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Acta Paediatr. 1995 Mar;84(3):261-6.

A population-based study on the causes of mild and severe mental retardation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland.


The causes of mental retardation (MR) were studied as part of a multidisciplinary epidemiological case-control study in 151 mentally retarded patients identified by screening four age cohorts (12,882 children) at 8-9 years of age in the province of Kuopio, Finland. The causes of MR in 77 severely retarded (SD < or = -3 SD) and 74 mildly retarded (-2 > SD > -3) children were divided into pre-, peri-, postnatal and unknown groups according to the probable time of onset. The causes were pre-, peri-, postnatal and unknown in 60%, 9%, 8% and 23%, and 22%, 1%, 3% and 74%, in the two populations, respectively. Genetic causes were found in 28% of all 151 cases; the three most common subgroups were trisomy 21, fragile X syndrome and aspartylglycosaminuria (13%, 4% and 2% respectively). The study design used provided reliable information on the causes of MR and also demonstrated those forms of genetic metabolic diseases typical of Finnish inheritance.

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