General movement assessment: predicting cerebral palsy in clinical practise

Early Hum Dev. 2007 Jan;83(1):13-8. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2006.03.005. Epub 2006 May 2.


Objective: The general movement assessment (GMA) method is used to predict cerebral palsy (CP) in infants with high risk of developing neurological dysfunctions. Most of the work on GMA has been performed from the same group of researchers. The aim of this study was to demonstrate to what extent GMA predicted CP in our hands.

Method: A prospective study was performed using the Prechtl classification system for GMA in the fidgety period to predict later cerebral palsy. The study population consisted of 74 term and preterm infants at low and high risk of developing neurological dysfunction. The absence or presence of CP was reported at 23 months median-corrected age by the child's physician and the parents.

Results: The GMA identified all 10 infants that later were classified as having CP. GMA also identified all the infants that did not develop CP except for one infant with abnormal GMA and no CP. Three infants had uncertain CP status at follow-up. The sensitivity of GMA with regard to later CP was 100% with 95% CI (0.73, 1.00) and the specificity was 98% with 95% CI (0.91, 0.99) when the three uncertain cases were excluded.

Conclusion: Our study indicates that the GMA used in a clinical setting strongly predicts the development of CP. The work supports the results of previous studies and contributes to the validation of GMA. The qualitative nature of this method may be a problem for inexperienced observers. Larger clinical studies are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Cerebral Palsy / physiopathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Motor Activity
  • Movement*
  • Neurologic Examination / standards*
  • Neurologic Examination / statistics & numerical data
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity