The Significance of Neonatal neurological Diagnosis

  • B. C. L. Touwen
Part of the Topics in the Neurosciences book series (TNSC, volume 6)


Obviously a neonatal neurological diagnosis is based on a neonatal neurological examination. This trivial remark turns out to be very interesting when we wonder what is meant with a “neonatal neurological examination”, or, rather: the neurological examination during infancy. A neurological examination during infancy is not similar to that of an older child or an adult, they are even hardly comparable. For the nervous system of a baby is strikingly different from that of the older child or the adult. The first difference is that the infant’s nervous system is in another phase of development, characterized by a relatively low degree of differentiation. Secondly, it develops rapidly, whereas the adult’s brain is both more differentiated and more stabilized. As for its functioning, the infant’s brain serves other purposes than that of older children or adults: An infant is not a miniature child or adult, but a qualitatively different person. This means that the assessment of the neonate’s neurological condition must be age-specific: the age-specific properties of the newborn’s nervous system have to be taken into account.


Cerebral Palsy Spina Bifida Behavioural State Plexus Syndrome Cranial Nerve Palsy 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Dordrecht. 1987

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  • B. C. L. Touwen

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