January 1982

Minimal Brain Dysfunction: A Prospective Study

Author Affiliations

Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center 200 Trapelo Rd Waltham, MA 02254


by Paul L. Nichols and Ta-Chuan Chen, 277 pp, $29.95, Hillsdale, NJ, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 1981.

Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(1):84-85. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970370086034

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This monograph reports an analysis of data from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project that might contribute to an understanding of the origins of hyperactivity and learning disability. The authors correlated data collected during the perinatal period and early childhood with findings suggestive of minimal brain dysfunction obtained from examinations performed when the child was 7 years old. Unfortunately, the design of the Collaborative Perinatal Project severely limits the value of its conclusions.

The reader may recall that data for the Collaborative Project was collected prospectively from 12 geographically remote centers by many different observers. I was a medical student at one of the centers, a pediatrics intern and resident at a second, and a resident and fellow at yet a third. As I observed, much of the data was collected by medical students and house officers—with, of course, different degrees of motivation and skill—at night and during the weekend, when

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