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February 27, 1991

New Ultrasound Evidence Appears to Link Prenatal Brain Damage, Cerebral Palsy

JAMA. 1991;265(8):948-949. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460080016003

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AN ULTRASOUND study of premature newborns provides further evidence that many cases of cerebral palsy result from brain damage that occurred at least 2 weeks before birth—rather than from a mismanaged delivery or other birth trauma.

These findings were reported by Hanae Belfar, MD, a radiologist at the Magee-Women's Hospital, in Pittsburgh, Pa, at the 76th Scientific Assembly and Annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, held in Chicago, Ill.

Belfar and colleagues examined 512 premature infants with intracranial ultrasound within a week of birth to determine the incidence of cystic brain lesions. The researchers found 11 cases of cystic periventricular leukomalacia and three cases of porencephalic cysts, which Belfar says is evidence that the infants had suffered prenatal intraparenchymal destruction. These lesions, which are associated with the development of cerebral palsy, also were detected during prenatal diagnostic (transabdominal and transvaginal) ultrasound examinations, Belfar reports.

These findings have