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Advances in perinatal medicine in the past two decades have resulted in markedly improved survival of very low-birthweight infants. These advances include increased use of corticosteroids, regionalization of perinatal care, improved methods of mechanical ventilation, availability of exogenous surfactant, and improved nutrition therapy. However, the reduction in mortality has been accompanied by increased numbers of survivors who have long-term handicaps. It is estimated that 50% of all major neurologic handicaps in children result from preterm births. Despite widespread awareness of the problem and use of therapies believed to aid in preventing preterm births, recent data from the United States suggest that the rate of preterm delivery prior to 37 weeks’ gestation is increasing. Preterm birth now comprises an all-time high of 11.8% of deliveries. Clearly, efforts must continue to develop effective treatments to prevent preterm birth and to reduce associated morbidity...

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