Giving caffeine to premature babies has long-lasting benefits, study finds Giving caffeine to premature babies has long-lasting benefits, study finds
Premature babies given a course of caffeine show sustained improvements in their breathing and lung function in the long term, a landmark Australian study... Giving caffeine to premature babies has long-lasting benefits, study finds

Premature babies given a course of caffeine show sustained improvements in their breathing and lung function in the long term, a landmark Australian study has found. 

Doctors at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne tracked the development of more than 140 premature babies, half of whom were given a regular dose of caffeine when they were born.

The caffeine is given as an injection or with milk, through a feeding tube, once a day

Professor Lex Doyle, the lead author of the study, said the children then had their lung function and breathing examined when they were 11.

“Of the children who had caffeine as babies, there were half as many with concerning levels of lung function when they were 11,” he said Premature babies have difficulty breathing. Giving them caffeine helps regulate their breathing by stimulating the part of the brain that signals the lungs to inflate.

“They don’t have to have assistance with breathing for as long. They don’t need as much additional oxygen added to the air they breathe, and they can go home quicker,” Professor Doyle said.

But the long-term effects on breathing weren’t known — until now.

“It was a pleasing finding, because we were concerned that the caffeine might cause long-term problems and so far, we haven’t found any long-term problems whatsoever,” Professor Doyle said.

He added that the findings showed “parents could be reassured” about giving caffeine to premature babies.

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Sophie and Tilly Snowdon took part in the study.

The twins were born at 25 weeks and spent six months in the Royal Women’s Hospital neo-natal intensive care ward until they were well enough to go home.

Their parents weren’t told whether the girls had the caffeine or a placebo.

Sophie had more difficulty breathing when she was born.

According to her mother, Meredith Capp, Sophie tended to get out of breath and have worse colds as a child, compared to her sister.

“But now, both the girls’ breathing is fine,” she said.

She said, as a parent, the findings were heartening

“It’s good to know that we did the best thing for the girls as babies.”

Both young girls were pleased to have taken part in the study.

“I am really proud that this research is helping other people and saving lives. It’s just wonderful knowing that,” Sophie said.

“I really like that is helping other kids,” Tilly added.

Researchers said the results were important, as premature babies were at risk of long-term lung damage.

The findings have been published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-15/benefits-of-caffeine-for-premature-babies-long-lasting/8709772

Obinna Onyia

  • Ceara

    2017-07-16 #1 Author

    Wow who would’ve guessed

    Reply

  • Tula Toon

    2017-07-16 #2 Author

    That’s unbelievable, but good to know .

    Reply

  • Brittany

    2017-07-16 #3 Author

    That’s s great I once experienced having my baby girl at 28 weeks 😘

    Reply

  • Jamya

    2017-07-17 #4 Author

    Sounds very interesting 🤔 this is something I would like to look more into because my future career is Neonatalogy ❣️

    Reply

  • Jamya

    2017-07-17 #5 Author

    Sounds very interesting due to the fact my future career is Neonatology .

    Reply

  • Paulina Royal

    2017-07-17 #6 Author

    This is extremely amazing

    Reply

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