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EPMA J. 2011 Jun;2(2):197-210. doi: 10.1007/s13167-011-0087-9. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Birth asphyxia as the major complication in newborns: moving towards improved individual outcomes by prediction, targeted prevention and tailored medical care.

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Department of Radiology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.


Perinatal Asphyxia-oxygen deficit at delivery-can lead to severe hypoxic ischaemic organ damage in newborns followed by a fatal outcome or severe life-long pathologies. The severe insults often cause neurodegenerative diseases, mental retardation and epilepsies. The mild insults lead to so-called "minimal brain-damage disorders" such as attention deficits and hyperactivity, but can also be associated with the development of schizophrenia and life-long functional psychotic syndromes. Asphyxia followed by re-oxygenation can potentially lead to development of several neurodegenerative pathologies, diabetes type 2 and cancer. The task of individual prediction, targeted prevention and personalised treatments before a manifestation of the life-long chronic pathologies usually developed by newborns with asphyxic deficits, should be given the extraordinary priority in neonatology and paediatrics. Socio-economical impacts of educational measures and advanced strategies in development of robust diagnostic approaches targeted at effected molecular pathways, biomarker-candidates and potential drug-targets for tailored treatments are reviewed in the paper.

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