Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Left hand – right hand, premature babies make the link

Date:
April 12, 2012
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
From the 31st week of pregnancy, preterm babies are capable of recognizing with one hand an object they have already explored with the other. This ability, known as “intermanual transfer”, has been demonstrated in premature infants. These results show that the corpus callosum, also known as the colossal commissure, i.e. the brain structure involved in information transfer, is functional from this early age.

Preterm baby holding a cylinder.
Credit: © Frédérique Berne-Audéoud, CHU de Grenoble

From the 31st week of pregnancy, preterm babies are capable of recognizing with one hand an object they have already explored with the other. This ability, known as "intermanual transfer," has been demonstrated in premature infants [1]. These results show that the corpus callosum, also known as the colossal commissure, i.e. the brain structure involved in information transfer, is functional from this early age.

This work has been published online, on the journal Child Development's website.

Recognizing that an object already manipulated with one hand is the same as that held in the other hand is an important ability of the brain known as "intermanual transfer." This activity reflects the brain's capacity to memorize information on an object, store it as memory and compare it with information taken in by the opposite hand. Medical imaging has shown that the transfer of information relies on the integrity of the posterior part of the corpus callosum. Composed of a series of neural fibers, this bundle connects the two hemispheres of the brain and thus ensures the coordination of information. Due to its very slow maturation, it is the final brain structure to develop in fetuses. The question is therefore to determine at what point it becomes functional.

In 2010, for the first time, Edouard Gentaz's team demonstrated preterm babies' ability to memorize the shape of objects by touching them. This new study revealed that preterm babies born after only 31 weeks of pregnancy (i.e. 33 gestational weeks [2]), are already capable of "intermanual transfer." In fact, after placing in the babies' left hand an object they had already manipulated with their right hand (and vice-versa), the researchers observed a decrease in holding time. On the contrary, babies presented with new objects keep them in their hand for longer. These results thus show that preterm infants are able to recognize with one hand an object already familiar to the other hand.

These perceptual capacities suggest that the corpus callosum, although immature, is already functional and sufficiently developed as of the 31st week of pregnancy. The researchers thus stress the importance of premature babies' tactile sensitivity and the role such ability plays on these infants' brain development and health. They also make certain recommendations, such as: avoiding, as far as possible, to restrain babies' hands (mittens, hands bound), facilitating freedom of movement and tactile manipulation, while respecting sleep-wake cycles. This work was carried out in close collaboration with the maternity services of the CHU de Grenoble (University Hospital Centre), which already uses these practices in preterm infant care.

[1] By a team from the Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition (CNRS/Université Pierre Mendès France Grenoble 2/Université de Savoie) in collaboration with the Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception (CNRS/Université Paris Descartes/ ENS Paris) and the CHU de Grenoble.

[2] Gestational weeks (GW) are used to calculate the number of weeks that have lapsed since the first day of the mother-to-be's last period. The term of pregnancy is 40 GW.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lejeune, F., Marcus, L., Berne-Audéoud, F., Streri, A., Debillon, T., & Gentaz, E. Inter-Manual Transfer of Shapes in Preterm Human Infants from 33 to 34 6 Weeks Post-Conceptional Age. Child Development, April 2012

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Left hand – right hand, premature babies make the link." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105432.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2012, April 12). Left hand – right hand, premature babies make the link. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105432.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Left hand – right hand, premature babies make the link." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105432.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins