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Friday 9th December 2016
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Prematurity can affect senses

26th December 2008

A British study has discovered that a premature birth can cause lasting impairment to a child's sensory powers.

Premature Baby

Researchers looked at 43 children aged 11 who had been born 14 weeks premature.

They found that their ability to sense temperature was compromised and that prematurity could also affect pain perception.

Writing in the journal Pain, researchers from the University College London highlighted that the nervous system is particularly vulnerable to changes at the very early stages of development, noting that premature babies in intensive care units have repeated painful procedures such as blood tests, which may trigger the changes.

It is well documented that babies born early are at an increased risk of disability and illness throughout childhood and later life but these latest finding from the EPICure study - which has been tracking children who were born before 26 weeks in 1995 - show they are also less sensitive to hot and cold.

Researcher Professor Neil Marlow said: "We all learn as we grow up by trial and experience.

Perhaps it will be harder for these children to learn what a moderately serious injury is like if they cannot feel pain in the same way."

He said doctors needed to understand how interventions at the earliest stages of development may affect the body's sensory functions in later life.

"Many of us are beginning to realise that we have to look at quality of life as well as saving lives and avoiding unnecessary painful experiences for these very young babies," he said.

 

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Comments

Anonymous

Saturday 7th November 2009 @ 10:10

i am a 29 week baby 39 years old and i have been told i have a high threshold to pain..i sat through my contractions until my baby was born 1/2 an hour later....i think i have a very high threshold to pain....


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