The link between motor and cognitive development in children born preterm and/or with low birth weight: A review of current evidence

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Abstract

The current review focuses on evidence for a link between early motor development and later cognitive skills in children born preterm or with Low Birth Weight (LBW). Studies with term born children consistently show such a link. Motor and cognitive impairments or delays are often seen in children born preterm or with LBW throughout childhood and studies have established a cross-sectional association between the two. However, it is not yet clear if, and if so, how, motor and cognitive skills are longitudinally interrelated in these children. Longitudinal studies with this population including measures of motor development during the first year of life and cognitive measures at later measurement points were included. The 17 studies included usually show a link between level and/or quality of motor development during the first year of life and later cognitive skills in children born preterm and/or with LBW. However, given the small number of studies, and a possible effect of early interaction between motor and cognitive skills affecting this relation, more work is clearly needed.

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