Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida Leads to Better Mobility in School-Age Children

Adding to a growing body of research affirming the benefits of fetal surgery for spina bifida, new findings show prenatal repair of the spinal column confers physical gains that extend into childhood. The researchers found that children who had undergone fetal surgery for myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, were more likely than those who received postnatal repair to walk independently, go up and down stairs, and perform self-care tasks like using a fork, washing hands and brushing teeth. They also had stronger leg muscles and walked faster than children who had their spina bifida surgery after birth.

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New Grant Seeks to Fill Knowledge Gaps Regarding Spina Bifida

Researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine have been awarded a five-year, $8.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the causes of spina bifida, the most common structural defect of the central nervous system.

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Benefits of Fetal Surgery for Spina Bifida Persist in School-Age Children

In a follow-up to the landmark 2011 study that demonstrated prenatal surgery for spina bifida has measurable benefits over surgery after birth for one of the most disabling neural tube defects, researchers have published new findings. These findings show significant physical and emotional benefits a decade later in school-age children who received corrective surgery in the womb for myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida.

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Initiating Breastfeeding in Vulnerable Infants

The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI). But because LPI do not have fully developed brains, they may experience difficulties latching and/or sustaining a latch on the breast to have milk transfer occur. This means that these infants are at high risk for formula supplementation and/or discontinuation of breastfeeding.

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