Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mild Stress In The Womb May Worsen Risk Of Cerebral Palsy

Chronic mild stress in pregnant mothers may increase the risk that their offspring will develop cerebral palsy--a group of neurological disorders marked by physical disability--according to new research in mice. The results may be the first to demonstrate such effects of stress on animals in the womb.

In the study, the scientists adjusted the normal cycle of light and dark that the pregnant mice were accustomed to for half of the mice, subjecting them to a mild level of stress. Then the researchers exposed the brains of the developing fetuses to injury. When the brains of the young mice were examined on birth, Gressens and his team found that the offspring born from stressed mothers showed brain lesions about twice as big as those in offspring of unstressed mothers.

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