August 14, 2013
Sugar hit for Māori newborns
Auckland University researchers have received funding from the Auckland Medical Research Foundation to investigate a way to stop low blood sugar in newborn babies.
Hypoglycaemia affects up to 30 percent of babies born in Auckland hospitals, with the babies of Māori and Pacific women most at risk because of increasing rates of maternal diabetes.
Jane Alsweiler from the department of paediatrics says her team has shown that oral dextrose gel can reverse hypoglycaemia in older babies, and they now want to trial it with newborn babies.
It will target babies of diabetic mothers, pre-term babies and those born with a low birth weight.
"Most babies will have their first breast feed in that first hour. They don't get very much milk at that point, but they do get a little bit of colstrum. The sugar normally drops during the first hour and comes back in the second hour, so we are proposing to give this sugar gel at one hour of age to try to stop a big drop in sugar levels at that time point," Dr Alsweiler says.
If proven effective, the treatment could be a boon in developing countries which don’t have neonatal intensive care units if anything goes wrong with the baby.
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