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Doctor insights on: Causes Of Mental Retardation

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What causes mental retardation?

What causes mental retardation?

There are several : 100's of causes of Intellectual Disability beginning with inherited mutant genes & genetic accidents that occur during egg & sperm formation; epigenetic factors like viruses that alter function but not sequence or structure of genes; teratogens like alcohol, tobacco & drugs from 3 weeks after conception till term & beyond; maternal illnesses, , etc. See pediatrics.med.nyu.edu for much more. ...Read more

Dr. Kathryn Akin
51 doctors shared insights

Mental Retardation (Definition)

Mental retardation is an old fashioned term now replaced with the term “Intellectual Disability”. It is defined as a measured intelligence below the normal range (less than 70) combined with inability to perform activities of daily living . For this designation a person must, in addition to having low measured ability, be significantly limited in at least two of the following areas: self-care, communication, home living, social/interpersonal skills, self-direction, use of community resources, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety. The four degrees of intellectual disability are mild, (IQ between 55-70) moderate,(between 35 and 50) , severe and profound. In the severe and profound ranges individuals have language, communication and motor impairments and cannot be tested. Profound disability, is usually associated with a neurological condition. In addition to the categories of mild, moderate, severe, and profound, categories are sometimes used to designate those intellectually disabled persons who can benefit from some degree of academic training. Those designated "educable” can handle academic work at a third-to sixth-grade level, and usually have IQs that fall between 50 and 75. The designation “trainable” refers to those who can progress as far as second grade work and can live in a sheltered string without one on one constant care. It is important to know that a measured IQ is not as important as the access to and ability to respond to emotional, ...Read more


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How does long term alcohol or drug use cause mental retardation?

How does long term alcohol or drug use cause mental retardation?

Not quite the same: The term mental retardation is an old term that refers to brain problems present at birth or in early development. Alcohol and drug use can and do cause a loss of cognitive function in adults. Alcohol kills brain cells; some drugs deplete certain neurotransmitters. ...Read more

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Can a general anesthetic make you dumb? Also can a general anesthetic cause mental retardation?

Can a general anesthetic make you dumb? Also can a general anesthetic cause mental retardation?

Not usually: General anesthesia in the hands of a skilled anesthesiologist is a safe approach. However there are circumstances when during anesthesia, blood pressure falls too far and for too long, or there is a prolonged period of lack of oxygen, that can result in brain damage. If you are considering surgery, speak to your surgeon and the anesthesiologist about the risks. ...Read more

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Hi,I would like to know does absence seizures cause mental retardation.

Hi,I would like to know does absence seizures cause mental retardation.

Seizures are the...: Seizures are the result of abnormalities in the brain structure, imbalances in brain chemistry or electrical signals, etc... Seizures are not the cause of the brain problems, but rather the person's brain problems may be causing the seizures. That means seizures and mental retardation can both be due to some other brain problem, but the seizures and mental retardation are not causing one another. ...Read more

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What do drugs do to the fetal brain that causes mental retardation?

What do drugs do to the fetal brain that causes mental retardation?

No single answer: Exposure of the developing brain to different types of drug certainly is one source of mr. There is no single mechanism. Broadly, incredibly complex neuron development and migration patterns result in normal brain function. Even slight disturbances in those delicate processes can lead to "bad brain." the amazing thing is how well protected the fetus is under most circumstances. ...Read more

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Can past hard drug abuse damage the ova in a woman and cause mental retardation or birth defects?

Can past hard drug abuse damage the ova in a woman and cause mental retardation or birth defects?

No: The ova is already formed before any environmental influences. However, after conception, current drug use can affect the baby, but not previous activity. ...Read more

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Could being born with a heart defect that require open heart surgery cause mental retardation?

Could being born with a heart defect that require open heart surgery cause mental retardation?

Complex issue: Kids who have a normal intellect at birth tend to lag far behind their age equivalent peers on academic progress if they have complex congenital heart disease, this disparity tends to increase with increased time for hospital care and away from school. For others, the chd is just one parameter of a genetic or chromosome disorder that has reduced intellectual abilities to start with. ...Read more

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Is it possible that past hard drug abuse damage the ova (egg cells) in a woman and cause mental retardation or birth defects?

Is it possible that past hard drug abuse damage the ova (egg cells) in a woman and cause mental retardation or birth defects?

I have been trying: To find information on this, but the information seems to be focusing on maternal use during pregnancy and not before.It is also heavily focused on alcohol and cigarettes, with results showing that the children of women who smoke or drink have decreased attention spans. I believe, however, that your hypothesis is indeed possible. Perhaps one of my colleagues has found some research on this. ...Read more

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Can hard drug abuse cause mental retardation in a child even if there wasn't any drug use during the actual pregnancy?

Can hard drug abuse cause mental retardation in a child even if there wasn't any drug use during the actual pregnancy?

Early pregnancusage: If drugs are used before noticing pregnancy and then stopping usage would create mental retardation. Also nutritional deficiency due to drug usage affects childs brain development and indirectly contributes to mental illness. ...Read more

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