Predicting Abnormal Neurodevelopment in Zika-Exposed Infants

From the Neurology Times
February 26, 2019

Most infants who are exposed prenatally to Zika virus and do not develop microcephaly have normal neurodevelopment. But roughly 20% do not, and a simple screening test called the general movement assessment (GMA) exam may help identify those at risk, according to a study published recently in JAMA Network Open.1

The study is the first to do a detailed analysis of neurodevelopment in infants with prenatal exposure to Zika virus.

“The GMA should be incorporated into routine infant assessments to enable early entry into targeted treatment programs,” wrote first author Christa Einspieler, PhD, of Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

The 2015-2016 Zika epidemic in Brazil left researchers with lingering questions about how the virus affects neurodevelopment in children who are exposed in utero. Addressing such questions is important for reassuring families that their child is developing normally, and for starting earlier intervention if that turns out not to be the case.

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