Development of Diagnostic Instruments to Detect and/or Document Neuromotor Dysfunctions in Children

General Movements

Assessment of the quality of general movements (GMs) is a sensitive tool for evaluation of the integrity of the young nervous system. GMs are spontaneous movements involving all parts of the body. They arise early in fetal life and persist till 3-4 months after term age when goal directed behaviour emerges.

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Infant Motor Profile

Assessment of motor dysfunction in young children is still in its infancy. This is regrettable as a sensitive, reliable and valid instrument is a prerequisite for monitoring motor development in high risk infants and for early detection of infants with developmental motor disorders. Recently a video-based assessment of motor behaviour of infants aged 3 to 18 months, the Infant Motor Profile (IMP), has been developed. The IMP is based on ideas of the Neuronal Group Selection Theory.

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Neurological Assessment during Infancy and pre-school age

From its foundation in the sixties of last century, the Institute of Developmental Neurology is involved in the development of standardized, age-specific neurological assessment tools. Special attention is paid to spontaneous motor behaviour and minor neurological dysfunction

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Minor Neurological Dysfunction (MND)

During the last years the interest in minor neurological dysfunction (MND) gradually increased. This increase is due to increased knowledge on the significance of MND, and to growing interest of society in children with developmental disorders, such as ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder; 5-10%) or ‘clumsy’ motor behaviour (Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD; 5-10%). In these developmental disorders the child’s neurological make-up plays a substantial role.

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Studies which apply the neurodevelopmental tools

Due to the specific interest of Developmental Neurology in minor neurological dysfunction, neurodevelopmental tools are also applied in studies interested in subtle changes of brain function. Specific themes that have been and are addressed are:

  • Prenatal and postnatal fatty acids
  • Neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia
  • Congenital unilateral upper limb deficiency
  • Complex congenital heart disease
  • In vitro fertilisation: see the dedicated part of the website

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