The risk of moderate to severe neurodevelopmental impairments is high among babies who are born extremely premature, a new study by a team of Canadian researchers reveals.
The study was conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario who analyzed results of nine different studies, many of which were conducted in Europe, that looked into children born between 22 and 25 weeks' gestation, compared to a normal gestation period that lasts between 37 to 42 weeks.
The total number of children involved in the nine studies was around 900 and all of whom were between four and eight years old. The researchers found that the severest impairments were found among children who were born at 22 and 23 weeks and scored in the lowest 2 to 3 percent on IQ tests.
Stating that he hopes the study will help parents in their decision making process, lead researcher Dr Gregory Moore said, "Many parents do think of long-term impairment as a major concern for them, and some parents think of it as a bigger concern than death, for example. For some parents knowing this data and knowing the limitations of it and speaking with a caring neonatologist about it, we would hope that that would help them in their decision making."