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Cause of premature births will be investigated

March Of Dimes and Washington University launch Cutting Edge Prematurity Research Center.

ST. LOUIS, -- Washington University, St. Louis Children's Hospital and March of Dimes officials announced the launch of a new March of Dimes Prematurity Research Center.

The March of Dimes will invest $10 million in the Prematurity Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis during the next five years. It is a collaborative, transdisciplinary, enterprise that provides a team-based research approach to discovering the causes of preterm birth in order to develop new strategies to prevent it. St. Louis Children's Hospital, which since 2007, has offered a March of Dimes NICU Family Support Program to help families during their baby's stay in the NICU, is also a partner in the research center.

Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death, and babies who survive it have serious and sometimes lifelong health challenges, such as breathing problems, jaundice, developmental delays, vision loss, and cerebral palsy.

This prematurity research center will create a profile of women who are high- risk for giving birth too soon. It will investigate how sleep patterns and other environmental factors change a woman's risk for preterm birth and will document how the structure of the cervix changes throughout a pregnancy. It also is seeking to create images of uterine contractions. (SOURCE: March of Dimes)

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