Feasibility and validity of three computer-assisted neurobehavioral tests in 7-year-old children

Rasmus Dahl, Roberta F. White, Pal Weihe, Nicolina Sørensen, Richard Letz, H. Kenneth Hudnell, David A. Otto, Philippe Grandjean

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    Three tests from the computerized Neurobehavioral Examination System (NES) were administered to a group of 917 Faroese children at approximately 7 years of age. The NES Continuous Performance Test (CPT) was modified to use animal silhouettes as stimuli instead of letters. Almost all children completed Finger Tapping (FT), the modified CPT, and Hand-Eye Coordination (HE). However, 18% of the children missed at least 25% of the stimuli on the CPT (full test period), and 37% of the children did not improve their HE performance by at least 10%, as compared to the first trial. Boys obtained better results than girls, and older children performed better than younger ones. However, both factors were confounded by acquaintance with computer games. Children who used glasses, who had strabismus, or who had decreased contrast sensitivity obtained less satisfactory scores, especially on CPT and HE. The NES performance was significantly associated with functional neurological performance, including catching a ball, diadochokinesia, and finger agnosia. Slight, though statistically significant, decrements were seen with increased levels of prenatal exposure to neurotoxicants, as indicated by the mercury concentrations in cord blood obtained at the time of birth. In conclusion, the tests were feasible in this age group alter slight modifications, and the test results showed meaningful associations with major predictors, thus supporting the validity of the data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)413-419
    Number of pages7
    JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • Epidemiology
    • Mercury
    • Neurobehavioral Evaluation System
    • Neurotoxicity
    • Pediatrics
    • Vision


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