Premature Birth Can Lead to Sensory Damage

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Premature birth can result in lasting sensory damage, the BBC reported Saturday.

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British researchers, who published their finding in the current issue of Pain, discovered that premature babies were less sensitive to heat and cold. They suspect that the repeated painful procedures that are necessary in neonatal intensive care units may be to blame for the dulled sensory abilities of these smallest infants, according to the BBC.

Premature infants are already at increased risk for disability and illness throughout their lives, the newspaper reported, but this latest finding adds another danger that doctors need to consider when treating newborns in intensive care units.

Given that development of the nervous system is particularly delicate at birth, the researchers noted that the problem is particularly pressing because premature births around the world are on the increase.

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