Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain chemical ratios help predict developmental delays in preterm infants

Date:
December 17, 2013
Source:
Radiological Society of North America
Summary:
Researchers have identified a potential biomarker for predicting whether a premature infant is at high risk for motor development problems, according to a new study.

Researchers have identified a potential biomarker for predicting whether a premature infant is at high risk for motor development problems, according to a study published online in the journal Radiology.

"We are living in an era in which survival of premature birth is more common," said Giles S. Kendall, Ph.D., consultant for the neonatal intensive care unit at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and honorary senior lecturer of neonatal neuroimaging and neuroprotection at the University College London. "However, these infants continue to be at risk for neurodevelopmental problems."

Patients in the study included 43 infants (24 male) born at less than 32 weeks gestation and admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at the University College of London between 2007 and 2010. Dr. Kendall and his research team performed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MR spectroscopy (MRS) exams on the infants at their approximate expected due dates (or term-equivalent age). MRS measures chemical levels in the brain.

The imaging studies were focused on the white matter of the brain, which is composed of nerve fibers that connect the functional centers of the brain.

"The white matter is especially fragile in the newborn and at risk for injury," Dr. Kendall explained.

One year later, 40 of the 43 infants were evaluated using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, which assess fine motor, gross motor and communication abilities. Of the 40 infants evaluated, 15 (38 percent) had abnormal composite motor scores and four (10 percent) showed cognitive impairment.

Statistical analysis of the MRS results and Bayley Scales scores revealed that the presence of two chemical ratios -- increased choline/creatine (Cho/Cr) and decreased N-acetylaspartate/choline (NAA/Cho) -- at birth were significantly correlated with developmental delays one year later.

"Low N-acetylaspartate/choline and rising choline/creatine observed during MRS at the baby's expected due date predicted with 70 percent certainty which babies were at high risk for motor development problems at one year," Dr. Kendall said.

Dr. Kendall said a tool to predict the likelihood of a premature baby having neurodevelopmental problems would be useful in determining which infants should receive intensive interventions and in testing the effectiveness of those therapies.

"Physiotherapy interventions are available but are very expensive, and the vast majority of premature babies don't need them," Dr. Kendall said. "Our hope is to find a robust biomarker that we can use as an outcome measure so that we don't have to wait five or six years to see if an intervention has worked."

Dr. Kendall said severe disability associated with premature births has decreased over the past two decades as a result of improved care techniques in the NICU. However, many premature infants today have subtle abnormalities that are difficult to detect with conventional MRI.

"There's a general shift away from simply ensuring the survival of these infants to how to give them the best quality of life," he said. "Our research is part of an effort to improve the outcomes for prematurely born infants and to identify earlier which babies are at greater risk."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Radiological Society of North America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Giles S. Kendall, Andrew Melbourne, Samantha Johnson, David Price, Alan Bainbridge, Roxanna Gunny, Angela Huertas-Ceballos, Ernest B. Cady, Sebastian Ourselin, Neil Marlow, Nicola J. Robertson. White Matter NAA/Cho and Cho/Cr Ratios at MR Spectroscopy Are Predictive of Motor Outcome in Preterm Infants. Radiology, December 2013

Cite This Page:

Radiological Society of North America. "Brain chemical ratios help predict developmental delays in preterm infants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085317.htm>.
Radiological Society of North America. (2013, December 17). Brain chemical ratios help predict developmental delays in preterm infants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085317.htm
Radiological Society of North America. "Brain chemical ratios help predict developmental delays in preterm infants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131217085317.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

CDC Calls for New Ebola Safety Guidelines

AP (Oct. 20, 2014) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden laid out new guidelines for health care workers when dealing with the deadly Ebola virus including new precautions when taking off personal protective equipment. (Oct. 20) 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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