Infant Developmental Milestones and Subsequent Cognitive Function

Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Annals of Neurology (Impact Factor: 9.98). 08/2007; 62(2):128-36. DOI: 10.1002/ana.21120
Source: PubMed


Developmental delay is associated with a subsequent diagnosis of learning disability. However, the relationship between the age of reaching infant developmental milestones and later intellectual function within the general population remains unresolved. We hypothesized that earlier attainment of developmental milestones would be associated with better subsequent intellectual performance throughout the range of abilities, rather than confined to extremes.
Developmental data were obtained at age 2 years in the National Survey of Health and Development, a representative sample of 5,362 children born in the United Kingdom in 1946. Data on intellectual function and educational attainment at ages 8, 26, and 53 years were also obtained. Multiple linear regression and logistic regression were used to analyze the effect of age of reaching developmental milestones on subsequent cognition and educational attainment.
The age of reaching developmental milestones was associated with intellectual performance at ages 8, 26, and 53 years; for every month earlier a child learned to stand, there was, on average, a gain of one half of one intelligence quotient point at age 8. Speech development had a small but statistically significant effect on subsequent educational attainment (later developers were less likely to progress beyond basic education); this effect was not apparent for motor development. Effect sizes were reduced when the slowest developers were excluded, but many effects remained significant.
The association between later development and poorer subsequent intellectual function is small, but it does have theoretical implications; we suggest it is secondary to suboptimal cortical-subcortical connectivity.

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Available from: Marcus Richards, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "Is the effect confined to specific domains of cognition (e.g., executive function), or does it also apply to general intellectual function? Murray et al. (2007) examined these questions in a large British general population birth cohort in which measurements were available for development in language and motor domains in infancy, general intellectual function in childhood and adolescence, and specific neuropsychological function (e.g., verbal fluency, a test of executive/frontal lobe function) in adulthood. These authors noted that (Murray et al., 2006) noted that faster attainment of motor developmental milestones is related to better adult cognitive performance in some domains, such as executive function. "
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    ABSTRACT: Neural circuits linking activity in anatomically segregated populations of neurons in subcortical structures regulate complex behaviors such as walking, talking, language comprehension, and other cognitive functions associated with frontal lobes. The basal ganglia are also crucial elements in the circuits that confer human reasoning and adaptive function and are key elements in the control of reward-based learning, sequencing, discrete elements that constitute complete motor acts, and cognitive function. Imaging studies of intact humans and electrophysiologic studies of the brains and behavior of other species confirm these findings. We know that the relation between the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortical region allows for connections organized into discrete circuits. Rather than serving as a means for widespread cortical areas to gain access to the motor system, these loops reciprocally interconnect a large and diverse set of cerebral cortical areas with the basal ganglia. Neuronal activity within the basal ganglia associated with motor areas of the cerebral cortex is highly correlated with parameters of movement. Neuronal activity within the basal ganglia and cerebellar loops associated with the prefrontal cortex is related to the aspects of cognitive function. Thus, individual loops appear to be involved in distinct behavioral functions. Damage to the basal ganglia of circuits with motor areas of the cortex leads to motor symptoms, whereas damage to the subcortical components of circuits with non-motor areas of the cortex causes higher-order deficits. In this report, we review some of the anatomic, physiologic, and behavioral findings that have contributed to a reappraisal of function concerning the basal ganglia and cerebellar loops with the cerebral cortex and apply it in clinical applications to ADHD with biomechanics and a discussion of retention of primitive reflexes being highly associated with the condition.
    Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 02/2014; 8:16. DOI:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00016
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    • "Children need adequate language development in order to gain a foundation of skills in the early grades in order to make further academic gains in the later grades. Research consistently shows that children with less-advanced language skills are less likely to do well in school (Hindman et al., 2010; Hohm et al., 2007; Murray et al., 2007; Schoon, Parsons, Rush, & Law, 2010; Taanila et al., 2005). However, the significance of the studies by Hohm et al. (2007) and Taanila et al. (2005) is that they provide evidence of a relationship between very early communicative competence, before structural language abilities such as syntax and morphology have emerged, and later academic skills. "
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    ABSTRACT: Studies have demonstrated the association between parenting style and children's academic achievement, but the specific mechanisms underlying this relationship remain unclear. The development of skills that lay the foundation for academic success might be found in early parent–child interactions that foster language competence. Early negative parenting beliefs, characterised by a lack of reciprocal parent–child interactions may put a child's developing language at risk, which then compromises a child's subsequent academic success. The present study investigated this idea by using longitudinal data and structural equation modelling on a sample of 1364 children at 1 month and 36 months and in kindergarten and grade 1 (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study of Early Child Care and Youth Development). Authoritarian beliefs were measured at 1 month and in grade 1. Language competence was measured at 36 months and in kindergarten, and academic achievement in kindergarten and grade 1. We found that children's language functioning at 36 months fully mediates the association between early negative parenting beliefs and children's subsequent academic achievement.
    Early Child Development and Care 12/2013; 183(12). DOI:10.1080/03004430.2012.755964
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    • "For example, there is evidence that adult brain volume in the frontal cortex, cerebellum, and basal ganglia regions is linearly related to the speed of infant motor development (Ridler et al., 2006) and aspects of cognition. Early maturation of basic neural circuits that underpin motor skill development may also facilitate frontal and subcortical networks and consequently cognitive function later in life (Murray et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of the current study was to examine the relationship between motor coordination and visual working memory in children aged 5-11years. Participants were 18 children with movement difficulty and 41 control children, assessed at baseline and following an 18-month time period. The McCarron Assessment of Neuromuscular Development provided a measure of motor skills and the CogState One-Back task was used to assess visual working memory. Multi-level mixed effects linear regressions were used to assess the relationship between fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and visual working memory. The results revealed that for children with movement difficulty, better fine motor skills at baseline significantly predicted greater One-Back accuracy and greater (i.e., faster) speed at 18-month follow-up. Conversely, fine motor skills at baseline did not predict One-Back accuracy and speed for control children. However, for both groups, greater One-Back accuracy at baseline predicted better fine and gross motor skills at follow-up. These findings have important implications for the assessment and treatment of children referred for motor difficulties and/or working memory difficulties.
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