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Magnesium sulfate can lower risk of cerebral palsy

Among women who are at risk of delivering prematurely, treatment with magnesium sulfate reduces the risk of cerebral palsy in the offspring.

Magnesium sulfate can lower risk of cerebral palsy

Among women who are at risk of delivering prematurely, treatment with magnesium sulfate reduces the risk of cerebral palsy in the offspring. According to researchers from Australia, for infants born very premature, there is a high risk of cerebral palsy. The following study shows there is now evidence to support giving magnesium sulfate therapy to women at risk of very preterm birth to increase their unborn baby's chance of survival, free of cerebral palsy. Using data from five clinical trials involving 6145 infants who were randomly assigned to treatment of magnesium sulphate or placebo around the time of delivery, researchers found that magnesium sulphate cut the risk of cerebral palsy by 32 percent. Moreover, treatment was also tied to a 39-percent drop in the rate of major movement disabilities. It was calculated that 63 women would need to be treated to prevent one case of cerebral palsy. Magnesium sulphate therapy did not affect mortality or development of other neurologic impairments in the first years of life. Low blood pressure and rapid heartbeat were more frequent in magnesium-treated mothers than in those given placebo. Magnesium therapy, however, was not associated with any serious complications. Given the beneficial effects of magnesium sulphate on substantial gross motor function in early childhood, outcomes later in childhood need to be evaluated to determine the presence or absence of later potentially important neurological effects, particularly on motor or cognitive function.
The Cochrane Library
February 2009
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