neonatal factors affecting intelligence of the child

Author Name: DR. Sangeeta M. Bhokare (M.B.B.S, D.C.H.) (MUMBAI)

Neonatal Factors: Affecting Intelligence of the Child


DEFINITION: Intelligence is defined as general cognitive problem solving skill. A mental ability involved in reasoning, perceiving relationship and analogies, calculatory ,learning quickly etc.

It's a ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skill.

There are many factors which affects the intelligence of the child.

The foetus and neonate may be exposed to variety of exogenous influences that are potentially damaging to the brain during the time that brain growth and differentiation are most rapid.

The MAJOR CATEGORIES ARE:

  • Introduction of neurotoxins into the body.
  • Withhold of essential nutrition.
  • Disruptions of mechanism of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.
  • Genetics: Our genes do influence intelligence.

PRENATAL ENVIRONMENT

The prenatal stage is extremely important as a fertilized egg is shaped the form of human being during this period. Rapid development takes place in major organ and brain cells.

If thing go wrong during this period the effect are nearly irreversible or very difficult to correct.

THE MAJOR PRENATAL ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS ARE:

  • MOTHERS NUTRITION

    An under nourished mother cannot provide adequate nutrition to growing baby. As a result the baby is likely to be under weight and more susceptible to diseases. Lack of nutrition would have adverse effect on neural development and intelligence.

  • MOTHERS EMOTIONAL STATE

    Anxious and tense mother are also likely to deliver infant who is irritable and show problem in sleeping and eating.

  • ILLNESS OF MOTHER:

    Maternal disease like rubella, syphilis AIDS,DM and high BP may produce permanent adverse effect on baby The brain of the baby would either damaged or not grow properly. The intellect development may get affected.

  • MOTHERS USE OF DRUGS:

    Drugs taken by mother can have tragic effect on unborn baby such as

      Prenatal exposure to repeated doses of synthetic glucocortcoid eg: Dexamethasone and betamethasone

      Alcohol and nicotine (smoking) are very dangerous for pregnant mother.

    Unborn baby may develop foetal alcohol syndrome which is condition where neonatal mental growth is retarded.

    Drugs use in mother for treatment of thyrotoxicosis

    Hypothyroidisum in Mother

  • BIRTH COMPLICATIONS:

    If the baby suffers from birth complications such as lack of oxygen at the time of birth e.g.: APGAR < 7 at that time the baby may suffer from permanent brain damage

    He would be born as mentally retarded child about whom very little can be done.

POST NATAL FACTORS:

APGAR score: < 7 associated with lower intelligence in later life.

Perinatal events: Extremely low birth weight baby

    LBW baby

    SGA baby

All associated with low intelligence

    LBW -----> Lower IQ

    Preterm/ SGA -----> Lowest IQ

Respiratory Distress syndrome

Nutritional deprivation of essential micronutritients (Iron, Zinc, Folate, Iodine, B12 and protein deficiency) to newborn in early life associated with low intelligence.

Placental thickness was positively associated with higher IQ.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Improvement in nutritional policy has been implicated in increased IQ.

- Prenatal and early nutrition are linked to brain structure, behaviour and intelligence.

- Providing high nutrition diet to very premature babies can help to reduced the loss of brain size and IQ which often experience by these babies

- Mothers IQ have significant correlation with her offspring irrespective of whether the offspring was breast fed or not.

- Breast feeding was linked to increase IQ, If the infant had as SNP coding for “C” rather than “G” allele base within the FADSZ gene, Those with “G” allele shows no advantage.

- Children of upper socio economic society are exposed to more intellectual stimulation and get better social opportunities and nurtured better nutrition all these are believed to influence their intellectual development in positive direction. The index of SES is based on.

    • Parental education

    • Occupation and income.

The higher is the socio economic status of the parents higher is the IQ of the child.

GENETICS:

Our genes do influence intelligence.

Our brain structure and functionality contribute to our level of intelligence.

Specific factors affecting IQ include:

    - Size and shape of frontal lobe of brain

    - Amount of Blood and chemical activity in frontal lobe.

    - Total amount of gray matter in brain.

    - Overall thickness of cortex and glucose metabolic rate.

MESSAGE TO TAKE HOME

Due attention to ensuring a healthy environment is necessary for any child to have fuller development of intellectual capabilites.