GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GUSTOIMAGES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Neonatal jaundice treatment. Baby in an incubator receiving blue light phototherapy to treat neonatal jaundice. Jaundice is a condition in which there is an excess of the yellow pigment bilirubin in the body's tissues, which causes yellow discolouration of the skin and eyes. Bilirubin is the breakdown product of haem, the oxygen-carrying chemical in red blood cells. In neonatal jaundice, failure of the liver to process the bilirubin leads to its accumulation in tissues. This is very common in newborn babies, and is usually harmless. The blue light breaks down the pigment, allowing it to be excreted in faeces and urine. The orange hood over the baby's head protects its eyes from the light.
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