Although exposure to hypoglycemia is known to shape early development, there is a significant gap in our understanding of how hypoglycemia can alter child development after childhood. The team’s new study examined the long-term consequences of a child’s brain development between the ages of 9 and 10 – and found that there were no significant differences in learning outcomes for children. in children with low blood sugar at birth compared with their peers. .
Tracking 480 babies born at risk for neonatal hypoglycemia, the researchers assessed each 9 to 10 year old child in five key areas: academic achievement, executive function, and functional function. visual motor, psychosocial adaptation, and general health. All of the participants were children who had participated in previous studies, providing researchers with information about their neurodevelopmental outcomes at two and 4.5 years of age.
The team says this catch-up in neurocognitive function may be due to brain plasticity — the brain’s ability to adapt, change, and mature as a result of experience.
“It’s a relief to know that babies born and treated for a common condition like hypoglycemia don’t have long-term brain damage,” Thompson said.
Over the past decade, the team has continued to study the effectiveness of dextrose gel for treating low blood sugar in the first 48 hours of an infant’s life, avoiding the need for a visit to the neonatal intensive care unit. immediately after birth. Dextrose is a sugar that comes from corn or wheat that is chemically similar to blood sugar.
In an additional study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the team evaluated the later risks of dextrose gel as a treatment for hypoglycemia in infants and found that it did not cause a significant difference in the risk of neurosensory impairment at two years of age. This treatment continues to be widely used outside of New Zealand in a growing number of countries, including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Studies, Association of Neonatal Hypoglycemia with Mid-Childhood Learning Outcomes and Oral dextrose Gel Prophylaxis and Neurologic Impairment at 2-year Follow-up in Trial Participants hPOD randomized trial, was published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.