Neonatal Updates #30

Ichinohashi Y, Sato Y, Saito A, Ito M, Watanabe K, Hayakawa M, Nakanishi K, Wakatsuki A, Oohira A: Dexamethasone administration to the neonatal rat results in neurological dysfunction at the juvenile stage even at low doses. Early Human Development 2013, 89(5):283-288.Dexamethasone, even at a dose considered low for a baby rat, affects brain structure and function in later rat life. First implication is that we shouldn’t give dexamethasone to a rat, unless we want to stop its brain growing and give it learning disabilities, which we probably do want, so maybe we should give dexamethasone to rats. Second implication is that this might be the mechanisms for the problems with dexamethasone in the human, and the same model might give us a clue whether other steroids could be safer.

Kilicdag H, Daglıoglu K, Erdogan S, Guzel A, Sencar L, Polat S, Zorludemir S: The effect of levetiracetam on neuronal apoptosis in neonatal rat model of hypoxic ischemic brain injury. Early Human Development 2013, 89(5):355-360. Another rat brain study, using the Bob Vannucci model of unilateral carotid artery ligation with hypoxia, shows some brain protection with this new anti-epileptic agent. Many years from clinical use, but this looks possibly hopeful, and you saw it here first.

Kumagai T, Higuchi R, Higa A, Tsuno Y, Hiramatsu C, Sugimoto T, Booka M, Okutani T, Yoshikawa N: Correlation between echocardiographic superior vena cava flow and short-term outcome in infants with asphyxia. Early Human Development 2013, 89(5):307-310. Returning to humans this study showed that asphyxiated babies with a poorer short term outcome had SVC flows that were quite a bit higher than those with good outcomes, and that during cooling the differences were accentuated. The numbers were very small, however.

About Keith Barrington

I am a neonatologist and clinical researcher at Sainte Justine University Health Center in Montréal
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