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From AoLHealth:
A new study suggests that infants born during the night may be at higher risk of brain disorders than those born during daylight hours.

The research, out of the University of California School of Medicine in San Francisco, shows a higher incidence of neonatal encephalopathy among infants born between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Neonatal encephalopathy is a neurological syndrome that often results in the development of cerebral palsy and epilepsy and, in some cases, even death.

More than 10,000 babies are born with neonatal encephalopathy in the U.S. each year. This latest research, led by Dr. Yvonne Wu, involved 1.8 million term babies born in California over a 14-year period. Those born at night exhibited a 22 percent increased risk of developing the condition.

What's not clear from the new study, however, is why there is a greater risk with nighttime deliveries. Wu told AOL Health that while neonatal encephalopathy can be the result of a severe placental hemorrhage, ruptured uterus, growth restriction in the womb, lack of proper prenatal care or even advanced maternal age, there is no clear reason for why nighttime delivery also seems to increase risk.

"It is unclear whether the quality of obstetric and neonatal care impacts the risk of neonatal encephalopathy," Wu said. She theorizes that reduced staffing at hospitals at night could impact outcomes.
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