Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Prenatal Origin of Developmental Delay

Academic journal article International Journal of Child Health and Human Development

Prenatal Origin of Developmental Delay

Article excerpt

Developmental delay (DD), although generally manifested in the first years of life, may have different etiologies related to postnatal, perinatal or prenatal causes. Prenatal causes of DD that result from maternal and hence fetal exposure may be environmental (teratogenic agents), genetic, and often result from interaction of genetic and environmental factors. Teratogenic agents can be chemical (i.e. drugs, chemicals, ethanol) physical (i.e. high levels of ionizing irradiation), infectious (i.e. rubella virus), or result from metabolic or other changes in pregnancy due to maternal diseases (i.e. diabetes mellitus). Prenatal exposure to these agents may result in various degrees of DD, since the developing brain is the most susceptible organ in the embryo and fetus.

Among the infectious agents there is convincing evidence that maternal disease in pregnancy by agents such as rubella, CMV, and toxoplasma are neurobehavioral teratogens. Among the drugs which may cause neurodevelopmental damage are thalidomide, antiepileptic drugs (e.g. phenytoin, valproate, carbamazepine), coumarin derivatives andretinoids. …

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