Research Points to Improved Survival among Pre-Term Infants

Izzy Okparanta

Promising research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has found that the survival rate for babies born very prematurely is improving and among them, there has been a decline in neurological impairment.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 4,000 infants born between 2000 and 2011 and saw a jump in survival rates from 30% to 36% during that time period. And the proportion of survivors born without neurological impairment grew from 16% to 20%.

Contrary to what many experts believed in the past, increased survival rates for pre-term and extremely pre-term babies did not result in a higher proportion of disabilities among infants.

“Every individual is different, and no single source of information can precisely predict a baby’s chances of survival or disability,” study author and NIH program scientist Dr. Rosemary Higgins said in an NIH news release. “But our study’s findings do provide important information that physicians and family members can consult to help determine treatment strategies.”

Research!America’s new Prematurity Fact Sheet outlines the challenges associated with providing care to pre-term infants, both medical and financial.

Average medical costs for pre-term infants in their first year are nearly $50,000 more than the cost of care for full-term infants, according to March of Dimes, and pre-term births account for more than $26 billion in annual economic burden. It’s estimated that early onset prenatal care would mean 10,000 fewer pre-term births per year.

Click here to read our fact sheet and learn how research can save lives and money for those affected by pre-term birth. Click here to read NIH’s news release about the study.

Izzy Okparanta is Research!America’s Senior Communications Specialist.

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If concerted, long-term investments in research are not made, America will lose an entire generation of young scientists.
Brenda Canine, PhD; McLaughlin Research Institute, Montana