A follow-up study of Danish babies with neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia* who had been treated with phototherapy discovered a modest increase in the risk of childhood epilepsy. The finding has now been replicated in a large database analysis from the United States. Phototherapy is associated with an increase in the likelihood of epilepsy by 30% to 40% and the risk seems to be greater in boys than girls.

Phototherapy (light treatment) is the process of using light to eliminate bilirubin in the blood, many time used on newborn babies with jaundice.

* A condition characterized by an abnormal increase of BILIRUBIN in the blood, which may result in JAUNDICE. Bilirubin, a breakdown product of HEME**, is normally excreted in the BILE or further catabolized before excretion in the urine.

**An iron-containing compound of the porphyrin class that forms the nonprotein part of hemoglobin and some other biological molecules.