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Dev Psychobiol. 2008 Mar;50(2):107-26. doi: 10.1002/dev.20278.

Understanding language and cognitive deficits in very low birth weight children.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey 197 University Avenue, Newark, NJ 07102, USA.


Very-low-birth-weight infants are at much higher risk for cognitive and language delays but the nature of such deficits is not clearly understood. Given increasing rates of prematurity and infants born very-low-birth-weight, examination of mechanisms that underlie poorer developmental outcome is essential. We investigated language and cognitive abilities in very-low and normal birth-weight infants to determine whether performance differences were due to poorer global cognitive performance or to deficits in specific processing abilities. Thirty-two very-low and 32 normal birth-weight infants received visual and auditory-visual habituation recognition-memory tasks, and standardized language and cognitive assessments. Very-low-birth-weight infants performed more poorly on visual and auditory-visual habituation tasks and scored lower than controls on cognitive and language measures. These findings suggest that differences in language abilities in very-low-birth-weight children may be part of a global deficit that impacts many areas of cognitive functioning rather than a specific impairment in rapid auditory processing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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