On July 21-22, 2003, a conference was held to discuss knowledge gaps and propose methods to rectify kernicterus and neonatal hyperbilirubinemia. The scientific background for this meeting was as follows: in spite of extensive research and knowledge about metabolism of bilirubin in the newborn period, the incidence of BIBI has increased over the past decade. BIBI is occurring at higher rates in otherwise healthy newborn infants, born at near-term or term. The conference focused on critical areas of research that need to be considered to further explore biological and social factors that might lead to BIBI. The workshop was designed around three themes: a) evaluating the neurobiology of BIBI, including exploration of the molecular and cellular basis for breakdown of blood-brain barrier function for bilirubin and factors modulating regional susceptibility or resistance of neurons to damage from bilirubin, etc.; b) evaluating various system-related causes that have led to the mini-epidemic of BIBI and kernicterus so that appropriate strategies can be developed; and c) evaluating the value and limitations of the existing and evolving methods for rapid diagnosis of hyperbilirubinemia and its effective treatment, including phototherapy. Dr. Tonse Raju developed and organized the workshop.
Conference Agenda and Participant List
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