Apr 20, 2009
Newborns who needed support breathing—either oxygen or chest pumping—had a higher risk of having a lower IQ by age eight, even if they showed no signs of brain disease or impairment, according to a new analysis published online today in The Lancet. Babies who don't start breathing right away or have a low heart rate usually undergo some sort of resuscitation to ensure survival and adequate oxygen flow to the brain to prevent permanent damage.
The new findings are based on a review of the medical records of more than 5,800 babies born in the U.K. between 1991 and 1992. The researchers, from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, found that infants who were resuscitated at birth but did not show any symptoms of neonatal cognitive impairment had an absolute risk of 9.8 percent of having a low (80 or below) IQ score, compared with a 6.5 percent risk of the baseline group that didn't need—or receive—resuscitation. Those infants who received resuscitation and were still diagnosed with encephalopathy (brain disease) had a 23 percent absolute risk of having a low IQ by eight years of age.
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