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Do Unilateral Lesions of the Developing Brain Have Side-specific Psychiatric Consequences in Childhood?

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This study used a large epidemiological sample of children with lateralised brain lesions to establish whether damage to the developing human brain has sidespecific psychiatric consequences. Parents and teachers completed behaviour questionnaires on 429 hemiplegic children and teenagers, with a subsample of 149 hemiplegic children also being assessed by parent and child interviews. Although childhood hemiplegia was accompanied by a high rate of psychopathology, children with right- and left-sided hemiplegias did not differ significantly on any dimensional or categorical measure of psychopathology. This absence of laterality effects, perhaps reflecting the developing brain's neuroplasticity, casts doubt on theories linking particular types of child or adult psychopathology to side-specific damage to the developing brain.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1997

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