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The Long-Term Effects of Oxygen Deprivation at Birth

By Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. on September 16, 2019

While science has made great developments toward understanding how to diagnose and treat neurodevelopmental disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), experts have been largely unclear about precisely what occurs in the brain to cause these conditions.

But recently, new studies are providing a promising glimpse into how certain circumstances at birth may contribute to the likelihood of a child developing ADHD or ASD later in life.

The Science Behind Neurological Disorders

ADHD and ASD are often considered to be linked. In fact, scientists now believe that up to 50% of people diagnosed with ASD also display symptoms of ADHD. It’s no surprise then to learn that both conditions are correlated with similar complications at birth.

“Hypoxia” is the term used when there is slower circulation of blood and oxygen through the tissues, and when children are exposed to this complication at birth, they have a significantly higher risk of developing ADHD later in their lives. Ischemic-hypoxic conditions (IHC) can result from a number of different complications, including birth asphyxia, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, and preeclampsia—which is characterized by tissue damage and high blood pressure in the mother. Children suffering from these conditions were up to 47% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Birth asphyxia and preeclampsia are also implicated in the development of ASD. Out of more than 6,200 children diagnosed with ASD, researchers determined that 37% had suffered from perinatal conditions. In general, evidence suggests that oxygen deprivation, and the resulting tissue damage, could play a key role in the likelihood of experiencing certain neurodevelopmental disorders.

Get Answers from an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

Even today, we are still learning about the consequences of birth-related injuries.

When a family is facing the reality of a serious birth injury, it can be a terrifying and confusing time. If you or a loved one is dealing with this frightening situation and think that your child’s birth injury could be related to hospital negligence, or another form of medical malpractice, it’s critically important that you understand your legal options.

At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we have extensive experience working with families to fight their medical malpractice cases. Thanks to our team’s knowledge and understanding of birth injuries, we are able to help our clients by investigating the long-term effects of a birth injury. We seek to recover the financial compensation they deserve in this trying time. To learn more about how we can help you in your medical malpractice case, give us a call at (425) 228-3860.

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