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Acta Paediatr. 2013 Mar;102(3):282-6. doi: 10.1111/apa.12101. Epub 2012 Dec 22.

Neonatal and parental predictors of executive function in very preterm children.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Sophia Children's Hospital, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



To examine neonatal and parental predictors of executive function in very preterm (gestational age ≤30 weeks) children aged 4.0-12.0 years.


Two-hundred very preterm (mean age 8.2 ± 2.5 years) children without severe disabilities, born between 1996 and 2004, were assessed with measures of executive function including working memory, verbal fluency, planning and inhibitory control. Neonatal predictors were obtained from clinical records. Parental predictors included parental education, which was derived from questionnaires. Multiple linear regression analyses identified associations between neonatal and parental predictors and executive function in very preterm children.


Better postnatal growth at 6 weeks of corrected age-predicted better spatial span (R² = 0.03, β = 0.17, p = 0.02) and planning (R² = 0.03, β = 0.16, p = 0.04). A higher level of parental education predicted better verbal fluency (R² = 0.02, β = 0.12, p = 0.02). Verbal working memory was not predicted by neonatal risk factors or by parental education (β(s ) < 0.09, p(s ) > 0.20).


Executive function in very preterm children is associated with early postnatal growth and level of parental education but not with neonatal complications.

©2012 The Author(s)/Acta Paediatrica ©2012 Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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