Administration of Magnesium Sulfate May Reduce the Occurrence of Cerebral Palsy in Premature Infants by Half
Dr John Thorp, an OB-GYN the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill conducted a large clinical trial at 20 different sites to examine the effect of magnesium sulfate on the rate of stillbirth or infant death, and the rate of moderate or severe cerebral palsy at or after the age of 2 years.
They enlisted 2,241 women diagnosed as being at high risk for going into premature labor between weeks 24 and 31 of their term. The women were randomized to receive either an intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate solution, or a placebo that looked exactly the same. The infusions were started just before delivery was thought to be starting, at a dose rate of 6 grams over 20 to 30 minutes. This was then followed by a maintenance infusion at a dose rate of 2 grams an hour. If delivery did not take place within 12 hours, the infusion was stopped and started again later, when it looked like delivery was about to take place again.
The results showed that:
There was no significant difference in the risk of infant death between the magnesium sulfate and placebo group.
However, moderate or severe cerebral palsy occurred about half as often in the magnesium sulfate group (1.9 per cent) than in the placebo group (3.5 per cent).
This is an extremely important finding. This may well change the way obstetrical medicine is practiced, and MUCH MORE RESEARCH IS NECESSARY to determine HOW and WHY magnesium sulfate appears to be neuroprotective, if it may be useful in different doses, at different times during pregnancy and delivery and even in the growing infant and child.
UCP Research and Educational Foundation is very proud that the seminal work for this discovery was supported by our Foundation 13 years ago during the brilliant leadership of Dr. Murray Goldstein Medical Director, Jack Hausman Chairman of the Board and Leonard Goldenson, Vice-Chairman of the Board.
High quality research supported today will pay off in our lifetime!!