The exact mechanism of magnesium sulphate in protecting the developing brain is not certain. However, magnesium is vital for normal cell function, may protect against destructive molecules that can harm cells, and in some circumstances improves blood flow.
Side effects of the treatment include flushing, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches and palpitations. However, the researchers found no increase in major complications in mothers due to magnesium therapy.
“Given the positive findings of the Cochrane review, further studies will need to be conducted to clarify exactly how magnesium sulphate works as a neuroprotective agent, who should receive the medication and how best the treatment should be given,” Professor Crowther says.