A study examines the relationship between medical interventions in early childhood and the increasing prevalence of later intellectual disability (ID). The study was led by Jeffrey P. Brosco, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Miami, Florida, and colleagues. (Online First)
Researchers reviewed medical literature and other data from 1950 through 2000 to construct estimates of the condition-specific prevalence of ID over time in the United States and Western Europe in populations of children who received a life-saving intervention within the first 5 years of life and were evaluated for ID after 5 years of age.
The study found low birth weight is associated with approximately 10 percent to 15 percent of the total prevalence of ID. No other new medical therapies introduced during this period were associated with a clinically significant increase in ID prevalence.