Babies born prematurely to low-income families have a disproportionately high risk for brain bleeds, according to research done at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
The study looked at 38 patients referred to Johns Hopkins for treatment of brain hemorrhages related to premature birth. Results were published online Sept. 28 in the journal Pediatric Neurosurgery.
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The link between poverty and premature birth has been well-documented, the investigators say, but the new findings go a step further and focus on the consequences of one particularly dire and fairly common complication of prematurity—brain hemorrhages.
"Our study shows just how detrimental and far-reaching the effects of prematurity can be, medically and otherwise, highlighting the critical need to better identify high-risk pregnancies and reduce the number of premature births," says Edward Ahn, M.D., pediatric neurosurgeon and senior author on the research.
"Brain hemorrhages can have a lifelong impact on a child's neurological and cognitive development, but also create a financial burden on the families, many of whom in our study were already economically challenged," Ahn adds.