The influence of early malnutrition on subsequent behavioral development. IV. Soft neurologic signs

Pediatr Res. 1984 Sep;18(9):826-32. doi: 10.1203/00006450-198409000-00004.


Soft neurologic signs were evaluated in 101 Barbadian school children, ages 4-11 years, who were malnourished in the first year of life, and 101 comparison children matched for age, sex, and handedness, but who had no history of malnutrition. Previously malnourished children performed significantly slower than comparison children on several timed motor tasks when using the nondominant hand only. Boys were found to perform significantly slower than girls, and younger (4-7 years of age) children performed slower than older (8-11 years of age) children. A model is presented that displays interrelationships among previous malnutrition, soft neurologic signs, classroom behavior, intelligence, and physical growth. In summary, slow motor performance was associated with lower verbal and performance IQ and the presence of attention deficit disorder, as assessed by the child's teacher. The time to perform the motor tests was unrelated to measures of physical growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / physiopathology
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Nutrition Disorders / complications*
  • Nutrition Disorders / physiopathology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Wechsler Scales