Simple gel treatment improves recovery for newborns with low blood sugar: study

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-25 10:22:57

Medical researchers in New Zealand are recommending a simple and cheap remedy to treat low blood sugar that can cause brain damage in newborns.

A study by the University of Auckland and Waikato Women's Hospital found that massaging dextrose gel into the inside of the cheek was more effective than feeding alone to treat hypoglycaemia and was safe and simple to use.

"In the past, babies with hypoglycaemia have often been given formula in the first few hours after birth, and if that did not work, then they were admitted to intensive care and put on a drip, " said study leader Professor Jane Harding.

"The dextrose gel improves the rate of breast feeding and we think this might be because babies stay with their mothers, and are not given formula in the first few hours to manage their hypoglycaemia," Harding said in a statement Wednesday.

Dextrose gel could be easily made in a hospital pharmacy, and was stable at room temperature, so it could be useful in resource- poor settings where hypoglycaemia was common and underdiagnosed.

"This is exciting, because the treatment is a simple, cheap and safe option that can be used anywhere," said Harding.

Low blood sugar or neonatal hypoglycaemia is a common problem that affects up to 15 percent of otherwise healthy babies and is a preventable cause of brain damage.

The study found treatment with dextrose almost halved the likelihood of treatment failure, and that babies given dextrose gel were less likely to be admitted to intensive care for hypoglycaemia, to receive additional formula feeds and to be formula fed at two weeks.

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