PROTECTING THE PRETERM FETAL BRAIN FROM HYPOXIA AND INFECTION: A HEALTHY START TO LIFE

Grant number: 350307

Abstract

Brain damage during fetal life is a significant cause of later neurological problems such as cerebral palsy. Recent studies have shown that brain injury detected in infants is usually caused by adverse conditions within the uterus prior to labour, but the exact causes are poorly understood. It is also apparent that babies born prematurely are at increased risk of suffering serious brain damage. In recent years it has become evident that infections in the mother may be linked to both premature birth and brain damage. It has been proposed that certain chemicals (cytokines), which are released during an infection, can cross the placenta to the fetus causing inflammatory changes that lead to bra..

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