Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Multiple Corticosteroid Injections In Pregnant Women May Increase Cerebral Palsy

Date:
September 23, 2007
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
In pregnant women at high risk for preterm birth, a single injection of corticosteroids has been shown to reduce the baby's chances of having serious lung problems after birth. A new study shows that repeat courses of corticosteroids are linked to an increased rate of cerebral palsy among children of these mothers.

When pregnant women are at high risk for preterm birth, giving them a single injection of corticosteroids has been shown to reduce the baby's chances of having serious lung problems after birth.

But some women receive multiple injections of corticosteroids, and a new study shows that repeat courses of corticosteroids are linked to an increased rate of cerebral palsy among children of these mothers.

"Our study shows that you get almost all of the benefit from a single round of therapy and that multiple rounds raise the risk of cerebral palsy, which is a severely disabling condition," said John M. Thorp, M.D., a study co-author and McAllister distinguished professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

"That's why we concluded that exposure to repeat courses should be limited," Thorp said.

The study results are published in the Sept. 20, 2007, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The lead author is Ronald J. Wapner, M.D., of Drexel University in Philadelphia. The study was conducted for the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which provided grant funding. Research took place at 14 sites across the United States, including UNC-Chapel Hill.

The researchers followed women between 23 weeks and 32 weeks pregnant who remained pregnant after an initial dose of corticosteroids. They were randomly assigned to receive weekly courses of the corticosteriod betamethasone or placebo injections.

Children born to women enrolled in the study were given physical and neurological examinations at ages 2 to 3 years old. A total of 556 children were examined. Of these, 486 (87.4 percent) had physical exams and 465 (83.6 percent) were evaluated for brain function using a measurement tool called the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.

The researchers found that there were no meaningful differences in weight, head circumference or Bayley scores between children whose mothers received a single dose of corticosteroids. However, six children in the group whose mothers received multiple injections had cerebral palsy, compared to only one child in the placebo group.

"Although not statistically significant, the rate of cerebral palsy in infants exposed to multiple courses is of concern and suggests that exposure to repeat courses of antenatal corticosteroids should be limited," the researchers concluded.

The Sept. 20 issue also includes a separate study that examined the same question and an editorial that discusses both studies. The editorial was written by Alan D. Stiles, M.D., Brewer distinguished professor and chairman of pediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine.

The other study reached similar results, with one key difference: the researchers found smaller head sizes among the infants exposed to repeat courses of corticosteroids. But the study authors reached a different conclusion from Thorp and his co-authors, in favor of using repeat courses.

In the editorial, Stiles noted that both studies found that repeat courses produced better results than single courses in terms of reducing lung problems in the infants. However, both studies also found lower birth weights in the infants exposed to repeat courses.

"More information is needed before it is clear which strategy is optimal," Stiles wrote. "Further study is warranted of school-age neurodevelopmental performance, including the possible increased risk of cerebral palsy among these children, as well as among offspring of women in other trials of weekly corticosteroid therapy, with attention to the doses used."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Multiple Corticosteroid Injections In Pregnant Women May Increase Cerebral Palsy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070921071646.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2007, September 23). Multiple Corticosteroid Injections In Pregnant Women May Increase Cerebral Palsy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070921071646.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Multiple Corticosteroid Injections In Pregnant Women May Increase Cerebral Palsy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070921071646.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

Obama Orders Military Response to Ebola

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Calling the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a potential threat to global security, President Barack Obama is ordering 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region amid worries that the outbreak is spiraling out of control. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

UN: 20,000 Could Be Infected With Ebola by Year End

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Nearly $1.0 billion dollars is needed to fight the Ebola outbreak raging in west Africa, the United Nations say, warning that 20,000 could be infected by year end. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

Obama: Ebola Outbreak Threat to Global Security

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is ordering U.S. military personnel to West Africa to deal with the Ebola outbreak, which is he calls a potential threat to global security. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins