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Babies Born Too Soon, Too Small Have Trouble in School

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CHICAGO, June 24 (AFP) - Babies born prematurely or with extremely low weight show learning disabilities despite recent advances in medical care, said a study released Tuesday.

Doctors have long known that these babies often have trouble concentrating, behaving or organizing themselves when they get to school. However, researchers wanted to know if the tremendous progress made in prenatal intensive care in the 1990s had any effect.

Peter Anderson of the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia and Lex Doyle of the University of Melbourne studied 298 babies born at less than one kilogram (2.2 pounds) or less than 28 weeks' gestation.

They compared them with 262 normal babies in terms of cognitive, educational and behavioral factors.

They found that 55 percent of low-birth-weight or premature babies had significant neurobehavioral impairment.

"Thus it is important that medical and psychosocial interventions that aim to reduce the frequency, magnitude, and impact of these neurodevelopmental impairments are developed and evaluated," the authors conclude.



COPYRIGHT 2003 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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