Neonatal neurological assessment of offspring in maternal phenylketonuria

S. E. Waisbren, P. Chang, H. L. Levy, H. Shifrin, E. Allred, C. Azen, F. De La Cruz, W. Hanley, R. Koch, R. Matalon, B. Rouse

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23 Scopus citations


This study assesses the impact of prenatal and postnatal factors in maternal phenylketonuria (PKU). The Dubowitz Neurological Assessment of the Preterm and Full-term Newborn Infant was administered within the first 8 days of life to 56 offspring of women with PKU and 45 controls. Follow-up testing of the maternal PKU offspring at age 1 year consisted of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development and the Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Scale (REEL). In addition, the Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment (HOME Scale) was given. Birth weight was lower (z = 2.0, p = 0.045), birth length was lower (z = 2.1, p = 0.03) and birth head circumference was smaller (z = 3.5, p = 0.0005) in the maternal PKU offspring than in the control infants. Examiners rated 29% of the maternal PKU offspring and 9% of the control infants abnormal (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.01). At 1 year of age, 19% of the maternal PKU offspring attained a Bayley Developmental Quotient (DQ) and a score on the Bayley Motor Scale below 85; 19% had receptive language delay; and 26% had expressive language delay. The gestational age at which the mother attained metabolic control was an important factor associated with birth measurements, the Dubowitz Rating and subsequent developmental scores. The Dubowitz Neurological Assessment score did not predict developmental outcome (chi-square = 1.3, p = 0.53), while the HOME score correlated with the DQ (r = 0.36, p = 0.02). In logistic regression analyses, the home environment was a greater determinant of risk for a low DQ than whether or not the mother attained metabolic control prior to pregnancy (OR = 0.85, p = 0.02). These results suggest that treatment strategies addressing both prenatal and postnatal factors will most effectively reduce risks in maternal PKU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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