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Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 May;41(5):292-7.

Executive function of children with extremely low birthweight: a case control study.

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Department of Paediatrics, Mater Children's Hospital, South Brisbane, Australia.


This study examines the executive function (EF) skills of extremely-low-birthweight (ELBW) children at school compared with their peers. Thirty children with ELBW and 50 control children (both with a mean age of 62+/-4 months) were administered tests of EF including the Tower of Hanoi task, Finger Sequencing task, and Tapping Test. Children with ELBW, including those who scored more than 1 SD below the mean on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised, scored significantly lower than their peers on all executive tasks. There was limited correlation between EF and previous general quotient index scores obtained at routine assessment using the McCarthy Scales of General Ability at 4 years of age for the children with ELBW. Results suggest that children with ELBW are at risk for deficits in 'executive' behaviours including planning, sequencing, and inhibition which may have implications for later learning.

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