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Child Neuropsychol. 2012;18(4):392-403. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2011.613810. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

Attention and social functioning in children with malformations of cortical development and stroke.

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  • 1Critical Care and Neurosciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.


Attention and social functioning and their interrelationships have not been routinely examined in children with early brain insult (EBI). This study aimed to describe attention and social functioning in children with two types of EBI: malformations of cortical development (MCD) and stroke. Children diagnosed with MCD (n = 14, 6 males) or stroke (n = 14, 8 males) aged 8 to 14 years (M = 12 years 11 months) completed neuropsychological assessments to examine attention processes. Primary caregivers completed a questionnaire to assess executive components of children's attention and teachers completed a questionnaire to measure children's social functioning. Brain scans (MRI or CT) were coded by a pediatric neuroradiologist. Higher rates of impairments in attention and social function were found in children with EBI compared with normative expectations. Children with MCD experienced more global and clinically significant levels of impairment than children with stroke; though impairments were present in both groups. A strong association between executive components of attention and social function was observed. In addition, complex attention processes were associated with social function. The findings emphasize the reciprocity between attention, behavior and social outcomes, and the vulnerability of social function following EBI.

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