Another interesting NYT piece yesterday, this one on improving care and conditions in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Advances in medical technology have made it possible to save babies born at earlier and earlier stages of development. At the same time, as IVF becomes more common and more women deliver multiple early fetuses (as a result of implanting multiple embryos), the number of preemies is rising.
Scientists are working to develop an enviromnent that more closely replicates that of the mother's body, in hopes that this will help these babies' brains successfully complete the wiring that usually happens in utero. Studies show that preemies face health complications and, often, developmental delays. The hope is that a calmer, quieter NICU will help reduce these problems.