Effects of preterm birth : Associations between brain volumes, neuropsychological functioning, and side preference in school age children.
A preterm birth is associated with increased risk for neurocognitive deficits, but there is a need to further investigate brain/behavior relations among younger school age children born preterm. The main purpose of this study was to investigate relations between brain volumes and neuropsychological functioning, with an additional aim of examining side preference, among 18 school age children, nine born extremely/very preterm and nine born at-term. Brain volumes were examined using 3T MRI, neuropsychological functioning by WISC-IV and side preference through laterality observations. The children born preterm had, in general lower total brain volume, gray matter and WISC-IV score. Contrary to previous findings no difference was found regarding white matter volumes. Stronger right hand preference was associated to higher perceptual reasoning ability among both preterm and at-term born children, but the associations between right hand preference and brain volumes differed between the groups. The results in this study support previous findings showing long-term neurocognitive effects of a preterm birth.
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