Jun 8, 2022
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Children exposed to COVID may have delayed neurodevelopment

Children exposed to COVID may have delayed neurodevelopment

Babies exposed in utero to COVID compared to unexposed babies at six weeks of age have different neurodevelopmental outcomes, according to a study presented at the 30th European Congress of Psychiatry.

“Not all children born to mothers infected with COVID have neurodevelopmental differences, but our data show that their risk is increased compared to those who were not exposed to COVID in utero,” explained project leader Dr Rosa Ayesa Arriola. .

Babies of infected mothers found it harder to relax. They also found it harder to control their head and shoulder movements.

“We found that some elements of the NBAS measurement [Шкала оценки поведения новорожденных] were altered in 6-week-old infants exposed to the SARS-COV-2 virus. In fact, they react somewhat differently to being held or hugged,” Agueda Castro Quintas explained.

The researchers acknowledge that their sample size of 21 exposed and 21 unexposed infants is small. They also understand that a longitudinal study is needed.

“Of course, there are a few things in these young children that we can’t measure, like language skills or cognition,” said Nerea San Martín González. “We also need to understand that this is a relatively small sample, so we are repeating the work and will follow it for a longer period. We need a larger sample to determine the role of infection on the neurodevelopment of the offspring and the contribution of other environmental factors”

“We should note that this is a preliminary result, but it is part of a project that involves a larger sample of 100 mothers and their children. They were also followed during pregnancy and after birth. We also plan to compare these mothers and children with data another similar project (epi-project) that studies the impact of stress and genetics on the neurodevelopment of a child,” Quintas says.

The researchers believe this study will help determine how to treat affected people as they mature.

“Research in this area is vital to understanding and preventing possible neurological problems and mental health vulnerabilities in these children in the coming years,” Arriola said.

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