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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


RAMOS, Rosa et al. Psychomotor development at six months predicts mental development at 20 months in healthy children. Salud Ment [online]. 2008, vol.31, n.1, pp.53-61. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction The study of the possible protector factors and the risk factors can favour or harm women during pregnancy, and so, the infant during the pre- and post-natal periods, has today become a necessary and a high priority objective of world health. In agreement with this proposal, carrying out follow-up programs to prevent, detect and treat consequences in infant development is one of the objectives of Early Care (EC). The follow-up is the way to verify whether the development of the child is occurring within the guidelines of normalcy, or if there is a suspicion that he may be suffering from delays. In order to do this in an appropriate way, one of the necessary conditions is to have access to the tables and instruments that include up-to-date parameters of the course of overall development in the normal population. If the detection and follow-up of risk populations is a key task in the context of early attention, so are the longitudinal studies that use the normal population as the focus of their study. Currently, in various countries in the European Union, important follow-up studies are being carried out of a multi-disciplinary nature (EARNEST Project, NUHEAL Project, and Spanish INMA Network), with the purpose of evaluating the development of the child in general and, specifically, his mental development. These studies take into account, among others, a series of parameters that contemplate the eating habits of the mother, exposure to environmental contaminants, styles of care and the physical, mental and social follow-up of the development of the children up to ages that include adolescence. One of the factors associated with mental development is psychomotricity. The psychomotor development refers to the acquisition of skills observed in the child in a continuous way throughout childhood, and it is associated, on the one hand, with the maturing of the Central Nervous System (proliferation of the dendrites, synaptogenesis and the myelinazation of the axons) from the first months of life up to the age of two. This maturation process has a pre-established order and a clear and predictable sequence: the progress is in a cephalocaudal sense and from proximal to distal. On the other hand, the psychomotor development is also associated with the learning done by the baby and the child in their interactions with themselves and their surroundings, with the affective links they establish based on the affect and stability of the care received and the perception of everything around them (people, images, sounds, movement…). These conditions are determinants in the emotional development, communicative functions, adaptive behaviours and attitude toward learning. It has been proposed that the psychomotor development precedes the mental development and forms the base on which it is established. And although it must be kept in mind that there are degrees of individual variation in normal psychomotor development, depending on the interaction between genetic and environmental factors, it can be said that full term babies who are born healthy follow a pattern of development or skills acquisition. This pattern is clear, and basic milestones have been defined that are easy to measure and that make it possible to know when a child is progressing satisfactorily. In these children, the rhythm of psychomotor development in the first two years of life is quite rapid. At six to seven months, they can sit and crawl; at eight to nine months, they stand up; and at 10 to 12 months, they walk with help. Through their movements and manipulations, they are exploring, imitating, learning and understanding. It is important to observe and rigorously follow the way the psychomotor development is occurring and being established in children because it may provide us with early indications of possible consequences in some parameters of their mental development. Another factor that is related to the mental development, in addition to the psychomotor development, is the somatic growth or development of the child. Numerous studies show how the weight, length and cephalic perimeter are predictors of disorders in development in the case of a risk, high-risk and/or clinical population with established problems and diverse associated pathologies. Therefore, these measures of growth constitute essential parameters to keep in mind for an early intervention in the deviations and disorders in development. In this study, it has been proposed the need to verify whether this relationship of prediction between somatic growth and psychomotor and mental development also occurs in populations of healthy children. The main objective of this study was to describe the evolution of the neurodevelopment in healthy children from the sixth to the 20th month of life. We now present the results of a part of the follow-up from the NUHEAL Project. Material and method The sample studied was composed of 66 (32 boys/34 girls) full-term, healthy infants, with a weight at birth appropriate for their gestational age, born at the San Cecilio Clinical University Hospital in Granada. All of their mothers were participants in the NUHEAL project, and they did not received docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid supplements. To evaluate the neurodevelopment of the infants, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID) were used at six months (6.22±0.29) (n:66) and at 20 months (19.56±1.17) (n:56). The evaluation was performed by a psychologist who had been trained for this. The BSID evaluates three aspects of development: motor development, mental development and the behaviour of the child. It provides an index of mental development (MDI) and an index of psychomotor development (PDI). In addition, an evaluation of the somatic or anthropometric development was also performed by an expert paediatrician, taking into account the following variables: weight, height, cephalic and thoracic perimeter at birth, at six months of age and at 20 months. The local Ethical Committee of the University Clinical Hospital "San Cecilio" of Granada approved the study protocol. After a careful explanation of the study details, written informed consent was obtained from all participating women. Results The preliminary data obtained in this study showed that the psychomotor development of the children was greater than the mental development, at both six and 20 months of age, with the mean from the Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) being (107.95±11.70 vs 125.39±10.51) at six and 20 months, respectively, and the mean from the Mental Development Index (MDI) being (97.73±9.14 vs. 119.64±12.41) at six and 20 months of age. The results showed that the MDI at 20 months was greater in those children who had a greater PDI at six months, (F(1. 52)= 4.27; p<0.044). No statistically significant relationships were found between the anthropometric data at six months and the EBDI development indices (MDI and PDI) at 20 months of age.

Palabras llave : Psychomotor development; mental development; neurodevelopment; somatic development; infant.

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