ADVANTAGES

We found little evidence of adverse effects on neurodevelopment in children with a history of total serum bilirubin levels of 25 mg per deciliter or more, most of whom were treated with phototherapy alone, as compared with control subjects. Because most of those in the hyperbilirubinemia group had levels only slightly higher than 25 mg per deciliter, the power of the study to detect uncommon but catastrophic events, such as kernicterus, which occur at higher levels of total serum bilirubin, was limited, and our results cannot be generalized to higher levels than those studied. The results do, however, provide reassurance that more common possible adverse effects of hyperbilirubinemia, such as mild cognitive, behavioral, or motor impairment, are unlikely to occur in newborns with elevated bilirubin levels in the range we studied.

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