HEALTH WATCH - Babies: Lung Development

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about caring for infants. Our tips have focused on things parents can do to keep their children safe and healthy. But there are some cases when doctors are necessary. Infants born prematurely are particularly vulnerable. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center may have found a way to help these infants.

Premature infants may have lung problems because their lungs aren’t fully developed at birth. Dr. Philip Shaul, a UT Southwestern pediatrician, says that treating premature infants with estrogen could improve their lung function and prevent a number of problems associated with premature birth. During the late stage of pregnancy and during labor, there are surges of estrogen that premature infants don’t receive, so giving them this estrogen after birth may help. Doctors have tested this treatment successfully on animals, but more trials are necessary before it can be regularly used for human infants. 

Visit www.utsouthwestern.org/pediatrics  to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services in pediatrics.

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November 2009


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