Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Sugar Treatment Cuts Risks For Newborn Babies In NZ-Australia Trial

Rubbing sugar gel inside the mouths of newborn babies at risk of hypoglycaemia reduced their odds of developing the disorder, a four-year trial conducted in maternity hospitals across New Zealand and Australia has found.

 

Sugar gel demonstration

The research is important because hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) in newborns can damage the development of a child’s brain and has been associated with diminished educational attainment.

The study by the University of Auckland’s Liggins Institute focused on babies who were at risk of hypoglycaemia from being born preterm, of high or low birthweight, or to mothers with diabetes.

The randomised controlled trial – the ‘gold standard’ of scientific investigation – took place across 18 maternity hospitals in New Zealand and Australia, with 2,149 babies receiving either a dextrose (sugar) gel or a placebo. For every 21 babies treated with the gel, one avoided hypoglycaemia. Funded by the Health Research Council, the study was led by Distinguished Professor Jane Harding and published this week in the international journal PLOS Medicine.

Sugar gel is already used to treat babies who have developed low blood sugar levels, as a result of the breakthrough 2013 ‘Sugar Babies’ study by Professor Harding and her team. The latest research explored the potential for going one step further, using the gel to prevent babies developing the problem in the first place.

“It may be time for doctors and the medical community to consider whether to adopt dextrose gel as a preventative treatment,” says Professor Harding. “We’ve shown in other studies that it’s likely to be cost-effective and may improve the baby’s later development.”

The latest trial – called hPOD, for hypoglycaemia Prevention with Oral Dextrose – ran from 2015 to 2019. A key aspect now is following up the children at ages two and six, to check on their growth and development to find out if preventing the hypoglycaemia results in better later development.

“We’re very grateful to all the families who have taken part,” says Professor Harding. “Their participation becomes even more valuable through taking part in the two and six-year follow-ups.”

While the study lowered the likelihood of hypoglycaemia for children in the at-risk categories, it didn’t reduce admissions to neonatal intensive care units.

“We think this may be because babies who are at risk of low sugar levels are also at risk of having other problems that need extra care,” Professor Harding said in a letter to families, explaining the results of the study.

Hypoglycaemia affects up to 15 percent of newborn babies and 50 percent of those with risk factors. Even transient and treated hypoglycaemia has been associated with impaired visual-motor coordination and executive function at 4.5 years, and with poorer performance on standard school testing of literacy and mathematics at 10 years.

This highlights why prevention may be so important, Professor Harding believes.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>

Sci-Tech: Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars – Expert Reaction

NASA has landed a car-sized rover on the red planet to search for signs of past life. The vehicle has more instruments than the four rovers preceding it, and it’s also carrying gear that could help pave the way for human exploration of Mars. The ... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: Quarterly Economic Forecast Predicts OCR Hike As Early As August 2022

Predictions of interest rate rises have been brought forward 12 months in ASB’s latest Quarterly Economic Forecast. Chief Economist Nick Tuffley now expects the RBNZ to begin raising the OCR from its current level of 0.25% as early as August ... More>>

Real Estate: House Price Growth Rates In Hawke’s Bay Skyrocket Ahead Of Rest Of New Zealand

Hawke’s Bay is leading the property ‘pack’ proving a post lockdown land of milk and money, continuing to outstrip the rest of the country with the highest annual growth rate in house price values. But experts warn an overheated market is fast ... More>>

ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>

OECD: Unemployment Rate Stable At 6.9% In December 2020, 1.7 Percentage Points Higher Than In February 2020

The OECD area unemployment rate was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market. [1] In December, the unemployment rate was also stable ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As Employment Picks Up

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in the December 2020 quarter, from 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Last quarter’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent followed the largest increase observed ... More>>