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J Trop Pediatr. 2013 Aug;59(4):258-65. doi: 10.1093/tropej/fmt012. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Preterm birth and neurodevelopment: a review of outcomes and recommendations for early identification and cost-effective interventions.

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Family Health Division, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA.


This review summarizes research findings to date on neurological and health outcomes following preterm birth, tools to identify children at risk for neurodevelopmental impairment and interventions to prevent preterm birth and improve outcomes. We bring together findings from research in high- and low-income countries, with an aim to provide a global perspective on the issues. Around the world, preterm birth is rising in importance as a cause of under-five morbidity and mortality, and we project that this trend will continue over time, particularly given the lack of interventions to prevent the condition. With the development of improved screening instruments, further identification and scale up of cost-effective interventions to optimize early childhood development and accelerated research on the underlying biological mechanisms, we have an opportunity to reduce rates of neurodevelopmental impairment, particularly in countries with the highest burden.


childhood disability; impairment; low birthweight; low- and middle-income countries; neurodevelopment; preterm birth

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