ELBW infants appear to be reaching functional outcomes as young adults similar to NBW infants

observed in employment/school status; 48 percent ELBW vs. 57 percent NBW young adults were permanently employed. No significant differences were found in the proportion living independently, married/cohabiting, or who were parents. The age of attainment of the above markers was similar for both groups. These findings hold even though participants with disabilities (27 percent ELBW vs. 2 percent NBW) were included.

"Against our expectations and many odds, a significant majority of ELBW young adults have overcome earlier difficulties to become functional members of society. It is not clear what factors contributed to the positive outcome beyond adolescence, as all through childhood the ELBW cohort was significantly compromised in comparison with their peers," the authors write. "Our study should provide hope to parents for an equivalent, if not a better, future for their premature children in the longer term. Ongoing studies from research centers with established cohorts from the recent era are warranted."


Contact: Veronica McGuire
JAMA and Archives Journals

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