Several factors, including maternal infection during pregnancy, very preterm birth, and certain findings on brain MRI scans were correlated with cerebral palsy, according to a study in the October 4 issue of JAMA.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings have been reported for specific clinical cerebral palsy (CP) subgroups or lesion types but not in a large population of children with all CP subtypes. Additional information about the causes of CP could help identify preventive strategies, according to background information in the article.
Martin Bax, D.M., F.R.C.P.C.H., of Imperial College London and Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London, and colleagues examined the correlates of CP in a population sample and compared clinical findings with information available from MRI brain scans. The study included 585 children with CP who were born between 1996 and 1999; 431 children were clinically assessed and 351 had a brain MRI scan at 18 months of age or later. The research was conducted at eight European study centers (North West London and North East London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Lisbon, Portugal; Dublin, Ireland; Stockholm, Sweden; Tbingen, Germany; and Helsinki, Finland).
The researchers found that 39.5 percent (158 of 400) of the mothers reported an infection during the pregnancy, including 19.2 percent who reported a urinary tract infection and 15.5 percent who reported taking antibiotics during the pregnancy. Fifty-one children (12 percent) were known to be from a multiple pregnancy, with 48 from a twin pregnancy and 3 from a triplet pregnancy. This compares with a population rate of multiple pregnancy of about 1.5 percent. In addition, 235 children (54 percent) were born at term, whereas 47 children (10.9 percent) were very preterm (born less than 28 weeks gestation), 69 (16 percent) were born between 28 and 31 weeks, and 79 (18.3 percent) were born between 32 and 36 weeks gestation. Emergency cesarean deliveries were per
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