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Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2003 Jul;88(4):F269-74.

Magnetic resonance imaging of preterm brain injury.

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Robert Steiner Magnetic Resonance Unit, Imaging Sciences Department, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, London, UK.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has proved to be a valuable tool for monitoring development and pathology in the preterm brain. This imaging modality is useful for assessing numerous pathologies including periventricular leukomalacia, intraventricular haemorrhage/germinal layer haemorrhage, and periventricular haemorrhagic infarction, and can help to predict outcome in these infants. MRI has also allowed the detection of posterior fossa lesions, which are not easily seen with ultrasound. Additionally, and perhaps most relevant, quantitative MR studies have shown differences between the normal appearing preterm brain at term equivalent age and term born infants, confirming that the brain develops differently in the ex utero environment. Further studies using quantifiable MR techniques will improve our understanding of the effects of the ex utero environment, including aspects of neonatal intensive care on the developing brain.

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