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Neurology. 2006 Nov 28;67(10):1818-22.

Abnormal orbitofrontal development due to prematurity.

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1
Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Barcelona, Spain.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the effects of prematurity on sulcal formation.

METHODS:

We evaluated the depth and volume of the primary olfactory sulcus (developed at 16 weeks' gestation) and the secondary orbital sulci (which start to develop at 28 weeks' gestation) in a sample of 22 adolescents with history of very-preterm birth (VPTB). We compared this preterm sample with a sample of subjects born at term and matched by age, gender, and sociocultural status. The Anatomist/BrainVISA 3.0.1 package was used to identify and quantify the sulci. In addition, voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to analyze possible reductions of gray and white matter in the orbitofrontal area.

RESULTS:

Compared with controls, we found a significant reduction in the secondary sulci depth but not in the primary sulcus in the VPTB. VBM analysis showed reduced gray-matter volume in VPTB in the orbital region.

CONCLUSIONS:

Premature birth affects cerebral gyrification, and this impairment is not reversible during childhood. Identification of the specific factors involved in abnormal brain maturation may lead to effective interventions.

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