Premature birth care improves, but still risky

Two of the tiniest babies ever born have grown to become a healthy first-grader and an honors college student Though most babies born small do poorly, a medical report released online Monday in show two successful exceptions to the rule reports Madeline Mann, born in 1989 weighing 99 ouncesᅠ and seven year-old Rumaisa Rahman, weighing 92 ounces, thrived against the odds “These are such extreme cases,” said Dr Jonathan Muraskas of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, Ill They should not be considered “a benchmark” to mean that doctors should try to save all babies born prematurely or at an extremely low birthweight The cases of Mann and Rahman bring up the question of the real age of viability According to , improvements since the 1980s in care for premature babies and very low birthweight infants have meant that more survive past birth Eight to 10 percent of all babies in the US who are born prematurely are at a higher risk death as well as problems including brain damage, blindness and hearing loss, cerebral palsy and developmental delays As both preemies and low-birthweight babies grow up, they face greater risks of diabetes, hypertension and heart disease “We tend to think that prematurity is a problem that the minute you walk out of the nursery it’s over,” said Phyllis Dennery, chief of neonatology and newborn services at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia “That’s the furthest thing from the truth More and more studies are coming out that there are long-term consequences of prematurity If you look at lung growth, brain growth, these are all altered by the fact that you are born too early Prematurity is with you for the rest of your life”