The birth of premature babies continues to grow. According to a study by the World Health Organization published this year, the number of children born before term is already around 15 million in the world and continues to increase.
How will being born early affectthe intelligence of premature babies? And it is that while we continue to congratulate ourselves on their high survival rate, today we go further and we begin to think about their quality of life.
Premature babies are very fragile creatures. One of the greatest advances in medicine in recent decades is that science has managed to save their lives in extreme situations. We have come to assess the survival of premature babies at 90 percent of those born in week 29, according to the Spanish Society of Neonatology.
They are the so-called miracle babies and progress is such that more and more premature babies who are born weighing less than 500 grams are being saved.
However, how will being premature affect babies as they grow? Different studies have investigated the specific brain characteristics of children born prematurely.
The results of the latest study by experts from the Institute of Psychiatry, from London, have found that being a premature baby has consequences for your brain that are related to poorer performance on verbal memory and learning tasks, verbal fluency and executive functions. And what is more important, this brain profile could accompany them into adulthood.
This statement is based on the analysis of the microstructure of the cerebral white matter with a modern neuroimaging technique. Researchers have found that adults with a history of prematurity had alterations in the white matter at the level of the corpus callosum (a huge bundle of fibers that communicates the two cerebral hemispheres), and also in sensorimotor and association areas on both sides of the brain.
Therefore, this profile shows a tendency to have lower IQs than their full-term peers, and a higher frequency of behavioral disturbances and the need for academic support.
Survival is a great achievement of medicine, but it is necessary to think about the quality of life that awaits these babies in the future. How? Launching and at your fingertips all the activities and programs that promote the cognitive development of premature babies.
Early care programs that pursue brain stimulation for children from 0 to 3 years old is an interesting initiative to help these people develop their full cognitive potential not only in childhood, but also in the performance of their academic and professional studies throughout life.
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