In this health video learn about new treatment for premature babies (preemies).
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Jennifer Matthews: Darkness and light. It's the cycle of life. And may improve the fragile lives of premature babies. Ashley Larimore was a premature baby. She and her twin brother Mathew were born fourteen weeks too soon. Ashley weighed less than two pounds. Linda and Greg Larimore: And so we knew that for either one of them to survive, much less both, it would be a miracle. Jennifer Matthews: Mathew, who's being cradled by his father in this photograph, didn't survive. But Ashley's now a healthy two year old. Linda Larimore: So now we have an angel and we have a miracle. Jennifer Matthews: In the hospital Ashley was part of a duke university study on the effects of cycled light on premature babies. The babies' days were split between darkness and light to promote a natural circadian rhythm. Two groups of babies received the cycled light early -- at birth or soon after. A third group received it later - just before going home. Dr. Debra Brandon: And what we found was that the babies that were in the two groups that got early cycled light grew faster than the babies who were in the group that got the late cycled light. Jennifer Matthews: The faster premature babies grow, the sooner they can get out of the hospital. And researchers believe the cycled light will lead to fewer developmental problems. They say it's better than the old practice of keeping preemies in the dark. The Larimores believe cycled light helped brighten their daughter's future. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.