A revolutionary study shows that the possibility of babies who are born prematurely to suffer from kidney disease later in life is higher than babies who are born at the end of the complete pregnancy term. The study was undertaken to research the impact of premature babies on the development of their kidneys.
Kidney development is affected in premature babies
A significant percentage of babies are born prematurely in the United States of America each year. A study was undertaken to investigate the implications on the growth of the premature babies and the development of their kidneys. The study showed that babies born before the nine-month gestation period has lesser number of nephrons, which are the building blocks of the kidneys. The average number of nephrons in a human body range between eight hundred thousand and one and a half million. Moreover, the number of nephrons remain the same since the time of birth of the baby. Premature babies have approximately four hundred thousand to six hundred thousand nephrons. The primary reason for the lower nephrons count is that the growth of nephrons occurs during the last weeks of the pregnancy and premature babies do not have the chance to complete the full development process.
Importance of the new findings
In the past, physicians thought that babies born within four weeks of the full gestation period would not show a reduced number of nephrons. However, the new study shows that even such babies have a lower nephrons count. The findings of this study are significant as the relation between less nephrons and kidney disease has been known for several years. Sufficient number of nephrons provide a solid structure to the kidneys. A lesser number of these building blocks show the presence of abnormalities, which make premature babies more vulnerable to kidney diseases and renal failure during their later lives.
Possible implications of the study
The United States has a premature birth rate of twelve to fourteen percent per year. The increase in the survival rates of premature babies has been recent. The findings of this study will provide researchers the opportunity to find methods to ensure that premature babies also develop the average number of nephrons that are necessary for normal kidney functioning. Studies related to factors that determine the development of nephrons will be undertaken to reduce the risk of renal diseases in premature babies.