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Lung and brain damage in preterm newborns, and their association with gestational age, prematurity subgroup, infection/inflammation and long term outcome

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Compared with those born at term, preterm newborns are at an increased risk of short term disorders of the lung (bronchopulmonary dysplasia; BPD) and the brain (white matter damage; WMD), and of long term developmental and pulmonary dysfunctions. Although all of these adverse outcomes are associated with low gestational age, brain, but not lung, damage appears to be associated with the prematurity subgroup [spontaneous preterm labour and/or preterm prelabour rupture of membranes (PPROM) vs pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH)]. Part of the association between brain damage and prematurity subgroup might be due to a differential exposure of members of these subgroups to perinatal infection/inflammation. There is a lack of studies evaluating the association of antenatal and perinatal risk factors with late childhood pulmonary dysfunction among those born during the second trimester. In this paper we discuss the complexities that paediatricians, perinatologists and perinatal epidemiologists face as they try to understand the contributions of factors associated with preterm birth to neonatal and childhood disorders.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Perinatal Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Pediatrics, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany 2: Neuroepidemiology Unit, Departments of Neurology, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA 3: Department of Pediatric Pulmonology and Neonatology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany 4: Division of Newborn Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, USA

Publication date: 2005-03-01

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