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Low Apgar Scores May Predict Epilepsy Risk In New Borns

Newborns with low Apgar scores -- indicating that they have serious physical difficulties -- are more likely to develop epilepsy during childhood and early adulthood than those with higher scores, according to a new study published in the Journal Epidemiology.

Apgar scoring is a method of quickly checking newborns, based on their heart rate, breathing, muscle tone, response to a stimulus, and color. The maximum score is 10, and the assessment is made at 1 minute and 5 minutes after babies are born.

Epilepsy incidence increased consistently with decreasing 1- and 5-minute Apgar scores. For example, the incidence per 100,000 person-years was 628 for those with 5-minute Apgar scores of 1 to 3, versus 86 for those with scores of 10.

The incidence of epilepsy was 8 times higher among children with Apgar scores of 1 to 3 at both 1 and 5 minutes compared with children with scores of 10 at both time points.

The occurrence of epilepsy associated with low Apgar score was greatest during the first year of life, but the risk remained elevated throughout childhood and up to 25 years of age.

Click here to read an abstract of the article from the Epidemiology Journal.

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