Jaundice Helps Babies!

A startling study published in the November 25, 2002 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences tells how scientists at Johns Hopkins University proved that bilirubin, the pigment that turns jaundiced skin yellow, is actually a powerful antioxidant – capable of protecting a baby’s cells from damage.

Like fever, jaundice was once seen as a problem. Now we know that at normal levels fever and jaundice are both friends – part of the body’s healing mechanism. They might signal an urgent problem, so neither fever nor jaundice should be ignored in a baby. Also, if the levels are too high they can cause problems themselves, so fever and jaundice sometimes need urgent treatment.

Nevertheless, like fever, jaundice can be a baby’s friend, almost like a layer of flexible inside armor, keeping the baby safe.

Published on: November 26, 2002
About the Author
Photo of Alan Greene MD
Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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