The Preemies Are Alright

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A study of people who were born prematurely sheds more light on the ever-amazing resiliency of kids to overcome trauma.

The study published last month in The New England Journal of Medicine tracked 242 premature babies for 20 years, and found that they were actually less likely to engage in risky behavior (like alcohol and drug abuse) than other teens, and almost as likely to complete high school. However, they were more likely to suffer from neurological and development problems, and learning disabilities.

Researchers surmised that the youths benefit from especially close relationship with their parents, who tend to strive extra-hard to protect them.

The “good news/bad news” nature of the study (“Outcomes in Young Adulthood for Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants”) is reflected in the headlines about it. The New York Times: “Tiniest Babies Show Success As Youths in Spite of Hurdles.” The Washington Post: “Prematurity’s Effects Linger in Adults; Babies Born Early May Confront Lifelong Problems, Researchers Say.” Contact: NEJM at, or (800) 843-6356.