Washington University, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the March of Dimes are launching the March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.
The population of bacteria in premature infants’ guts may depend more on the babies’ biological makeup and gestational age at birth than on environmental factors, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found. They discovered that bacterial communities assemble in a choreographed progression, with the pace of that assembly slowest in infants born most prematurely.
Premature babies often spend their first months of life in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) — environments that, in recent years, have seen transformations, with hospitals adding private rooms to NICUs in place of open wards. But research at the School of Medicine adds new information to the discussion over what is the optimal setting for infants in the NICU. Shown is the study’s first author, Bobbi Pineda, PhD, in the NICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Studying premature babies prior to their release from the NICU, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have identified developmental differences between those preemies and babies born at full term. Their work points to opportunities for therapeutic interventions — even in the first few weeks of life — that might improve long-term outcomes for the preemies.