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Research

Flat Head Syndrome and Developmental Delays

For many years medical doctors have viewed plagiocephaly as only a cosmetic issue, confidently saying to parents that the head will naturally assume a more symmetrical shape as the child gets older, and that the child will experience no lasting effects from the flat head.

Unfortunately however, the research(1,2,3,4,5,6,7) supports the fact that there are potential neurological issues which may develop as a direct result of Flat Head Syndrome, (Plagiocephaly).

RESEARCH

  1. This study, ‘Case-control study of neurodevelopment in deformational plagiocephaly’ was published in Pediatrics in 2010. The study assessed the neurodevelopment of infants with and without deformational plagiocephaly at an average age of six months and concluded: “Deformational plagiocephaly seems to be associated with early neurodevelopmental disadvantage, which is most evident in motor functions.” (1)
  2. Another study published in Pediatrics in 2000, ‘Long-term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly’ concluded: “Infants with deformational plagiocephaly comprise a high-risk group for developmental difficulties presenting as subtle problems of cerebral dysfunction during the school age years.” (2)
  3. A study published in 2009 ‘Are infants with torticollis at risk of a delay in early motor milestones compared with a control group of healthy infants?’ demonstrated that the congenital muscular torticollis group achieved early motor milestones significantly later than the control group. (3)
  4. In this study published in 2006, ‘Neurodevelopmental delays in children with deformational plagiocephaly’, the authors concluded: “This study indicates that before any intervention, infants with deformational plagiocephaly show significant delays in both mental and psychomotor development. Also of particular note is that no child with deformational plagiocephaly showed accelerated development.” (4)

References:

1.Case-control study of neurodevelopment in deformational plagiocephaly. Speltz ML, Collett BR, Stott-Miller M, Starr JR, Heike C, Wolfram-Aduan AM, King D, Cunningham ML. Pediatrics. 2010 Mar;125(3):e537-42. Epub 2010 Feb 15.

2.Pediatrics. 2000 Feb;105(2):E26. Long-term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly. Miller RI, Clarren SK.

3.Dev Med Child Neurol. 2009 Jul;51(7):545-50. Epub 2009 Jan 26. Are infants with torticollis at risk of a delay in early motor milestones compared with a control group of healthy infants? Ohman A, Nilsson S, Lagerkvist AL, Beckung E.

4.Plast Reconstr Surg. 2006 Jan;117(1):207-18; discussion 219-20. Neurodevelopmental delays in children with deformational plagiocephaly. Kordestani RK, Patel S, Bard DE, Gurwitch R, Panchal J.

5.J Craniofac Surg. 2002 Jul;13(4):520-5; discussion 526. Auditory ERPs reveal brain dysfunction in infants with plagiocephaly. Balan P, Kushnerenko E, Sahlin P, Huotilainen M, Näätänen R, Hukki J.

6.J Child Neurol. 2008 Jul;23(7):742-7. Epub 2008 Mar 14. Neurologic findings in infants with deformational plagiocephaly. Fowler EA, Becker DB, Pilgram TK, Noetzel M, Epstein J, Kane AA.

7.J AAPOS. 2005 Jun;9(3):274-8. Visual field defects in deformational posterior plagiocephaly. Siatkowski RM, Fortney AC, Nazir SA, Cannon SL, Panchal J, Francel P, Feuer W, Ahmad W.