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Neuropsychology. 2010 Nov;24(6):787-94. doi: 10.1037/a0020382.

Spatial location memory discriminates children born at extremely low birth weight and late-preterm at age three.

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Departmentof Pediatrics and Fairfax Neonatal Associates, Inova Fairfax Hospital forChildren, Falls Church, VA 22042, USA.



The spatial location memory of preschool-aged children born preterm has rarely been studied primarily due to an absence of developmentally sensitive measures. This study aimed to address this gap in the literature.


We administered a modification of the Hopkins Board to 135 children at age 3 who were born extremely low birth weight (ELBW) (n = 20), late-preterm (LPT) (n = 75), or at term (TERM) (n = 40). Five measures were obtained: naming, trials-to-criterion, errors-to-criterion, delayed item recall, and delayed location recall.


ANCOVA indicated that the groups differed in naming (p = .019), errors-to-criterion (p = .002), and delayed item recall (p = .025). For these measures, ELBW performed worse than TERM and LPT, but LPT did not differ from TERM. Corrected age and sociodemographic factors did not eliminate the deficit in spatial location learning for ELBW participants. A MANCOVA found a significant difference in learning, with post hoc tests indicating significant learning across trials in the LPT and TERM groups, but not in the ELBW group.


ELBW is a significant risk factor for developmental delay or impairment of spatial location learning. These findings suggest that the modified Hopkins Board identifies at-risk premature children. This modification may be more broadly useful to assess preschoolers' neurodevelopmental maturation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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