exactly how caffeine therapy helps these tiny babies breathe better, but its major benefits are believed to come from its stimulant effect on the respiratory system.

According to an article that appears in the May 18 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, state those infants who are being treated with caffeine therapy for apnoea needed less artificial assistance with breathing and had a lower incidence of abnormal lung development than infants who were given a placebo. Caffeine and similar drugs have been administered intravenously to regulate the breathing of preterm babies who suffer from apnoea for more than 25 years, the researchers pointed out.

Dr. Barbara Schmidt, a professor of paediatrics, clinical epidemiology and bio statistics at McMaster University Medical Center, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada the studies lead author explained that in this study they tested a treatment that has been in use for quite some time. Though studies on this had been conducted in the past, it was heir aim to rigorously examine the long-term safety of this treatment and the long-term effects, she said.

The researchers found that 36 percent of the 963 premature babies who received caffeine during the first 10 days of life were also given supplemental oxygen. They said that babies who received a placebo instead of the caffeine generally needed the extra oxygen. They found in their stu
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