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Early Intervention Benefits Heavier Low Birth-Weight Babies Longer

Babies born prematurely at more than 4.4 pounds appear to benefit from preschool education longer than their lighter premature peers, according to recent research by an interdisciplinary team that includes psychologist Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, PhD, of Columbia University Teachers College. In the study, published in Pediatrics (Vol. 117, No. 3, pages 771-780), researchers followed for 18 years low birth-weight children born prematurely at or before 37 weeks gestation. The researchers classified those born at 4.4 pounds or less as lighter preemies and those born at 4.4 to roughly 5.5 pounds as heavier.

Why the apparent loss of benefits for the lighter preemies? It could be they need higher doses of preschool services, speculates Brooks-Gunn. "Clearly the big bang for preemies is high-quality, center-based care early on," says Brooks-Gunn. "But our results suggest that beyond that, we need kids to attend regularly."

This article, written by B. Murray Law, appeared in the June 1st, 2006 publication of the Monitor on Psychology.

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