Magazine article USA TODAY

Outlook Promising in Some Regards. (Premature Birth)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Outlook Promising in Some Regards. (Premature Birth)

Article excerpt

The outlook for babies born severely premature or at very low birth weights is now better understood and in many ways quite heartening, according to researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital of University Hospitals of Cleveland (Ohio). The study followed 242 babies born between 1977 and 1979 weighing less than two pounds. The researchers assessed the level of education, cognitive and academic achievement, rates of chronic illness, and risk-taking behavior at 20 years of age.

The young adults who had very low birth weight are more likely to have one or more chronic health problems, especially neurosensory conditions (cerebral palsy, blindness, or deafness), and are shorter than normal-weight babies. They also have lower IQs, score lower on academic achievement tests, and are less likely to have graduated from high school or have enrolled in a four-year college. However, 51% have IQ scores within the normal range; 74% have completed high school; and 41% are pursuing post-secondary education. …

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