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J Pediatr. 2006 Oct;149(4):490-8.

Cortical recruitment patterns in children born prematurely compared with control subjects during a passive listening functional magnetic resonance imaging task.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA. laura.ment@yale.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to test the hypothesis that subjects who were born prematurely develop alternative systems for processing language.

STUDY DESIGN:

Subjects who were born prematurely (n = 14; 600-1250 g birthweight) without neonatal brain injury and 10 matched term control subjects were examined with a fMRI passive listening task of language, the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) and portions of the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP). The fMRI task was evaluated for both phonologic and semantic processing.

RESULTS:

Although there were differences in CELF scores between the subjects born prematurely and control subjects, there were no significant differences in the CTOPP measures in the 2 groups. fMRI studies demonstrated that the groups differentially engaged neural systems known to process language. Children born at term were significantly more likely to activate systems for the semantic processing of language, whereas subjects born prematurely preferentially engaged regions that subserve phonology.

CONCLUSIONS:

At 12 years of age, children born prematurely and children born at term activate neural systems for the auditory processing of language differently. Subjects born prematurely engage different networks for phonologic processing; this strategy is associated with phonologic language scores that are similar to those of control subjects. These biologically based developmental strategies may provide the substrate for the improving language skills noted in children who are born prematurely.

PMID:
17011320
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2386989
Free PMC Article
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