Jetlag skin patch may prevent brain damage in newborns

Melatonin patches could help improve the outcome for babies starved of oxygen at birth, says James Aridas from Monash University.


Melatonin helps neutralise free radicals— unstable molecules that are a natural waste by-product of the body. Free radicals can damage the fats that are an important part of cell walls and organs, and which are rich in newborn babies’ brains.

James Aridas. Credit: OK-White Lane
James Aridas. Credit: OK-White Lane

The body can normally eliminate these destructive molecules. However, when a baby is starved of oxygen and then re-exposed to it, there is an overproduction of free radicals in the first hours after birth, which overwhelms the body’s capacity to eliminate them.

The melatonin patches will be easy to use and can be stored without refrigeration.

For more information: Fresh Science, freshscience.org.au/stories

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