Hand preference develops across childhood and adolescence in extremely preterm children: The EPICure Study
We attempted to determine how handedness changes with age and its relation to brain injury and cognition following birth before 26 weeks of gestation.
We used data from the EPICure study of health and development following birth in the British Isles in 1995. Handedness was determined by direct observation during standardized testing at age 2.5, six, and 11 years and by self-report using the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory at 19 years. Control data from term births were included at six, 11, and 19 years.
In extremely preterm children left handedness increased from 9% to 27% between 2.5 and 19 years, with a progressive reduction in mixed handedness from 59% to 13%. Although individual handedness scores varied over childhood, the between-group effects were consistent through 19 years, with greatest differences in females. In extremely preterm participants, neonatal brain injury was associated with lower right handedness scores at each age and left-handed participants had lower cognitive scores at 19 years after controlling for confounders, but not at other ages.
Increasing hand lateralization is seen over childhood in extremely preterm survivors, but consistently more individuals have non-right preferences at each age than control individuals.
This study was funded by the Medical Research Council UK (Ref 72524). N.M. receives a proportion of funding from the Department of Health's NIHR Biomedical Research Centre's funding scheme at UCLH/UCL.
CitationPediatric Neurology Volume 99, October 2019, Pages 40-46
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF LIFE SCIENCES/School of Medicine/Department of Health Sciences
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