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Acta Paediatr. 2006 Feb;95(2):224-30.

Very-low-birthweight and term small-for-gestational-age adolescents: attention revisited.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Children's and Women's Health, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.



To assess whether adolescents with very low birthweight (VLBW) and peers born small for gestational age (SGA) at term are at a disadvantage when attending to or executing tasks.


Cohorts of 54 VLBW (<or=1,500 g), 60 SGA and 83 controls were tested with the Knox Cube Test, Conners' Continuous Performance Test (CPT II), Stroop Colour-Word Test, Trail Making Test (TMT) A & B, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). IQ was estimated using the subtests vocabulary and picture arrangement of WISC III.


VLBW adolescents scored worse than controls on Knox Cube Test, Stroop Colour-Word Test, TMT A & B and WCST, whereas term SGA adolescents only made more non-perseverative errors in WCST and more errors in the interference condition of the Stroop Colour-Word Test. Thirty-two (38.6%) adolescents in the control group had poor performance (< 2 SD) on at least one of the tests compared with 40 (74.1%) VLBW (p<0.01) and 32 (53.3%) SGA adolescents (not significant).


VLBW adolescents are at risk of disadvantage in aspects of attention and/or executive functions. The adverse effects of being born SGA at term appear to be few in these domains of cognitive function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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