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Report Looks At Babies Who Weighed Under A Pound At Birth, Survived

Silhouette Of Mother And Baby. (AP Graphic)

Silhouette Of Mother And Baby. (AP Graphic)

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MAYWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — The online journal Pediatrics is releasing a report Monday on medical miracles – babies weighing less than a pound a birth.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, Madeline Mann came into this world at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in 1989, weighing less than a can of soda pop.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

At the time, her birth weight of 9.9 ounces was the world record, but that record has since been broken by Rumaisa Rahman, now 7, whose 9.2-ounce birth weight remains the world’s tiniest.

The report focuses on Madeline and Rumaisa. It addresses a question that was hotly debated when Madeline was born 22 years ago, remains hot now – and still has no answer: “What is the real age of viability? No one knows,” said Dr. Stephen Welty, neonatology chief at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.

Two other babies born since 1989 weighed less than Madeline, and a German girl was born last year at her same birth weight.

Madeline now attends Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill.

Her doctor at Loyola is quoted in the report saying such extreme cases should not raise false hope. Most babies this small do poorly and many do not survive even with advanced medical care.

“These are such extreme cases,” said Dr. Jonathan Muraskas . They should not be considered “a benchmark” to mean that doctors should try to save all babies so small, he said.

About 7,500 U.S. babies are born each year weighing less than a pound and only 10 percent will survive. Doctors say that seems to depend on their gestational age, more so than on their weight.

In Japan, doctors put that at 22 weeks, but U.S. it is 25 weeks.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)