Perinatal Brain Damage: Mechanisms and Neuroprotective Strategies

Pierre Gressens, Henrik Hagberg


Injury to the perinatal brain is a leading cause of childhood
mortality and lifelong disability. Cerebral palsy and cognitive impairment are usually related to periventricular white matter damage, which is seen chiefl y in babies born before 32 weeks’ gestational age, and to corticosubcortical lesions, which occur mainly in full term infants. Perinatal brain lesions remain largely unpreventable and untreatable despite recent improvements in neonatal care. However, partial neuroprotective effi cacy has been proven using magnesium sulfate in preterm newborns and hypothermia in term newborns. Improved understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in perinatal brain lesions helps to identify potential targets for neuroprotective interventions, as discussed in this review.

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