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IFMBE Proc. 2010 Jan 1;29(9):250-253.

Altered Long-Range Phase Synchronization and Cortical Activation in Children Born Very Preterm.

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Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Children born very preterm, even with broadly normal IQ, commonly show selective difficulties in visuospatial processing and executive functioning. Very little, however, is known what alterations in cortical processing underlie these deficits. We recorded MEG while eight children born very preterm (≤32 weeks gestational age) and eight full-term controls performed a visual short-term memory task at mean age 7.5 years (range 6.4 - 8.4). Previously, we demonstrated increased long-range alpha and beta band phase synchronization between MEG sensors during STM retention in a group of 17 full-term children age 6-10 years. Here we present preliminary evidence that long-range phase synchronization in very preterm children, relative to controls, is reduced in the alpha-band but increased in the theta-band. In addition, we investigated cortical activation during STM retention employing synthetic aperture magnetometry (SAM) beamformer to localize changes in gamma-band power. Preliminary results indicate sequential activation of occipital, parietal and frontal cortex in control children, as well as reduced activation in very preterm children relative to controls. These preliminary results suggest that children born very preterm exhibit altered inter-regional functional connectivity and cortical activation during cognitive processing.

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