News / Health

Caffeine Safely Stimulates Premature Infants

Study confirms value of treatment to stimulate breathing

A new study confirms the effectiveness of caffeine treatment for premature babies with breathing issues and underscores the lack of side effects.
A new study confirms the effectiveness of caffeine treatment for premature babies with breathing issues and underscores the lack of side effects.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

Caffeine is a safe and effective treatment for premature babies with breathing problems, a new study confirms.

Almost all babies who are born very prematurely have trouble breathing. For decades, doctors have treated them with the stimulant caffeine, even though there was little scientific evidence to justify it.

Breathing delivers oxygen to the brain, so when an infant's breathing is disrupted, it can have a critical impact on the child's development.



In an earlier stage of this study, some 2,000 premature babies in nine countries were randomly assigned to get caffeine or a placebo. At 18 months, researchers found numerous advantages for the caffeine group. Those babies had half as many cases of cerebral palsy as well as lower rates of blindness, deafness and delayed mental functioning.

Now, University of Pennsylvania researchers report on an additional three and a half years of follow-up, mainly to look for possible safety issues, which might take time to develop.

Lead researcher Barbara Schmidt says the new study confirms the effectiveness of the caffeine treatment, and underscores its lack of side effects.

"Not only is it safe, it is more effective than any other drugs we give to babies in the nursery when they are very preterm," Schmidt says.

There were some changes in the results between the two groups of children at age 18 months and then at five years, notably that the advantage children treated with caffeine had in mental development seemed to have evaporated.

"There is some residual benefit [to] the quality of the children's motor function - if they had impaired motor function - but there is no longer any effect whatsoever on the rates of cognitive impairment," she says.

Schmidt's research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows rates of cognitive impairment at five years were much lower than at 18 months - what she calls a potential for "remarkable catch-up" in the very premature babies as they get older, whether they get caffeine therapy or not.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid