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Maternal and child health
Antenatal magnesium sulfate treatment for women at risk of preterm birth is safe and might decrease the risk of cerebral palsy
  1. Lene Drasbek Huusom,
  2. Hanne Trap Wolf
    1. Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics, Region Hovedstaden, Hvidovre 72735, Denmark
    1. Correspondence to Dr. Lene Drasbek Huusom, Department of Gynecology/Obstetrics, Region Hovedstaden, Hvidovre 72735, Denmark; Lene.Drasbek.Huusom{at}

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    Commentary on: Crowther CA, Middleton PF, Voysey M, Askie L, Duley L, Pryde PG, et al. (2017) Assessing the neuroprotective benefits for babies of antenatal magnesium sulphate: an individual participant data meta-analysis. PLoS Med 14(10):e1002398.


    In the 1990s, epidemiological research suggested an association between antenatal treatment with magnesium sulfate in women at risk of preterm birth and a lowered risk of cerebral palsy (CP) in their child.1 This was followed by five randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and a Cochrane meta-analysis.2 The meta-analysis confirmed that magnesium sulfate treatment given to women at risk of preterm birth substantially reduced the risk of CP. However, controversies remain about the treatment, including concerns about the lack of understanding of the neuroprotective mechanism, optimal dose, timing of treatment and the evidence base. The authors of this meta-analysis aimed to assess the effect of antenatal magnesium sulfate given to women at risk of preterm birth …

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    • Contributors Invited commentary.

    • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

    • Competing interests Both authors are primary investigators on an ongoing randomised controlled trial on the use of magnesium sulfate in preterm birth.

    • Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.

    • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

    • Collaborators Hanne Trap Wolf

    • Correction notice This article has been corrected since original publication to include a second author who was previously missed.