A new research has revealed that giving caffeine to premature babies may improve their lung function and breathing ability.
The findings found that premature babies who are given caffeine perform significantly better in tests that measure their ability to breathe out at 11 years old.
In previous study, other researchers have already demonstrated that caffeine acts as a respiratory stimulant that improves short-term breathing rates and the lung’s ability to stretch and expand.
For the study, researchers from the Royal Women's Hospital in Melbourne analyzed 142 11-year-olds who were previously enrolled in the 'Caffeine for Apnea of Prematurity' study. All of the study's participants weighed between 1.1lb and 2.8lb less than 10 days after birth. They were either treated with caffeine or a placebo for an average of 43 weeks.
According to researchers, this has been associated to a reduced need for ventilation aid.
Lead author Dr Lex Doyle told Daily Mail that caffeine, which belongs to a group of drugs known as methylxanthines, reduces apnea of prematurity, a condition in which the baby stops breathing for many seconds.
The findings were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
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