Predictive estimates of future neurological maldevelopment as a result of vascular induced intrauterine injury are based on the assumption that the body is more affected than the brain resulting in asymmetrical intrauterine growth retarded (IUGR) newborns. The higher the brain: body ratio, the more severe the IUGR process and the greater the risk for the brain to be affected. This prompted us to study in human newborns, a cephalization index based on the ratio of head circumference to body weight to express the degree of brain maturity and possible vulnerability in relation to gestational age. The newborn cephalization index was correlated with neurodevelopment. A trend could be delineated; in the later gestational age, the higher the cephalization index reflecting a greater degree of brain vulnerability, the more severe the clinical pathology ; especially the likelihood of cerebral palsy and severe psychomotor retardation. The cephalization index may serve as an additional screening device for high risk intrauterine growth retarded newborns.
- Cephalization index
- brain: body ratio
- intrauterine growth retardation