When I took the PSAT, I thought I was taking my first standardized test. However, I was sadly mistaken because I later found out that I had my first standardized test when I was only one-minute old and again when I was five-minutes old.
Wait, what crazy person would give a newborn infant a standardized test? Evidently, doctors and nurses do this on a daily basis when they give babies the Apgar test to evaluate their heart rate, breathing abilities, and other important factors that can predict the child’s future health. The Apgar test is on a scale of one to ten, and babies who score an eight and above and considered healthy.
Now, a recent study of 877,000 Swedish children revealed that this test might reveal more than just the children’s future health. This study showed that those children who have an Apgar score of less than seven are likely to have cognitive deficits as they grow up.
“It is not the Apgar score in itself that leads to lower cognitive abilities,” said Dr. Andrea Stuart, the author of the study and an obstetrician at Central Hospital in Helsingborg, Sweden. “It is the reasons leading to a low Apgar score [including asphyxiation, preterm delivery, maternal drug use, infections] that might have an impact on future brain function.”
There have been studies concerning a link between an infant’s Apgar score and later cognitive abilities in the past, but since this is the largest study yet, it is possible that it will offer results that have not been offered in past studies.
“[The study is] remarkable for its large size and large population database,” said Dr. Richard Polin, director of neonatology at Columbia University Medical Center. “I think it’s an interesting study, but the data needs to be analyzed further.”
So for now, doctors are unable to draw any hard-and-fast conclusions from this report, but it will be interesting to see how this report affects delivery rooms and classrooms in the future.