A genetic perspective on infant mortality

Tahnee N. Causey, Joann N. Bodurtha, Nancy Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Despite significant advances in perinatal and neonatal medicine, infant mortality (IM) remains a significant public health problem. The causes of IM are complex, numerous, and a result of interacting genetic and environmental factors. This paper explores genetic contributions to IM using data from Virginia. Leading causes of IM in Virginia are disorders of prematurity/low birth weight, congenital anomalies, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Recognized single gene disorders as well as genetic polymorphisms are discussed in relation to their role in IM. While preconceptional prevention from a genetic standpoint may not currently be possible, this paper provides clinicians with information on identifying women at highest risk for IM and those in need of additional surveillance and intervention. Suggestions for simple health messages to provide to women of child-bearing age to decrease the risks for birth defects and obstetrical/perinatal complications resulting in IM are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-444
Number of pages5
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth defects
  • Genetics
  • Infant mortality
  • Prematurity
  • SIDS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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