A known risk factor for later cognitive and emotional problems is preterm delivery. However, it has been challenging for researchers to distinguish between inherent brain variations that begin in the womb and the stress of premature delivery, which frequently results in brain damage and oxygen deprivation.
The first concrete proof that the issues begin during pregnancy was supplied by pediatric neuroscientist Moriah Thomason study.Her team's brain imaging of preemies revealed that compared to fetuses who were carried to term, the brain activity of the preemies-to-be demonstrated decreased connection between multiple brain regions.
Most notably, the researchers discovered changed neural connections in networks, including a language center on the left side of the brain, that eventually support language. More proof of prenatal brain damage in preemies has now been discovered by researchers. For instance, a different team discovered in 2021 that 24 infants who were delivered early had smaller brain sizes and less CSF fluid while still inside the womb when compared to a group of infants who were carried to term. And numerous investigations have discovered that the amniotic fluid and placental tissues of women who delivered early had significant levels of inflammation brought on by bacterial or viral infections.