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Concept: Child development

166

Preterm infants are at increased risk of language-related problems later in life; however, few studies have examined the effects of preterm birth on cerebral responses to speech at very early developmental stages. This study examined cerebral activation and functional connectivity in response to infant-directed speech (IDS) and adult-directed speech (ADS) in full-term neonates and preterm infants at term-equivalent age using 94-channel near-infrared spectroscopy. The results showed that compared with ADS, IDS increased activity in larger brain areas such as the bilateral frontotemporal, temporal, and temporoparietal regions, both in full-term and preterm infants. Preterm infants exhibited decreased activity in response to speech stimuli in the right temporal region compared with full-term infants, although the significance was low. Moreover, preterm infants exhibited increased interhemispheric connectivity compared with full-term controls, especially in the temporal and temporoparietal regions. These differences suggest that preterm infants may follow different developmental trajectories from those born at term owing to differences in intrauterine and extrauterine development.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Cerebral cortex, Cervix, Child development, Preterm birth, Infancy, Infant massage

146

The development of cognitive and socioemotional skills early in life influences later health and well-being. Existing estimates of unmet developmental potential in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are based on either measures of physical growth or proxy measures such as poverty. In this paper we aim to directly estimate the number of children in LMICs who would be reported by their caregivers to show low cognitive and/or socioemotional development.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Child, Childhood, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Child development

140

The central question we addressed was whether mothers' adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an Internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers' personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children’s developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups-for example, mothers with only (1 or more) infants, preschoolers, and so forth-had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers' oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children’s developmental stages, mothers' adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children’s gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children’s infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty. (PsycINFO Database Record

Concepts: Infant, The Age, Child, Developmental psychology, Puberty, Human development, Child development, Adult

128

Little is known about the links between the time that young children go to bed and their cognitive development. In this paper we seek to examine whether bedtimes in early childhood are related to cognitive test scores in 7-year-olds.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Childhood, Learning, Child development

126

Background Data on the long-term outcome of children who are exposed to maternal cancer with or without treatment during pregnancy are lacking. Methods In this multicenter case-control study, we compared children whose mothers received a diagnosis of cancer during the pregnancy with matched children of women without a cancer diagnosis. We used a health questionnaire and medical files to collect data regarding neonatal and general health. All children were prospectively assessed (by means of a neurologic examination and the Bayley Scales of Infant Development) at 18 months, 36 months, or both. A cardiac assessment was performed at 36 months. Results A total of 129 children (median age, 22 months; range, 12 to 42) were included in the group whose mother had cancer (prenatal-exposure group) with a matching number in the control group. During pregnancy, 96 children (74.4%) were exposed to chemotherapy (alone or in combination with other treatments), 11 (8.5%) to radiotherapy (alone or in combination), 13 (10.1%) to surgery alone, 2 (1.6%) to other drug treatments, and 14 (10.9%) to no treatment. Birth weight was below the 10th percentile in 28 of 127 children (22.0%) in the prenatal-exposure group and in 19 of 125 children (15.2%) in the control group (P=0.16). There was no significant between-group difference in cognitive development on the basis of the Bayley score (P=0.08) or in subgroup analyses. The gestational age at birth was correlated with the cognitive outcome in the two study groups. Cardiologic evaluation among 47 children at 36 months of age showed normal cardiac findings. Conclusions Prenatal exposure to maternal cancer with or without treatment did not impair the cognitive, cardiac, or general development of children in early childhood. Prematurity was correlated with a worse cognitive outcome, but this effect was independent of cancer treatment. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00330447 .).

Concepts: Pregnancy, Infant, Embryo, Fetus, Obstetrics, Childhood, Mother, Child development

93

Background Data reported during the past 5 years indicate that rates of survival have increased among infants born at the borderline of viability, but less is known about how increased rates of survival among these infants relate to early childhood neurodevelopmental outcomes. Methods We compared survival and neurodevelopmental outcomes among infants born at 22 to 24 weeks of gestation, as assessed at 18 to 22 months of corrected age, across three consecutive birth-year epochs (2000-2003 [epoch 1], 2004-2007 [epoch 2], and 2008-2011 [epoch 3]). The infants were born at 11 centers that participated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. The primary outcome measure was a three-level outcome - survival without neurodevelopmental impairment, survival with neurodevelopmental impairment, or death. After accounting for differences in infant characteristics, including birth center, we used multinomial generalized logit models to compare the relative risk of survival without neurodevelopmental impairment, survival with neurodevelopmental impairment, and death. Results Data on the primary outcome were available for 4274 of 4458 infants (96%) born at the 11 centers. The percentage of infants who survived increased from 30% (424 of 1391 infants) in epoch 1 to 36% (487 of 1348 infants) in epoch 3 (P<0.001). The percentage of infants who survived without neurodevelopmental impairment increased from 16% (217 of 1391) in epoch 1 to 20% (276 of 1348) in epoch 3 (P=0.001), whereas the percentage of infants who survived with neurodevelopmental impairment did not change significantly (15% [207 of 1391] in epoch 1 and 16% [211 of 1348] in epoch 3, P=0.29). After adjustment for changes in the baseline characteristics of the infants over time, both the rate of survival with neurodevelopmental impairment (as compared with death) and the rate of survival without neurodevelopmental impairment (as compared with death) increased over time (adjusted relative risks, 1.27 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.01 to 1.59] and 1.59 [95% CI, 1.28 to 1.99], respectively). Conclusions The rate of survival without neurodevelopmental impairment increased between 2000 and 2011 in this large cohort of periviable infants. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00063063 and NCT00009633 .).

Concepts: Cohort study, Logit, Childbirth, Infant, Relative risk, Child development, Outcome

66

There is mixed evidence from correlational studies that breastfeeding impacts children’s development. Propensity score matching with large samples can be an effective tool to remove potential bias from observed confounders in correlational studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of breastfeeding on children’s cognitive and noncognitive development at 3 and 5 years of age.

Concepts: Experimental design, Econometrics, Childhood, Propensity score, Child development

66

Despite its essential role in human coexistence, the developmental origins and progression of sympathy in infancy are not yet fully understood. We show that preverbal 10-month-olds manifest sympathetic responses, evinced in their preference for attacked others according to their evaluations of the respective roles of victim, aggressor, and neutral party. In Experiment 1, infants viewing an aggressive social interaction between a victim and an aggressor exhibited preference for the victim. In Experiment 2, when comparing the victim and the aggressor to a neutral object, infants preferred the victim and avoided the aggressor. These findings indicate that 10-month-olds not only evaluate the roles of victims and aggressors in interactions but also show rudimentary sympathy toward others in distress based on that evaluation. This simple preference may function as a foundation for full-fledged sympathetic behavior later on.

Concepts: Sociology, Aggression, Behavior, Motivation, Child development, Binary relation, Victim, The Victim

48

The quality of father-child interactions has become a focus of increasing research in the field of child development. We examined the potential contribution of father-child interactions at both 3 months and 24 months to children’s cognitive development at 24 months. Observational measures of father-child interactions at 3 and 24 months were used to assess the quality of fathers' parenting (n = 192). At 24 months, the Mental Developmental Index (MDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Second Edition (N. Bayley, ) measured cognitive functioning. The association between interactions and cognitive development was examined using multiple linear regression analyses, adjusting for paternal age, education and depression, infant age, and maternal sensitivity. Children whose fathers displayed more withdrawn and depressive behaviors in father-infant interactions at 3 months scored lower on the MDI at 24 months. At 24 months, children whose fathers were more engaged and sensitive as well as those whose fathers were less controlling in their interactions scored higher on the MDI. These findings were independent of the effects of maternal sensitivity. Results indicate that father-child interactions, even from a very young age (i.e., 3 months) may influence children’s cognitive development. They highlight the potential significance of interventions to promote positive parenting by fathers and policies that encourage fathers to spend more time with their young children.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Infant, Childhood, Developmental psychology, Human development, Child development, Jean Piaget

44

Background Postinfectious hydrocephalus in infants is a major health problem in sub-Saharan Africa. The conventional treatment is ventriculoperitoneal shunting, but surgeons are usually not immediately available to revise shunts when they fail. Endoscopic third ventriculostomy with choroid plexus cauterization (ETV-CPC) is an alternative treatment that is less subject to late failure but is also less likely than shunting to result in a reduction in ventricular size that might facilitate better brain growth and cognitive outcomes. Methods We conducted a randomized trial to evaluate cognitive outcomes after ETV-CPC versus ventriculoperitoneal shunting in Ugandan infants with postinfectious hydrocephalus. The primary outcome was the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Third Edition (BSID-3), cognitive scaled score 12 months after surgery (scores range from 1 to 19, with higher scores indicating better performance). The secondary outcomes were BSID-3 motor and language scores, treatment failure (defined as treatment-related death or the need for repeat surgery), and brain volume measured on computed tomography. Results A total of 100 infants were enrolled; 51 were randomly assigned to undergo ETV-CPC, and 49 were assigned to undergo ventriculoperitoneal shunting. The median BSID-3 cognitive scores at 12 months did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (a score of 4 for ETV-CPC and 2 for ventriculoperitoneal shunting; Hodges-Lehmann estimated difference, 0; 95% confidence interval [CI], -2 to 0; P=0.35). There was no significant difference between the ETV-CPC group and the ventriculoperitoneal-shunt group in BSID-3 motor or language scores, rates of treatment failure (35% and 24%, respectively; hazard ratio, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.3 to 1.5; P=0.24), or brain volume (z score, -2.4 and -2.1, respectively; estimated difference, 0.3; 95% CI, -0.3 to 1.0; P=0.12). Conclusions This single-center study involving Ugandan infants with postinfectious hydrocephalus showed no significant difference between endoscopic ETV-CPC and ventriculoperitoneal shunting with regard to cognitive outcomes at 12 months. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01936272 .).

Concepts: Infant, Mathematics, Surgery, Normal distribution, Cerebrospinal fluid, Child development, Endoscopy, Ventricular system