Many factors affect the growth and development of children, including chemicals in the environment. Children have greater exposure to toxicants than adults due to both behavior and their increased food: body-mass ratio. Furthermore, the developing brain and organ systems of infants and children and their immature metabolism also make them more vulnerable to environmental toxins. Children from all cultures and backgrounds are at risk. However, minorities may be at greatest risk. In order to evaluate the impact of environmental exposures on neurodevelopment it is necessary to have effective methods that will allow accurate conclusions to be drawn. We have developed a battery to assess neurobehavioral performance in non-English speaking Hispanic children ages 4 years and older. This paper will examine the associations between age and performance and present test-retest correlations. Two hundred and forty one Hispanic children between the ages of 4 and 9 years completed a neurobehavioral test battery twice, approximately 1 month apart. The battery consists of computerized tests from the Behavioral Assessment and Research System, tests selected from the Pediatric Environmental Neurobehavioral Test Battery, and the Object Memory Test. Multiple regression was used to examine the association between age, gender and mother's education on performance. All of the tests, except for Continuous Performance, showed that performance improved as the child gets older. Gender differences were found on several tests with females generally performing worse than males. Correlation coefficients on performance retest measures ranged from .51 to .88. This study has demonstrated the utility of using this test battery to assess cognitive and motor performance in non-English speaking Hispanic children. Tests in the battery assess a range of functions and the measures are sensitive to differences in ages. Test-retest correlations show the reliability of the battery. These support the use of this battery in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.
- Neurobehavioral tests
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