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Neonatal hypoglycemia and learning

7 August, 2017

Neonatal hypoglycemia and learning

Neonatal hypoglycemia can increase the chance of difficulty with learning later in life, claims a new report.

The study finds that children who had low blood sugar levels as newborns were two to three times more likely to have difficulties with executive function and visual-motor co-ordination aged four-and-a-half.

The researchers stress that low blood sugar was not associated with combined neurosensory impairment. 

Low blood sugar affects about 15% of newborns and is the only common preventable cause of brain damage in infancy. 

At-risk babies are those born premature, smaller or larger than usual and babies whose mothers have diabetes.

The prospective cohort study of 477 at-risk children was carried out at a regional perinatal centre in New Zealand.

The researchers stated: ‘Neonatal hypoglycemia may increase the risk of impaired executive function and visual motor function in a dose-dependent fashion, even if not detected clinically, and may thus influence later learning.’

The paper has been published today (7 August) in JAMA Pediatrics. For more information, click here.  

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