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Kernicterus is a very rare type of brain damage that can happen to a newborn with severe jaundice. It occurs when a substance in the blood, called bilirubin, builds up to very high levels and spreads into brain tissues. Kernicterus may be prevented by treating jaundice early, before it gets severe.
Last Revised: April 19, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Chuck Norlin, MD - Pediatrics
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