Experts have found a cheap and effective way to protect premature babies against brain damage and it’s as simple as a dose of sugar. It has been found that a sugar gel which can be rubbed into the inside of the cheek of a premature baby can significantly reduce permanent brain damage. Dangerously low blood sugar affects about one in 10 babies born too early and left untreated this can cause permanent harm.
Researchers from New Zealand have tested the sugar gel therapy in 242 babies under their care and, based on the results; say it should now be a first-line treatment. Current treatment typically involves extra feeding and repeated blood tests to measure blood sugar levels but with the Dextrose gel treatment costing just over £1 per baby and being so simple to administer it seems like an ideal new method of treatment. Using the Dextrose gel method also had the added benefit of improving breastfeeding rates among premature babies. The Study leader, Professor Jane Harding remarked that newborns suffering from low bloody sugar are often rushed in to intensive care and put on a drip. The new treatment method sees mother-baby reunion much earlier, potentially eliminating the need for formula milk.
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