Globally, an estimated 15 million babies are born prematurely, meaning they have completed less than 37 weeks of gestation. Scientific research throughout the years has been successful in saving premature babies on a global scale. For instance, India is a developing country whose focus is on saving the lives of preterm babies.
Achievements of Scientific Research Regarding Premature Babies
In 1953, researcher Dr. John Clements discovered that there was a way to save millions of premature babies around the world through his understanding of lung functionality. He found that a slippery substance, a surfactant, can help lessen the surface tension in the alveolar membranes. Therefore, scientists discovered that a lack of surfactant connects to human lung disease.
Another researcher, Dr. Mary Ellen Avery, in 1959, used Dr. Clements’ research to find that the lungs of premature babies cannot produce surfactant. Since then, saving premature babies globally has been made more possible through the FDA approval of five synthetic surfactants, which helps prevent respiratory distress syndrome in premature babies.
A recent innovative, surfaxin, was approved in 2012 and is a method to help with stopping the disease in premature babies. Dr. Clements say: “When we began this work back in the 1950s, the mortality from RDS was above 90 percent. Today, that mortality is 5 percent or less.” The original findings of Dr. Clements helped lead to a solution of saving the lives of preterm babies all over the world.
Premature Babies in India
Due to having the most significant number of premature babies in the world, the vast size and population of India can find hope through these scientific discoveries. In addition to this prevalence, one should also consider gestational age.
Usually, ultrasound imaging is completed in the first trimester. One thing that makes this hard is that ultrasound calls for training to receive the images accurately. This can be hard to do because ultrasound imaging is not practiced regularly; instead, the mothers are asked the date of the last period, which results in inaccurate assessments of the time of conception.
Increasing Affordability and Impact
Moving forward, a more affordable and recent hardware-software can be made possible through positive changes in the ultrasound hardware, such as modifications to the core technology.
An issue in this field is that there is consistently a lack of trained healthcare workers. Machine learning and development of software technologies have improved to combat this deficiency and reduce the need for trained healthcare personnel overall.
Recent discoveries have shown that a deficiency of selenium could be related to more preterm babies’ births. The researchers performed a genome-wide association study in an extensive database and combined it with independent data to acquire results.
Future Discoveries on the Horizon
Research is being done in Africa and Asia to see if such processes actually work. These areas are predominantly where selenium deficiency is present, but these tests could prove crucial to saving premature babies globally as selenium contains proteins present in body functions.
Preterm births are traced back to inflammation, and the body function of producing antioxidants prevents inflammation. This is one example of how scientific research can greatly impact studies on premature births.
In fact, scientific research has made it possible for successful progress to be achieved in India and all around the world when it comes to saving the lives of premature babies. All of these recent discoveries create a positive sense of hope around the world in the quest of ending the problem of premature babies. The world is getting closer day by day to having more babies born healthy.
– Kelly Kipfer