Determination and Prevention of Infant Brain Dysfunction: Sensory and Nonsensory Aspects

  • Ann Lodge
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI)


There is accumulating evidence that environmental conditions during the prenatal and perinatal periods and the early years of life have a determining impact upon the intellectual and emotional development of the human infant. This has special relevance for environmental planning for the increasing numbers of infants born at-risk for central nervous system dysfunction associated with such conditions as malnutrition, drug effects, prematurity, infection, respiratory distress, and hyperbilirubinemia. A 68% improvement in survival rate between the years of 1962 and 1971 was found for premature infants born in New York City with birthweights under 1000 g, according to a recent report (Culliton, 1975). Approximately 150,000 infants per year, or one of every 20 babies born in the United States, are placed in neonatal intensive care units for observation and treatment (Steinmann, 1975). Evidence suggests that 20% to 30% of these infants may develop handicaps including sensory and perceptual deficits, learning disabilities, and various behavioral problems (Drillien, 1964, 1965; Knobloch and Pasamanick, 1960; Rogers, 1968). Nevertheless, considerable variability is seen in developmental outcome which cannot be satisfactorily accounted for in terms of prenatal risk factors, birth distress, or neonatal status. Newer treatment methods appear to offer hope of significantly reducing the developmental hazards associated with high-risk birth; however, their long-range impact still requires intensive investigation.


Premature Infant Newborn Infant Human Infant Vestibular Stimulation Auditory Evoke Potential 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ann Lodge
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsChildren’s Hospital of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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