Newborn Test May Point to Teenage School Trouble


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Newborn Test May Point to Teenage School Trouble

The test ofِ health givenِ to allِ infants justِ moments afterِ they’re born mayِ alsoِ indicate trouble inِ school forِ a fewِ of thoseِ infants onceِ they becomeِ teenagers, a newِ study shows.
Researchers looked atِ 877,000 Swedish children andِ compared theirِ school grades andِ graduation rates whenِ theyِ were teenagers withِ theirِ Apgar scores andِ post-birth health.
The researchers foundِ that thereِ isِ a relationship betweenِ having anِ Apgar score belowِ 7 andِ having cognitive deficits laterِ inِ life.

The study appears in the August issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

A moment after birth

Apgar tests areِ given atِ 1 andِ 5 minutes afterِ birth, andِ they evaluate anِ infant’s heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, skin color andِ reflex irritability (sneezing orِ coughing inِ response toِ theِ bulb usedِ toِ drain mucus fromِ the nose), eachِ on a two-point scale.
Scores ofِ 8 andِ aboveِ are considered toِ beِ signs ofِ good health.
The Swedish study foundِ that children withِ Apgar scores belowِ 7 hadِ roughly double theِ odds ofِ attending a special school becauseِ of cognitive deficits orِ other difficulties.

Stuart sounded a similar note of caution.

It isِ important thatِ the children born withِ a lowِ Apgar score areِ not stigmatized orِ treated differently thanِ their peers due toِ theِ lowِ Apgar score perِ se, sheِ said, explaining thatِ while tests mightِ indicateِ howِ many teens inِ a large group wouldِ beِ expected toِ haveِ deficits, theِ Apgar score wouldِ notِ helpِ predict whetherِ anِ individual child mightِ haveِ a learning disability.

Long-term findings

The Apgar score hasِ beenِ used inِ the delivery room sinceِ itِ was created — byِ Dr.
Earlier studies onِ children’s cognition haveِ hadِ conflicting results, withِ someِ showing noِ connection betweenِ the test score andِ cognitive abilities asِ a teenager.
But thisِ was theِ largest study thusِ far, andِ the researchers wrote inِ their paper thatِ the study’s size mayِ haveِ allowed themِ to seeِ smaller differences inِ children whoِ hadِ lower Apgar scores thanِ previous research.