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Acta Paediatr. 2010 May;99(5):684-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01695.x.

Neurodevelopment of children born very preterm and free of severe disabilities: the Nord-Pas de Calais Epipage cohort study.

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.Clinique de pédiatrie Saint Antoine, Hôpital Saint Vincent de Paul, boulevard de Belfort, Lille cedex, France.



To describe the development of very preterm children free of cerebral palsy or severe sensory impairment in the domains of gross and fine motor functions, language and sociability at a corrected age of 2 years; to identify factors associated with performances in each domain.


A total of 347 children born in 1997 before 33 weeks of gestation, part of the EPIPAGE population-based cohort study, had their psychomotor development assessed with the Brunet-Lezine scale.


The study population had a mean gestational age of 30.1 +/- 2.0 weeks. Lower developmental quotients (DQ) were observed in the study group compared to the reference sample (96 +/- 13 vs 104 +/- 8, p < 0.01). Fine motor function, language and sociability were all affected with a p value <0.01. Multivariate analysis showed that duration of intubation and parents' educational and occupational levels were the only variables significantly related to each developmental domain (p < 0.01).


Children very preterm and free of severe disabilities had mild delays in multiple areas of development. The mechanisms by which neonatal factors played a role need further investigation. However socioeconomic status had a great impact on development and our results underline the need for improved support of socioeconomically disadvantaged parents after a preterm birth.

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