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Neuroprotection of the preterm brain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-328
Number of pages14
JournalHandbook of clinical neurology
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2019

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Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

Despite notable advances in the care and survival of preterm infants, a significant proportion of preterm neonates will have life-long cognitive, behavioral, and motor deficits, and robustly effective neuroprotective strategies are still missing. These therapies must target the pathophysiologic mechanisms observed in contemporaneous infants and rely on modern epidemiology, imaging, and experimental models and assessment techniques. Two drugs, magnesium sulfate and caffeine, are already in use in several units, and although their targets are apnea of prematurity and myometrial contractility (respectively), they do offer improved odds of positive outcomes. Nevertheless, these drugs have limited efficacy, and NICU-to-NICU administration varies greatly. As such, there is an obvious need for additional specific neurotherapeutic strategies to further enhance the outcome of this very fragile population of neonates. The chapter reviews these issues, highlights bottlenecks that need to be solved for meaningful progress in the field, and proposes future innovative avenues for intervention, including delayed interventions.

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