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Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2005 Oct;10(5):403-10.

Differential brain growth in the infant born preterm: current knowledge and future developments from brain imaging.

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Robert Steiner MR Unit, Imaging Sciences Department, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus, UK.


Preterm birth is associated with a high prevalence of neuropsychiatric impairment in childhood and adolescence, but the neural correlates underlying these disorders are not fully understood. Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging techniques have been used to investigate subtle differences in cerebral growth and development among children and adolescents born preterm or with very low birth weight. Diffusion tensor imaging and computer-assisted morphometric techniques (including voxel-based morphometry and deformation-based morphometry) have identified abnormalities in tissue microstructure and cerebral morphology among survivors of preterm birth at different ages, and some of these alterations have specific functional correlates. This chapter reviews the literature reporting differential brain development following preterm birth, with emphasis on the morphological changes that correlate with neuropsychiatric impairment.

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