Children With Developmental Challenges 3(2+1)

Lesson 18 : Mental Retardation


  1. Chromosomal Abnormalities :
    Down’s syndrome, Fragile X chromosome may cause mental retardation.
  2. Metabolic and Nutritional Disorders:
    1. Phenylketonuria- (PKU): Affects fetal body processes or metabolizes protein. Hence phenylalanine accumulates in the blood stream and becomes toxic and leads to brain damage and mental retardation.
    2. Galactosemia - Foetal unable to process galactose, a form of sugar, found in milk and other food products. It leads to jaundice, liver damage, susceptibility to infections, vomiting, cataract, impaired intellectual functioning.
  3. Maternal Infections:
    1. Rubella (Germen Measles) – It is mild but highly contagious illness, linked to MR along with vision and hearing defects, heart problem and low birth weight. It is responsible for multiple impairments. some antibiotics, antidepressants and anti cancer medications lead to fetal malformations. Some drugs are “teratogens” – substances that cause malformations in the foetus.

    2. Gonorrhea and Syphilis- Sexually transmitted diseases causes damages to central nervous system of the developing foetus.
    3. AIDS -Causes mental retardation, Developmental delays and Virus affects central nervous system of foetus and also immune system.
    4. Maternal Fetal Rh Incompatibility –It is a blood group incompatibility between mother and her unborn child. Child may suffer with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy or Epilepsy. The incompatibility of Rh-positive and Rh-negative blood produces agglutinin, which prevents blood cells from maturing in the bone marrow.
    5. Toxoplasmosis: It is maternal infection caused due to exposure to fecal matter and uncooked and under cooked or raw meat and raw eggs. Infected infants may be born with M.R, Cerebral palsy, damaged retinas leading to blindness, microcephaly, enlarged liver and spleen, etc..
    6. Cytomegalovirus: It is a common virus infection. It affects brain leading to brain damage and mental retardation, blindness and hearing impairment.
  4. Environmental contributions:
    Unsafe maternal behaviours like smoking, drugs, alcohol during pregnancy which may lead to Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). This intern may lead to mental retardation along with physical deformities including facial abnormality, heart-defects, low birth weight, motor dysfunction, attention disorders, and behavioral problems.

  5. Unknown influences:
    1. Anencephaly: a large portion of the brain fails to develop properly.
    2. Microcephaly: small head and severe retardation.
    3. Hydrocephaly: due to blockage of flow of cerebral spinal fluid. Accumulation of excess fluid that leads to enlarged cranial cavity and damage on the brain by causing pressure on the brain.
Last modified: Friday, 25 May 2012, 12:13 PM