Preemie Matters – September 2011

In this issue of Preemie Matters: After the NICU: New Toolkit Support Preemie Follow-Up Care  •  "When the Bough Breaks" Documentary Online  •  Partner Event: Fourth Annual Rainbow of Roses Remembrance  •  NMA's "Call to Action" on RSV  •  Study: Premature Babies' Brains Unable to Distinguish Pain vs. Touch

After the NICU: New Toolkit Supports Preemie Follow-Up Care

In collaboration with the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), MedImmune has created an innovative new toolkit to support follow-up care for preemies after NICU discharge. Developed with pediatric healthcare experts, the "Follow-Up Care of the Premature Infant" toolkit aims at improving quality and continuity of care for preterm infants, while fostering communication between NICU staff and outpatient healthcare providers. It includes practical tools and references, an "Active Problem List" linking a preterm baby's active problems with action plans and educational materials that may be shared with parents and caregivers.

"When the Bough Breaks" Documentary Online

To mark National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, California Newsreel has made the award-winning short documentary "When the Bough Breaks" available online through September. Organizations across the country are screening this 28-minute episode from the educational series "Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?," exploring the causes of high rates of infant mortality, preterm and low-weight births among African Americans. Discussion guides, backgrounders and additional resources are available on the series website.

Partner Event: Fourth Annual Rainbow of Roses Remembrance

Hosted by the Zoe Rose Memorial Foundation on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, the Fourth Annual Rainbow of Roses Remembrance Event is set for the evening of Saturday, October 15 in Alpharetta, GA. This candle-lighting ceremony honors babies lost due to miscarriage, medical termination, stillbirth, SIDS, neonatal and infant death. The special night of remembrance - which last year honored more than 350 babies - is an opportunity for families who have experienced loss to memorialize their child in a safe environment, among others who understand. There is no cost to participate, and babies of parents who cannot attend in person may still be honored during the event.

NMA's "Call to Action" on RSV

This month the National Medical Association (NMA), in collaboration with the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA), issued a "Call to Action" on RSV (Respiratory Synctial Virus), a major cause of respiratory illness leading to an estimated 90,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths of young children each year. Together these professional associations are raising the alarm about RSV infection rates and the serious health risks they pose - particularly to infants and medically-fragile children. Their efforts also spotlight RSV's disproportionate impact on African American preemies and low-birthweight infants. To address needs around this issue, NMA's RSV action plan will influence health policy, prevention strategies and, ultimately, the health of at-risk babies.

Study: Premature Babies' Brains Unable to Distinguish Pain vs. Touch

New research published in the journal Current Biology provides insight on preemie development and points to the need to treat premature infants with even more gentle care. The study, which used a non-invasive EEG to measure brain activity during routine heel-prick blood draws, found that the abnormal pain responses common among many preemies may be linked to typical developmental patterns in which fetuses can tell the difference between pain and touch only in the last two weeks before a full-term birth. Noting that preterm infants can be subjected to up to 10 painful procedures per day while hospitalized, lead researcher Lorenzo Fabrizi from University College London notes that "By evoking [bursts of brain activity] when the baby is born prematurely, we may be interfering with the normal wiring in the brain." Future studies may explore long-term effects, which remain unclear.


Information is reported as provided and does not necessarily represent the view of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. A complete copy of HMHB's disclaimer is available on our website.