Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed 91:F454-F459 doi:10.1136/adc.2005.092445
  • Review

Does perinatal asphyxia impair cognitive function without cerebral palsy?

  1. F F Gonzalez1,
  2. S P Miller2
  1. 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2Department of Neurology, University of California, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, BC, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
    S P Miller
    Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, BC Children’s Hospital and Child & Family Research Institute, Division of Neurology, K3-180, 4480 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6H 3V4; smiller6{at}
  • Accepted 29 June 2006


Some studies on neurodevelopmental outcomes after neonatal encephalopathy have suggested that cognitive deficits do not occur in the absence of cerebral palsy. It is increasingly apparent that childhood survivors of overt neonatal encephalopathy may have cognitive impairments, even in the absence of functional motor deficits. The risk of cognitive deficits is related to the severity of neonatal encephalopathy and the pattern of brain injury on neuroimaging, particularly the watershed pattern of injury. A better understanding of the risk factors for cognitive abnormalities after neonatal encephalopathy will ultimately lead to interventions to prevent these deficits. Identifying the full spectrum of neurodevelopmental outcomes after neonatal encephalopathy will also allow care givers to identify children requiring early intervention to maximise their potential for independent function throughout development.


  • Competing interests: None declared.

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