A study found that babies South Americans living in high altitude areas were more likely to perform poorly in assessments brain development.
The tests carried out by pediatricians showed that one in five children aged between three months and two years had higher risk for developmental delays. That increased to one in three and one in four children living above 2,600 meters above sea level. Since in the higher regions there is less oxygen, authors explained that also decrease blood flow to the uterus affects brain development in the unborn fetus.
"The results show the need for professionals to recognize that the altitude increases risks not only physical, but also neurological and cognitive development", wrote George Wehby, University of Iowa, Iowa City, who led the study on a 2000 children assessed at clinics in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador in 2005 and 2006.
All patients were given a series of motor tasks and were asked to solve problems that their doctors used to detect developmental delay. Wehby found that for every 100 meters of elevation were children lived, they were 2 percent more likely to be considered at high risk of having Future development disorders.
Compared with children living below 800 meters above sea level, the children who lived above 2600 meters were twice as likely to have high risk for developmental disorders the pediatric assessments revealed.