During the 1930s and '40s, Dr. Virginia Apgar noticed a troubling trend involving newborns.

While the infant mortality rate in the US had declined, the rate of infant deaths within the first 24 hours after birth remained constant.

As an obstetric anesthesiologist, Apgar was able to identify physical characteristics that could distinguish healthy newborns from those in trouble.

To honor Apgar's contribution to neonatology -- the medical care of newborn infants -- Google dedicated its Doodle Thursday to the doctor on her 109th birthday.

Generally conducted one and five minutes after birth, the test assigns a score of zero to two for each of five criteria: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration (APGAR).

Scores of seven and higher are generally normal, four to six fairly low, and three and lower are generally regarded as critically low.

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