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Phd ceremony Ms. H.K. Kikkert:Minor neurological dysfunction in healthy children born at term. Evidence for a sex-specific significance

When:Mo 17-03-2014 17:00 - 18:00

Over the last decade increasing attention has been paid to developmental disorders and their underlying neural substrate. Consequently, this has led to increasing attention for minor neurological dysfunction (MND), which is the occurrence of neurological dysfunction in absence of apparent pathology, such as cerebral palsy. Manifestations of MND include subtle coordination problems, fine manipulative disability and dysfunctional posture and muscle tone regulation. This thesis demonstrated that infants born to mothers with high trait anxiety are at increased vulnerability to develop a non-optimal nervous system. As paternal anxiety was not associated with infant’s neurodevelopmental outcome, the results imply a prenatal, biological effect of maternal anxiety on infant neurological condition. Furthermore, the results suggest that children with fine locomotion disability and coordination problems are at increased vulnerability for cognitive impairments, and that in particular girls with dysfunctional posture and muscle tone regulation are vulnerable for behavioural problems. Screening for behavioural and cognitive problems in children with MND is therefore recommended as this may lead to early identification of problems. As the results also suggest a sex-specific vulnerability for co-occurring cognitive and behavioural problems, the sex of the child should be taken into account.

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