Monday, 31 March 2014 13:52

Preterm Infants: Visual Processing

An Australia research project looking at the long-term outcome of preterm birth on visual processing has found that despite advances in medical care improving the survival rate of high-risk extremely low birth weight and/or extremely preterm infants, visual morbidity is still relatively high compared with controls in late adolescence.

 

Ocular growth and development differ between extremely low birth weight (ELBW, ,1000 g) or extremely preterm (EP, gestational age ,28 weeks) and term children and may have long-term negative consequences for visual function. Visual sensory and perceptual skills are important for a range of functions and everyday activities, such as classroom learning, overall school performance,successful social interaction, and social cognition. Consequently, understanding the nature and frequency of visual deficits in ELBW/EP children is vital to inform adequate and appropriately targeted clinical follow-up and to increase focus on developing avenues for remediation.

The study involved following up 228 extremely preterm survivors born in Victoria in 1991 and 1992 and 166 randomly selected normal birth weight controls. The participants were assessed between the ages of 14 and 20 years of age. Visual acuity, stereopsis, convergence, color perception, and visual perception were assessed and contrasted between groups.

The researchers reported that adolescents born extemely preterm had worse visual acuity, poorer depth perception, and more problems with visual perception. Given the potential importance of visual perceptual skills to more complex tasks and academic achievement, these results have important clinical relevance.

Published in Industry News
Friday, 02 December 2011 10:27

Breastfeeding & Pain in Preemies

Not only is pain in preemie babies upsetting annd stressful for parents, if pain is not managed well it can have serious negative consequences, both short- and long-term. It can affect preemie babies' ongoing sensitivity to pain, stress arousal systems, and brain development. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) pain associated with procedures such as pricking for blood tests are managed with interventions such as skin-to-skin care, swaddling, nesting, pacifiers, nonnutritive sucking, and sweet tastes. Breastfeeding, a natural, simple alternative, offers simultaneously the pain-reducing components of familiar odor, maternal skin-to-skin contact, sucking, and the ingestion of breast milk. In babies who are born full term, it has been reported that breastfeeding during painful procedures can reduce the pain response by 80 to 90% without producing any negative side effects. This approach had not been evaluated in preemie babies, in part due to a concern preemie babies may associate breastfeeding with pain, which could affect their ability to feed effectively and gain weight, as well impact mother-baby bonding.

Recently, a randomized control trial conducted by investigators from the Child & Family Research Institute at BC Children's Hospital and The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, had their results of a study investiagting this very issue in PAIN (which is a scientific journal).

This research study looked at whether breastfeeding during the painful procedure would have a negative impact on the development of breastfeeding skills, and whether preemie babies who had more mature breastfeeding behaviors would have lower pain scores and heart rates during blood collection than less experienced feeders.

The results from the study showed that for the preemie group as a whole, breastfeeding did not reduce either behavioral or physiological pain during blood collection. But importantly, there were negative affects on breastfeeding skill development either. Preemie babies who were more advanced in their ability to feed did have significantly lower behavioral pain scores.

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 19 October 2011 17:22

Fundraiser: Walk for Prems

Preterm birth is a major public health concern that is often overshadowed in the media and from funding bodies for more "glamorous" and "dramatic" causes. Whilst we don't protest the money donated to such causes we are also accutely aware, that given the proportion of preterm births globally, that money commited to preventing, supporting, and optimizing preemie outcomes is well below what one might expect given the enormity of associated costs. There are many wonderful groups that work tirelessly to bridge this gap. Preemie help is very happy to help spread the word for one such group/event in Australia. See below a message from Life's Little Treasures and for details of their Walk for Prems event.

Each year thousands of babies are born premature or sick, and a whole family begins the journey through neonatal intensive care units and special care nurseries.

On the 6th of November 2011, Life's Little Treasures Foundation are holding their, major fundraising and community event Walk for Prems at locations throughout the country so that families, friends and supporters can come together to celebrate the lives of these special babies and raise awareness and funds.

Published in Industry News
Sunday, 05 February 2012 14:45

NICU Dr, Successful Communicators?

A group of researchers based in Canada sought to find out if the information content, process, and social interaction of the antenatal consultation satisfies the informational needs of women admitted to hospital in preterm and threatened preterm labor. Many hospitals have recently moved toward the family/patient centered care, which includes providing as much information to the patient/family as possible so that they might be more involved in decision-making. One of the major hurdles to this process is when patients are suffering high degrees of anxiety as it negatively affects their perception of the successfulness of communication between physician and patient. Since, preterm labor or threatened preterm labor is stressful for patients it is important to ascertain whether current communication strategies are successful when interacting with these patients.

The typical process – obstetricians request an antenatal consultation for patients admitted in preterm or threatened preterm labor. Consultation is usually provided by the attending neonatologist or could also be neonatal fellow, neonatal nurse practitioner, or paediatrician; the mother is visited by the attending neonatologist for follow-up.

Women included in this study were those with preterm or threatened preterm labor of between 25 and 32 weeks’ gestation. Participants completed a antenatal consultation questionnaire (ACQ); it included 30 questions about the content (type and amount of information given), process (how information was given) and social interaction of physicians. They also wanted to know whether the consultation process was helpful in relieving some of their worry and anxiety.

Results from the study found that study, respondents almost always recalled receiving information on the topics of survival, most likely regarding medical problems and treatments that the baby might need. Mothers reported that information on risk of disability was provided less consistently. Participants who recalled receiving information about disability were also less satisfied with the amount of information provided on this topic compared with other topics. Only 12% of participants disagreed that the consultation helped relieve their worry, suggesting that receiving information may contribute to increasing knowledge and understanding of the condition and risks, but it may also increase anxiety in some people.

Other researchers have suggested that patients want information, even in situations of uncertainty, like preterm labor, and that they feel more satisfied with the consultation if doctors share information about uncertainty. It is important for neonatologists to have frank and open discussions about uncertainty in prognosis, including the risk of disability.

Study conclusion –the mothers who responded to the antenatal consultation questionnaire were generally satisfied with the information provided during the antenatal consultation but remained highly anxious.

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 08:51

Prevention of Preemie Parent Distress

The birth of a preterm infant can cause significant psychological distress for parents and families. In particular it has been consistently reported that the birth and hospitalisation of an unwell baby is associated with high levels of distress and depressive symptoms in the mother of the infant. Most research in this area has focused on the mother of preterm infants but some research groups are now trying to evaluate the emotional affect preterm birth also has on fathers.

Research suggests that 10% of mothers of infants with very low birth weight (VLBW; infants born less than 1,500 g) report severe symptoms of psychological distress in the neonatal period which is five-fold the rate of term mothers, and almost one-third of mothers of VLBW infants have clinically meaningful levels of depression and anxiety.

A research team in the United States have recently evaluated a treatment intervention developed for reducing symptoms of posttraumatic stress, depression, and anxiety in parents of preterm babies.

There were 105 mothers of preterm infants who particpated in the study. The gestational age of preemies ranged from 25 to 34 weeks' gestational age and all were born more than 600grams. The 105 participants were randomly selected to be part of 2 groups; 1)intervention group - these mothers received 6 sessions of intervention which combined trauma-focused treatments, including psychoeducation, cognitive restructuring, progessive muscles relaxation, and development of their trauma narrative. It also included material which targeted infant redefinition - changing the mother's negative perceptions of her baby and the parenting experience; 2)control group - these mothers were described as an active comparison group who received an education session.

The research findings were positive for the intervention group - mothers greater reduction in trauma symptoms and depression, both groups reported less anxiety, and mothers who experienced higher NICU stress before the intervention benefited more from the intervention than mothers who reported low NICU stress.

The researchers concluded that, "This short, highly manualized intervention for mothers of preterm infants reduced symptoms of trauma and depression. The intervention is feasible, can be delivered with fidelity, and has high ratings of maternal satisfaction. Given that improvements in mothers’ distress may lead to improved infant outcomes, this intervention has the potential for a high public health impact.

Research such as this could be a great step in lessening the burden and stress for families of preterm infants who often have to deal with many and varied challenges.

Published in Industry News
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 17:46

Price Slashed-Preemie prevention drug

KV Pharmaceutical Co., the maker of an expensive drug to prevent premature births slashed the price by more than half on Friday (1st April 2011), following an outcry over the high cost and moves by federal regulators to keep a cheap version available.

 

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:06

Wear Green for Premmies

A SEA OF GREEN IN SUPPORT OF PREMMIE BABIES

Last year saw the phenomenal success of the annual ‘Wear Green for Premmies’ day, an event hosted by the L’il Aussie Prems Foundation and organisers are looking forward to this year’s fundraiser and hope to repeat that success again on Wednesday 3rd April 2013.

Wear Green for Premmies is a day where thousands of people in Australia and around the world wear green clothing or purchase wristbands to show their support and raise awareness of the trials and hardships of premature babies and their families.

Over the past two years, members and their families have joined in the celebration with photos being posted on the event's page to show a sea of green in support of all children born too soon. Last year saw thousands of Facebook participants including eight hospitals and many businesses showing their support.

Part of the proceeds from wristband sales from the past two years of celebrations has been equally distributed to charities and causes all over the country but this year proceeds will be used to purchase items and are being donated directly to 2 Special Care Nurseries and 2 Neonatal Intensive Care Units all for the benefit of affected families. Participants don't have to attend a physical event, but are invited to sign up to the Facebook event and encourage family and friends to wear green, purchase a wristband and fundraise online directly to support the cause.

Now entering into its third year of celebrations, the event and website has grown well beyond the expectations of Ms Toivonen who started the support website in 2007 after the premature birth of her first son at 27 weeks gestation. Ms Toivonen built the online support group as a way to reach out to new parents but also for her own family to gain support from others who had travelled a similar journey.

In late 2012, a committee was formed and the website soon became a registered not-for-profit charity. The committee comprises of parents themselves who are all long time members of the online community. The website and forum has blossomed over the past six years into Australia's largest online community and forum for families with prematurely born children and sick newborns.

For photo opportunities with families in your state or further information: Nicole Powell, Vice President (Communications), L’il Aussie Prems Foundation 0412 378 793 I This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | Wantirna, Victoria


Preemiehelp is interested in hearing from you, please feel free to email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit our Facebook page by following this link

Published in Industry News
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 20:42

Photo Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to the preemiehelp photo competition winners!

Thanks too all the people that entered our Preemiehelp Photo competition.

The winners share in great prizes including, the preemiehelp ebook, “The Complete Guide to: Preemie Development.” and a Earlybirds Gift voucher (2 x $50) from Earlybirds

And the Winners are...

After much deliberation we can annouce the winners of the Preemiehelp 'preemie photo competition' .

Prizes are awarded for 3 categories

  • Life in the NICU
  • My Brave Preemie
  • Look at Me Now 

After an overwhelming responce to the competition we are happy to announce that..

In First Place

Collecting a prize of $50 Earlybirds Voucher (earlybirds.com.au) and a full set of the Preemiehelp "The preemie guide to: Surviving the NICU" & " The preemie guide to: Preemie development" is:

Angela Perry - Life in the NICU

With her winning photo - 

Photo: 1st - Angela Perry (Life in the NICU)

 

 

In Second Place

Collecting a prize of $50 Earlybirds Voucher (earlybirds.com.au) and the Preemiehelp ebook " The preemie guide to: Preemie development" is:

Andrea Creighton - My Brave Preemie

With her winning photo -

Photo: 2nd - Andrea Creighton (My brave preemie)

 

 

In Third Place

Collecting a full set of the Preemiehelp ebooks  "The preemie guide to: Surviving the NICU" & " The preemie guide to: Preemie development" is:

Ken & Lisa Young - Look at me now

With their winning photo -

Photo: 3rd - Ken & Lisa Young (Look at me now)

 

 

Published in Industry News
Monday, 09 May 2011 18:59

Oxygen Level & Preemies

Premature babies have underdeveloped lungs when they are born and so often require supplemental oxygen to survive. However, the level of oxygen needed to help preemies without causing other health problems has been a cause of much debate. A scientific publication in the New England Journal of Medicine has concluded that higher oxygen concentrations improve survival, but also note that this is not necessarily without risks.

 

Published in Industry News
Monday, 31 December 2012 13:02

Persistent Language Problems

Babies born premature have poorer language abilities when compared to their peers at seven years of age, a Murdoch Childrens Research Institute study has found.

Researchers investigated language abilities in 198 children born very preterm (less than 32 weeks) and very low birth weight (less than 1500 grams) at seven years of age and compared their performance with 70 children who were born at term. Researchers also looked for white matter abnormalities as they hypothesised those children born preterm would demonstrate impaired language function because of the presence of diffuse white matter abnormalities.

The study, which is published in Journal of Pediatrics, found the group of children born very premature performed significantly worse than the children born at term on all language areas assessed including spoken word awareness, semantics, grammar, discourse and pragmatics.

The study showed that white matter abnormality occurring during the neonatal period was a key predictive factor for four out of five language areas seven years later. White matter abnormalities were associated with performance in phonological awareness, semantics, grammar, and discourse.

However, the results indicated that other factors associated with prematurity are also likely to influence language ability. Researchers said it's possible that environmental factors provide additional influence on language abilities; however, say further research is needed to understand the most significant determinants of cognitive skills.

Lead researcher, A/Professor Peter Anderson said the study highlights that families should closely monitor their child's language development.

The study, which is published in Journal of Pediatrics, found the group of children born very premature performed significantly worse than the children born at term on all language areas assessed including spoken word awareness, semantics, grammar, discourse and pragmatics.

"Language development is a clinically important area of development concern in these children. Paying close attention to a premature babies' language development is essential for parents so that discrepancies from normal development can be discovered and addressed during early childhood."

Researchers from the Institute are now developing a new preventive intervention for premature babies, which they hope will enhance language development, along with other functional outcomes.

Published in Industry News
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Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 


Read More: Defining Preterm birth


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New Release - Preemie Development

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‘The complete preemie guide to: ‘Preemie development’ is the must have guide to the NICU for new preemie parents.

With an easy-to-read layout this comprehensive guide is over 130 pages of important information about the NICU and your preemie.

Using Adobe’s .pdf format makes the guide usable across a wide range of platforms from ipad to PC, smartphone to macbook.

Packed with extra features like progress charts, NICU checklists and plenty of others. ‘The preemie guide’ is a must for any new parents.


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