A recent study funded by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) showed that treating low blood glucose - more commonly known as hypoglycemia - in newborns according to the recommendations already in place has proven to be safe and to apparently prevent brain damage.
The study indicated infants treated for hypoglycemia using current therapies were no more apt to suffer neurological problems before the age of 2 than were infants of the same age who did not require any treatment.
“These findings are extremely reassuring,” NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's
Pregnancy and Perinatology Research Branch Chief
Tonse Raju said. “There is now firm evidence that physicians can provide an essential treatment to prevent brain damage without concern that there might be any unforeseen increase in risk to the newborn.”
The study's findings were published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was led by University of Auckland, New Zealand, Liggins Institute Professor Jane Harding and colleagues at institutions in New Zealand and Canada.
The study's authors said 15 percent of newborns may be afflicted with hypoglycemia. A total of 404 newborns at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand, were used as test subjects; all were born at risk of hypoglycemia. The children were tested at 2 years of age to measure their developmental progress, cognitive and language skills, vision, hearing, physical coordination and executive.
Many of the children - some of who had required treatment and some of whom had not - had temporary bouts of hypoglycemia that were not apparent from the blood samples taken by hospital personnel. Researchers found the children who developed high blood glucose levels later were more apt to experience neurosensory impairment at age 2 than were other infants in the study.
"It may be that it’s not only important to keep blood glucose levels from dropping too low, but also to keep them from swinging too high, too fast,” Harding said.
Additional studies will be necessary to confirm the potential links between high or fluctuating glucose levels and neurosensory impairment.
For more information, visit www.nichd.nih.gov.
Findings reinforce current treatment guidelines for hypoglycemia
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