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Bank for babies in distress.

Respiratory distress syndrom (RDS), a potentially fatal lung-collapsing condition common in premature babies, results from a paucity of a vital lung chemical called surfactant. But longer-term fetuses whose gestational age is 35 weeks or older produce an excess of surfactant and excrte it into the amniotic fluid. To share the wealth, T. Allen Merritt of the UCSD Medical Center in San Diego has established an amniotic and fluid bank.

Merritt and his colleagues have found that surfactant can be used to treat RDS (SN: 5/14/83, p. 310), and have recently found that the substance can also prevent it. The syndrome afflicts some 50,000 babies in the United States each year. Donations are sought from mothers who give birth, after a full term, by cesarean section; the fluid is aspirated out of the amniotic sac just before delivery.
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Title Annotation:amniotic fluid bank for use in preventing respiratory distress syndrome
Publication:Science News
Date:Aug 24, 1985
Words:140
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