The administration of synthetic erythropoietin within two days of preterm delivery was associated with reduced brain damage in infants, according to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Longer and larger studies would be needed to confirm the findings, which were based on magnetic resonance imaging of the brains of 165 infants. Erythropoietin is used to prevent the need for transfusions in premature infants, but concerns have been raised that it may contribute to retinopathy of prematurity and low counts of white blood cells, a neonatologist said.

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