Babies born before 37 weeks have a high likelihood of brain injuries. New research has found a possible reason why this happens. Babygaga has the story.
It turns out that part of the immune system can attack a baby’s brain if those cells become inflamed. The cells are called microglia. This inflammation can be caused by infections before or after delivery, including chorioamnionitis.
When these cells become inflammed they attack the white matter of the brain. The researchers have discovered the signaling pathway that makes this change happen. It is a gene called Wnt that is responsible for the switch. When the cells are inflamed, this gene does not activate as much as it should.
The scientists have found this switch in several animals through testing and through observation in premature babies. Now that they know the pathway, researchers will start looking for possible treatments. They believe that a treatment for this may be developed in 5-7 years.
We are encouraged by these results. Premature babies are prone to a host of birth injuries. Anything that can be done to improve the outcomes of a premature birth will improve the quality of life for the baby. We look forward to hearing more about this research.