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Study: Blacks Might Have Higher Rates of Cerebral Palsy, Due to Lower Birth Weights

A new study from the University of California found that black infants possibly have a slightly higher risk for developing cerebral palsy, according to Reuters Health. The study said  low birth weight might be the contributing factor.

Low birth weights and cerebral palsy

“Low birth weight infants have a much higher risk of cerebral palsy,” said Dr. Yvonne Wu, a pediatric neurologist at UC-San Francisco who headed up the study. “If we could eliminate the racial disparity in low birth weight deliveries, then we would also eliminate the differences in cerebral palsy between blacks and whites.”

Understanding the prevalence of CP cases in minorities

According to the study, blacks were about 30 percent more likely than white to have cerebral palsy. Also among the study’s findings:

  • Babies born underweight or premature were up to 24 times more likely to be diagnosed with cerebral palsy
  • Underweight and premature babies were much more common among black mothers than mothers of other races
  • Women who did not graduate high school also had a higher risk for giving birth to babies with cerebral palsy (CP)

Of the 6.2 million children the researchers studied, about 8,400 had cerebral palsy.

Though the study said it couldn’t reach any definitive conclusions about newborn cerebral palsy, it emphasized the importance of proper neonatal care.

“We found that women who received prenatal care had a lower risk of having a child with cerebral palsy,” Wu said. “However, we don’t know whether the prenatal care itself protects women from having a child with cerebral palsy, or whether women who receive prenatal care differ in some other way that reduces the risk of having a child with cerebral palsy.”

Possibility of hospital negligence in CP cases

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or is showing signs of “slow” development, we would honor the opportunity to speak with you during a free consultation. Many cases involving cerebral palsy or “slow development” are traceable to physician or ¬†hospital negligence. A diagnosis of cerebral palsy usually means a lifetime of medical intervention – why not begin to plan your child’s future today?

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