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Neuroimage. 2012 Sep;62(3):1499-509. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.083. Epub 2012 Jun 17.

Magnetic resonance imaging of the newborn brain: manual segmentation of labelled atlases in term-born and preterm infants.

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Centre for the Developing Brain, Imperial College London, and MRC Clinical Sciences Centre, Hammersmith Hospital, Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK


Premature birth is a major and growing problem. Investigations into neuroanatomical correlates and consequences of preterm birth are hampered by complex neonatal brain anatomy and unavailability of atlases and protocols covering the whole brain. We developed delineation protocols for the manual segmentation of cerebral magnetic resonance (MR) images from newborn infants into 50 regions with comprehensive coverage of the brain. We then segmented MR scans from 15 infants born preterm at median 29, range 26-35, weeks postmenstrual age and scanned at term-corrected age, and five term-born infants born at median 41, range 39-45, weeks postmenstrual age. Total and regional brain volumes were estimated in each infant, and regional volumes expressed as a fraction of total brain volume. Total brain volumes were higher with greater age at birth and at time of scan, but once corrected for age at scan there was no difference between preterm and term infants. Fractional age-corrected regional volumes were bigger unilaterally in terms in middle and inferior temporal gyri, anterior temporal lobe, fusiform gyrus and posterior cingulate gyrus. Fractional age-corrected regional volumes were larger in preterms bilaterally in hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and lateral ventricles, left superior temporal gyrus and right caudate nucleus. These differences were not significant after correcting for multiple hypothesis testing, but suggest subtle differences between preterms and term-borns accessible to regional analysis. Detailed illustrated protocols are made available in the Appendix.

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