Medical Video: What It's Like To Be A Twin
Did you know that baby boys are more prone to strokes than baby girls? Another surprising fact is that neonatal strokes affect boys more than girls. Neonatal stroke is a stroke that occurs in the first month of birth. Because neonatal strokes occur when the baby is very young, this can lead to developing other problems such as physical disability, learning disabilities, and maybe even behavioral and emotional disorders.
When a newborn has a stroke, the baby's brain suffers from an abnormality which makes it difficult for the growing child to process information or produce normal physical movements. Neonatal stroke can reduce a child's ability to learn important skills later on. Stroke and its long-term consequences have been found to have a more serious impact on boys than on girls.
Some risk factors for neonatal stroke are pregnancy problems experienced by the mother, such as drug abuse, physical or emotional trauma and severe infections. Other risk factors include birth defects that affect the baby's heart, blood vessels, brain, or blood clotting function. The question is why are these risk factors more common in boys than girls?
Gender / stroke differences between infants and adults
Overall, strokes are more common in adult women than in adult men. Stroke in adults is caused by a number of old health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cerebrovascular disease.
Because women tend to live longer, the cumulative effect of this disease affects the higher risk of women having a stroke for the rest of their lives.
But neonatal strokes are different. This stroke is usually a consequence of a congenital genetic heart defect or even a traumatic pregnancy, not a long-term health problem. However, this still does not explain the difference in stroke between baby boys and baby girls.
Why do male babies get more strokes than baby girls?
A research experiment designed to answer this mysterious question evaluated newborn mice to see if they could provide clues to explain why there was a difference between strokes in boys and girls.
It turns out that newborn male mice have a stronger biological reaction to strokes, including severe inflammation. The inflammatory response to these strokes produces poisons in the brain tissue of mice that make the severity of strokes much worse in male baby rats than in female rats.
Research trials show that male babies may have the same reaction as ischemia produced by stroke in male baby rats. This severe inflammatory reaction makes strokes far worse for male babies than for baby girls. This might explain human gender differences regarding the risk of higher neonatal stroke in boys.
What does this mean for parents?
Neonatal stroke that occurs in the first few months has an impact on brain development. Children who experience neonatal stroke may need evaluation and special interventions to maximize their progress throughout life. Parents of babies who have had a stroke face a number of challenges, including the possibility of epilepsy in children. Learn more about how to deal with this challenge.
The best prevention of overcoming neonatal stroke is a healthy pregnancy, including the best efforts of mothers to avoid drugs, smoking, extreme stress, trauma, and infection. Good medical care is also an important precaution against neonatal stroke because it can help detect early problems that increase the risk of stroke, such as congenital heart defects when the fetus grows. Often, when a disability is seen before birth or immediately after birth, this disability can be repaired effectively to improve the overall health of the child.
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