Previous research has speculated that steroids called glucocorticoids have a long-term impact on the development of the nervous system and increase the incidence of cerebral palsy in preterm infants.
The existing studies concerning the role of dexamethasone in preterm infants are insufficiently reliable owing to short follow-up periods and small sample sizes in clinical studies, or the absence of randomized controlled trials. Ruolin Zhang and co-workers from the Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University in China conducted a meta-analysis of 10 relevant randomized controlled trials. They found that dexamethasone may affect the intelligence of preterm infants in the early stages after birth, but may lead to hearing impairment at later stages after birth. These findings published in the Neural Regeneration Research
attempt to provide evidence for clinical application of dexamethasone in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome and chronic lung diseases in preterm infants.