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Towards understanding infants’ early motor repertoire

The exploration of a diagnostic and prognostic tool
PhD ceremony:S. Salavati
When:May 03, 2021
Start:12:45
Supervisors:prof. dr. A.F. (Arend) Bos, prof. dr. C. Einspieler
Co-supervisor:dr. H.J. ter Horst
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:
Towards understanding infants’ early motor repertoire

The assessment of the early motor repertoire is a widely used method to determine an infant’s neurological status and to predict its neurodevelopmental outcome. It is based on observations of an infant’s spontaneous movements and postures which can be observed from (preterm) birth until 5 months’ corrected age.  These observations can be described as normal or abnormal and expressed in an optimality score. Frequently, this method is used for prediction of motor development in vulnerable infants such as those born preterm.  In this thesis we demonstrated that the optimality scores of preterm born infants were lower compared with scores of healthy term born infants. Furthermore, our findings contributed to the existing knowledge that the assessment of the early motor repertoire can be used in prediction of neurodevelopment in a broader sense. This concerns not only motor development of vulnerable infants such as those born preterm, but also cognitive development of both preterm and healthy term born infants.  Finally, we found that the assessment of the early motor repertoire is of clinical relevance for children that suffered from an infection in utero and children with hereditary metabolic disorders.  The studies of this thesis have increased our understanding of the assessment of the early motor repertoire as a diagnostic and prognostic tool. Clinical care may be improved by implementation of this assessment method as it enables the triage of children who may benefit from early interventions.