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How Infant Strokes Affect the Brain

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If your child suffered a stroke during labor and delivery or soon after birth, it is invaluable to understand the potential effects of these injuries on their long-term development. A recent study investigating the effect of strokes in infants discovered that newborn stroke sufferers employ a different region of the brain for language skills.

In many cases, medical negligence on the part of the child’s doctor contributes to the occurrence of a stroke. When a physician’s mistakes lead to neonatal stroke, parents have the right to pursue damages for their child’s medical treatment and other needs. For additional information about medical malpractice and strokes in babies, contact our highly experienced attorneys at 866-708-8617. We provide consultations absolutely free of charge. You can also contact us online to get answers to your questions.

The aforementioned research was conducted at Georgetown University, where researchers evaluated 12 people who had suffered strokes as infants. The purpose of the study was to investigate the long-term effects of a stroke on a newborn. The study participants ranged in age from 12 to 25, all of whom had suffered a perinatal stroke.

What is Perinatal Stroke?

The term perinatal stroke refers to an interruption of blood flow and oxygen to a part of the brain, which causes brain cells to die. A stroke can occur because of a blockage in a blood vessel (known as an ischemic stroke) or a breakage of an artery or vein (called a hemorrhagic stroke). Perinatal stroke occurs during the fetal or newborn period. The perinatal period begins mid-way through pregnancy and extends through the first month of a child’s life.

Approximately 1 in every 4,000 children suffer a stroke before, during, or within 28 days after birth. Babies can experience a fetal stroke while in utero, while under stress during labor and delivery, or shortly after birth. In some cases, a child will suffer a stroke in infancy unbeknownst to parents or doctors. Symptoms of a perinatal stroke may not appear until a child begins missing developmental milestones.

How does a Stroke in Infancy Affect Brain Development?

Among the infant stroke survivors included in the study, there were few observable signs of early injury. Notably, one of the individuals still suffered from a limp, while others used their left hands as dominant due to functional difficulties with their right hands. After using imaging techniques to study the brain’s of newborn stroke survivors, researchers found that these individuals used the opposite sides of their brains for language. Typically, people employ the left region of the brain for language. However, the stroke victims had adapted to use the right side of the brain to serve the same functions.

Researchers initially noted the plasticity of the newborn brain. Because the brain is still developing, it is known as “plastic,” which means it is easily shaped or molded. The brain’s plasticity during the perinatal period provides adaptability that is more limited in adults. In the case of these infant stroke victims, their brains adapted to their injuries by developing language functions in an undamaged area of the brain. Overall, the study findings are extremely informative and may represent another step toward better treatment and management for stroke survivors young and old.

Did your Baby Suffer a Stroke in New Jersey?

If your child suffered a stroke during pregnancy, childbirth, or in the weeks or months that followed, it is imperative to understand your rights. If medical negligence on the part of your obstetrician or your child’s pediatrician played a role, you may have grounds for legal action. Our knowledgeable legal team pursues maximum compensation on behalf of stroke victims throughout New Jersey. Call 866-708-8617 or fill out our online form to speak with an experienced infant stroke attorney today.

For more information regarding this research study, access the following article: How baby stroke survivors’ brains adapt

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