A pilot study investigated the neurologic, cognitive, and behavioral consequences of nonfatal infancy apnea. Fifteen formerly apneic, monitored children were compared with age-similar siblings and with agesex matched playmates. Significant impairment in gross motor development and mild cognitive deficiencies were observed when those who had had apnea were compared with their siblings but not when contrasted with their playmates. Lack of difference between those who had had apnea and playmates might have been due to a selection bias involving assortive friendships. The frequency and the severity of apneic episodes were associated but neither one showed a clear gradient of risk for poor outcome in the areas under study, indicating the possibility that apnea may have a threshold effect on subsequent development.

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