Lateral preferences were determined by postal questionnaire for 240 children, without major neurological impairment, who were born at less than 31 weeks' gestation to examine the association between neonatal brain injuries and later lateral preference. Left hand preference was reported in 64 (26.7%) children at a median age of 52 months (range: 24-104 months). Left foot preference was shown by 70 (29.2%) and left eye preference by 86 (35.8%). Significantly more preterm children were left handed compared with parents or siblings in whom expected frequencies of left handedness were found. All index children had serial neonatal cerebral ultrasound examinations, of which 95 were abnormal. Left preference occurred at similar frequencies in those with normal neonatal scans (26.9%), bilateral lesions (28.3%), left sided lesions (23.8%), and right lesions (23.8%). Lateral preference appears to be unaffected by the side or extent of neonatal brain injury in children without major impairments.
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