Concerns about umbilical cord clamping
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Contact: Eileen Nicole Simon
eileen4brainresearch@yahoo.com
Topics
Ischemic brain
damage
Language
development
Evidence
versus opinion
Increased prevalence
of childhood disorders
Dependency and
need for lifelong care
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Most infants do breathe within seconds of birth, but as Dunn [8] pointed out, "There is
often a delay after delivery before breathing commences."  Continuing pulsation of the
umbilical cord stump was observed in newborn infants and correlated with early
respiratory distress by Desmond and coworkers in 1959 [
64].  The lungs, not the
amputated placenta, should become the target of respiratory blood flow after birth.  
Waiting for the infant to breathe on its own is the best indicator that circulation has
shifted from placental to pulmonary respiration.
6.  Ischemic brain damage
In experiments with monkeys on asphyxia at birth, the first breath was prevented by
delivering the newborn head into a rubber sac, and placental respiration stopped by
clamping the umbilical cord [
65-71].  The purpose was to investigate ways to prevent
cerebral palsy, but the asphyxiated monkeys did not develop cerebral palsy, and what
Myers termed "a monotonous rank order of brainstem lesions" was the pattern of
damage found in the brain [
70].  Myers later found that prolonged partial obstruction of
placental blood flow late in gestation was the cause of cerebral palsy and its well-known
pattern of damage to cortical and subcortical motor systems.
Windle proposed that the brainstem pattern caused by suffocation and umbilical cord
clamping at birth might underlie the syndrome known at that time as "minimal cerebral
dysfunction" [
67, 71].  So-called minimal involvement of the central nervous system
corresponds to present-day designations of "attention deficit disorder" or "pervasive
developmental disorder," behaviorally-defined syndromes without involvement of motor
systems.
Posted: February 27, 2006
(a work in progress)
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