Regional brain volume abnormalities and long-term cognitive outcome in preterm infants.

Peterson BS, Vohr B, Staib LH, Cannistraci CJ, Dolberg A, Schneider KC, Katz KH, Westerveld M, Sparrow S, Anderson AW, Duncan CC, Makuch RW, Gore JC, Ment LR
JAMA. 2000 284 (15): 1939-47

PMID: 11035890 · DOI:10.1001/jama.284.15.1939

CONTEXT - Preterm infants have a high prevalence of long-term cognitive and behavioral disturbances. However, it is not known whether the stresses associated with premature birth disrupt regionally specific brain maturation or whether abnormalities in brain structure contribute to cognitive deficits.

OBJECTIVE - To determine whether regional brain volumes differ between term and preterm children and to examine the association of regional brain volumes in prematurely born children with long-term cognitive outcomes.

DESIGN AND SETTING - Case-control study conducted in 1998 and 1999 at 2 US university medical schools.

PARTICIPANTS - A consecutive sample of 25 eight-year-old preterm children recruited from a longitudinal follow-up study of preterm infants and 39 term control children who were recruited from the community and who were comparable with the preterm children in age, sex, maternal education, and minority status.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES - Volumes of cortical subdivisions, ventricular system, cerebellum, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, amygdala, and hippocampus, derived from structural magnetic resonance imaging scans and compared between preterm and term children; correlations of regional brain volumes with cognitive measures (at age 8 years) and perinatal variables among preterm children.

RESULTS - Regional cortical volumes were significantly smaller in the preterm children, most prominently in sensorimotor regions (difference: left, 14.6%; right, 14.3% [P<.001 for both]) but also in premotor (left, 11.2%; right, 12.6% [P<.001 for both]), midtemporal (left, 7.4% [P =.01]; right, 10.2% [P<.001]), parieto-occipital (left, 7.9% [P =.01]; right, 7.4% [P =.005]), and subgenual (left, 8.9% [P =.03]; right, 11.7% [P =.01]) cortices. Preterm children's brain volumes were significantly larger (by 105. 7%-271.6%) in the occipital and temporal horns of the ventricles (P<. 001 for all) and smaller in the cerebellum (6.7%; P =.02), basal ganglia (11.4%-13.8%; P
CONCLUSIONS - Our data indicate that preterm birth is associated with regionally specific, long-term reductions in brain volume and that morphological abnormalities are, in turn, associated with poorer cognitive outcome. JAMA. 2000;284:1939-1947.

MeSH Terms (15)

Brain Case-Control Studies Child Cognition Developmental Disabilities Female Humans Infant, Newborn Infant, Premature Intelligence Longitudinal Studies Magnetic Resonance Imaging Male Multivariate Analysis Psychological Tests

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