Environmental Risk in Fetal and Neonatal Life and Measured Infant Intelligence

  • Jane V. Hunt


The fetus and neonate may be exposed to a 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 of insult are the introduction of neurotoxins into the body, the withholding of essential nutrients, and the disruption of the mechanisms of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. These are environmental to the extent that they are caused or controlled by environmental manipulation. At the level of cell metabolism these environmental influences may not be mutually exclusive and may be interdependent. Brain systems undergoing active organization are most vulnerable to damage from adverse conditions such as malnutrition (McKhann et al.,1973) and anoxia (Sumi et al.,1973), suggesting not only that the effects of an insult may be more intense when it is encountered in early life but also that the specific time of encounter may influence the precise nature of these effects.


Apgar Score Neonatal Life Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome Developmental Medicine Perinatal Event 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane V. Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California at BerkeleyUSA

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