Caffeine Therapy Can Boost Brain Development in Preemies: StudyChildren's Health

December 13, 2018 11:43
Caffeine Therapy Can Boost Brain Development in Preemies: Study

(Image source from: Pursuit - University of Melbourne)

A daily dose of caffeine therapy could help in boosting the development of brains of premature babies as well as lung functions and can be absolutely safe, according to researchers including one of Indian-origin.

According to study, starting caffeine therapy to babies born under 29 weeks, kept in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), within two days after birth reduced the number of time babies needed to use ventilators.

It as well reduced the risk of Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD) - a form of chronic lung disease caused by damage to the lungs from the use of a breathing device.

"Caffeine is the most commonly used drug in the NICU after antibiotics," said Abhay Lodha, Associate Professor in the University of Calgary in Canada.

"Caffeine may also improve better lung stretch and expansion, cardiac output and blood pressure in premature infants, which improves oxygen supply throughout the body and brain, reducing the duration of mechanical ventilation and the risk of chronic lung disease and injury on the developing brain," Lodha added.

Read: First Baby Born After Dead Womb Transplant

The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that early caffeine treatment has no long-term negative effects on neurodevelopment.

On the other hand, it is associated with better cognitive scores, and reduced odds of cerebral palsy - a congenital disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture - and hearing impairment, the study showed.

"It is important that we understand the long-term effects of caffeine as a treatment and ensure these babies are not only surviving but have the quality of life down the road," Lodha noted.

For the study, the team examined 2,108 neonates among which 1,545 were in the early-caffeine group and 563 were in the late-caffeine group.

They examined data of babies at age 18 to 24 months where they were assessed for their cognitive, language and motor development.

-Sowmya Sangam

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