Study offers fresh hope to premature babies with brain injuries

Study offers fresh hope to premature babies with brain injuries

Study offers fresh hope to premature babies with brain injuries 150 150 icnagency

By: Nicola Davis | Study offers fresh hope to premature babies with brain injuries | Neuroscience | The Guardian

Researchers say they have identified ‘immune switch’ that can trigger long-term damage

A potential route to reducing brain injury in premature babies has been found, say researchers who have discovered a way to tackle overactive immune cells in the brain.

Microglia are a type of immune cell that play an important part in the building of a baby’s brain. However, if these cells go into overdrive as a result of inflammation – often because of a bacterial infection of the foetal membranes, a maternal infection or even sepsis after delivery of the baby – they can cause harm to the child’s brain. In particular, they can damage white matter, reducing the degree to which neurons are insulated and thereby affecting connectivity in the brain.

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