The study is the first to demonstrate a critical cut-off for this significant complication in delivery before 25 weeks of gestation
August 4th, 2021: Preterm babies have a significantly higher risk for cerebral palsy (CP) and other long-term neurological disorders, according to researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center. The study is the first to demonstrate a critical cut-off for this significant complication in delivery before 25 weeks of gestation.
According to the study, published in Journal of Clinical Medicine, researchers identified the critical thresholds for preterm delivery that increase the chances of long-term hospitalizations for CP and other pediatric neurological disorders, including movement, developmental, degenerative, and psychiatric disorders.
CP is the most common cause of severe childhood physical disability and motor impairment. This group of permanent disorders, which forms in a fetus's or infant's developing brain, can also affect sensation, perception, cognition, communication, and behavior.
“Extremely premature exposure to the environment outside of the uterus may alter musculoskeletal and nervous system development, and shift the trajectory of motor development for otherwise healthy children," says Dr.EyalSheiner, vice dean for academic promotion at BGU's Faculty of Health Sciences and director of the Soroka Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Beer-Sheva.
In the large study, the researchers compared the outcomes of 220,563 deliveries over 23 years. They found that babies born before 25 weeks had a fourfold risk of developing long-term neurological issues and significantly increased CP rates. Each additional week of gestation, up to 37 weeks, appears to decrease the risk of long-term neurological disorders.
Other researchers that participated in the study include Dr.GaliPariente and Dr.ShiranZer of Soroka and BGU FOHS and Dr. Tamar Wainstock of BGU's School of Public Health. Shayna Miodownik is a student in the BGU Medical School for International Health.
About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is the fastest growing research university in Israel. With 20,000 students, 4,000 staff and faculty members, and three campuses in Beer-Sheva, SdeBoker and Eilat, BGU is an agent of change, fulfilling the vision of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s legendary first prime minister, who envisaged the future of Israel emerging from the Negev. The University is at the heart of Beer-Sheva's transformation into an innovation district, where leading multinational corporations and start-ups eagerly leverage BGU’s expertise to generate innovative R&D.
BGU effects change, locally, regionally and internationally. With faculties in Engineering Sciences; Health Sciences; Natural Sciences; Humanities and Social Sciences; Business and Management; and Desert Studies, the University is a recognized national and global leader in many fields, actively encouraging multi-disciplinary collaborations with government and industry, and nurturing entrepreneurship and innovation in all its forms.
BGU is also a university with a conscience, active both on the frontiers of science and in the community. Over a third of our students participate in one of the world's most developed community action programs.