epilepsy risk in newbornsResearchers from the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland recently published a study in the journal PLoS One, discussing the possibility of predicting epilepsy risk in newborns based on umbilical cord length. Researchers also took conception method into consideration for the study.

More than 43,000 children born from 1989 to 2008 were born via natural or assisted reproduction. Of the study pool, 302 cases of epilepsy were diagnosed. Contributing factors associated with increased risk of epilepsy included maternal epilepsy, umbilical cord length and assisted reproduction.

Maternal epilepsy ranked as the most important and effectively predictor of childhood epilepsy. Other factors were found in about two percent of children diagnosed with the condition. A number researchers did not consider particularly significant.

Conclusion: Umbilical cord length and use of fertility treatments to conceive could be novel markers for epilepsy risk, but these factors were not present in the majority of childhood cases studied.

Source: Räisänen S, Sokka A, Georgiadis L, Harju M, Gissler M, Keski-Nisula L, Kälviäinen R, Heinonen S. Infertility Treatment and Umbilical Cord Length-Novel Markers of Childhood Epilepsy? PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55394. Epub 2013 Feb 13.