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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2013 Jun;34(5):344-52. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e318287ca68.

Relations among upper-limb movement organization and cognitive function at school age in children born preterm.

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Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.



To explore relations between aspects of upper-body spatiotemporal movement organization and intelligence in children born preterm at school age.


Three-dimensional (3D) kinematic recordings of arm and head movements during a unimanual precision task were related to performance on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition, in a sample of 32 children born preterm (gestational age, mean: 31.5 weeks [range: 22-35 weeks]; birth weight, mean: 1699 g [range: 404-2962 g]) at 6 years to 8 years with no diagnosed cognitive, sensory, or motor impairments compared with 40 age-matched control children born fullterm.


In the children born preterm, upper-limb movement duration and segmentation of movement trajectories were significantly associated with full-scale intelligence quotient independent of gestational age (GA) and sex. These effects pertained to the preferred side, characterized by more effective movement organization being linked with increased intelligence scores. The same relations were not seen in the controls. Within the children born preterm, a significant effect of GA was also found for some aspects of upper-limb movement organization. Full-scale intelligence quotient was within normal limits for both groups but significantly lower in the preterm (mean: 94.5 [range: 72-120]) compared with the fullterm (mean: 101.7 [range: 76-119]) born children.


The findings demonstrate that, independent of GA, the spatiotemporal organization of upper-limb movements is partly associated with cognitive performance in children born preterm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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