Medical Negligence Blog
MRI’s and Early Detection of Brain Injuries in Premature Babies
November 1, 2019
Brain Injury Attorneys Providing Legal Advice to Parents in Hunterdon and Somerset County New Jersey
Recent Study shows MRI scans can be critical in early detection of brain damage in premature babies. HealthDay News in a recent article cited a new study that suggests that MRI scans conducted shortly after the birth of a premature baby can greatly help in determining if an infant has suffered a brain injury. These types of injuries can greatly impact a child’s development and result in lifelong disabilities. The study, which was conducted at the Toronto, Canada Hospital for Sick Children, suggests that it is possible for doctors to predict which premature infants will suffer from future motor, thinking, and language problems by using MRI scans to identify specific injuries to the white matter in their brain.
Specifically, the study addresses white matter injuries. The occurrence of these particular types of birth injuries, especially those affecting the brain’s frontal lobes, can drastically impact a child’s development.
Causes of Brain Injuries in Premature Babies
Though the causes of these types of injuries are not completely known, one of the senior researchers in the study, Dr. Steven Miller, explained how “fluctuations in blood pressure that occur regularly in preemies might cause a lack of blood flow or oxygen to the brain, damaging the white matter.” While another researcher, Dr. Gregory Lodygensky, explained that white matter injuries may also be the result of “inflammation and infection”.
However, what is known and agreed upon is that the MRI scans in the study helped show “preemies with larger frontal lobe injuries were 79 times more likely to develop thinking problems than infants without such injuries.” Furthermore, those premature babies were also as much as 64 times more likely to have “problems with motor development,” according to the researchers. The reason why white matter injuries in the frontal lobes so devastating are because this is the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating a person’s “problem-solving, memory, language skills, and voluntary movement skills,” according to the authors of the study.
Impact and Symptoms of Brain Injury When Child is Born Premature
Though it is far more common for babies born in the United States to born on time and healthy, the following facts and figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention help shed light on the number of babies impacted by premature births and head trauma:
- More than 10% of all babies born in the U.S. are born prematurely (meaning before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
- Approximately one-third of infant deaths result from issues associated with a preterm birth
- Premature babies may often suffer from health conditions that can include breathing problems, feeding difficulties, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, vision problems as well as hearing impairment
- Very young or older mothers are more at risk of preterm births
Infections during pregnancy may result in preterm birth. For this reason, it is always important to take steps to prevent infection, inflammation, and other conditions that can cause premature birth. In some cases, improper prenatal care can be the cause of premature birth or birth injuries. In such a situation, the doctor or hospital may be liable for your child’s injuries. Contacting a birth injury lawyer to determine your rights may be the best course of action.
Steps to Take to Reduce Potential Premature Birth
Though preterm birth can’t always be prevented kidshealth.org has outlined some practical steps for moms-to-be that can help lower their chances of going into labor too soon. These include:
- Seeing your doctor early and regularly in your pregnancy for prenatal care
- Taking care of any health problems, like diabetes, high blood pressure, or depression
- Not smoking, drinking, or using illegal drugs.
- Eating a diet that includes a variety of healthy foods.
- Gaining a healthy amount of weight (not too much or too little).
- Protecting yourself from infections by washing your hands well and often; not eating raw meat, fish, or unpasteurized cheese; using condoms when having sex; not changing cat litter).
- Reducing stress in your life
Contact Somerville NJ Brain Injury and Birth Injury Attorney Today
If you or someone you know is pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is recommended to meet with your doctor. Studies have clearly shown that women who get regular prenatal care are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and baby.
At The Law Office of Brian J. Levine, we will do our best to investigate your claim, to build a solid case and get fair compensation for your child and your family.
We are here to walk with you, call 908-243-0111 or fill out our online form below for free initial case consultation with a firm that cares and provides proper legal counsel, where experience and dedication matters.