frequently associated with low birth weight babies could originate due
to peripheral nerve defects, suggests a new research from the University of Chicago. The findings are published in the February issue of the American Journal of Pathology.
"There has been a lot of focus on the central nervous system and we
know that these infants do not myelinate the brain well, meaning they
don't produce the multi-layer membrane that surrounds nerve cells as
robustly as normal birth weight babies," explained study author Brian
Popko, Jack Miller Professor of Neurological Disorders in the
Department of Neurology and Director of the University of Chicago Center
for Peripheral Neuropathy.
‘The motor abnormalities low birth weight babies develop could originate due to peripheral nerve defects as well as central nervous system defects.’
The study suggests that preterm infants may experience delayed
development and myelination of the peripheral nervous system that could
contribute to motor and neurological deficits experienced in adulthood,
according to the lead author Ben Clayton, a former graduate student
in Popko's lab.
"It is thought the reason that there are these abnormalities within
the central nervous system is secondary to the fact that they are not as
well oxygenated as a normal birth weight baby because their lungs have
not developed to the extent that normal birth weight babies do," said
Due to advances in medicine and treatment many of these infants now
survive, but with new complications stemming from developmental
abnormalities. Researchers are now trying to understand the link between
hypoxia (low oxygen), myelination, and the observed nervous system
"This study suggests that the motor abnormalities low birth weight
babies develop could originate due to peripheral nerve defects as well
as central nervous system defects," said Popko. "We need to take this
into consideration when we are thinking about therapeutic approaches."