Developmental Pathways of Motor Dysfunction

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Recent evidence has revealed unique patterns of behavioral development after prenatal insult similar to those outlined in studies of adult metabolic dysfunction after prenatal malnutrition. The hallmark features of this Developmental Pathway include a prenatal insult to the nervous system (environmental or genetic) followed by a period of Silent Vulnerability, where no or few functional deficits are observed, and finally emergence of later dysfunction. Possible mechanisms leading to later dysfunction from prenatal insult may include secondary or cascade effects due to the timing of prenatal insults relative to later developing structures in the brain. Methods best employed to study the mechanisms of these pathways are microgenetic and longitudinal designs that include behavioral assessment during the prenatal period of development, and animal models such as the guinea pig.



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