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Pediatr Neurol. 2014 Jan;50(1):18-25. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2013.08.029. Epub 2013 Nov 1.

Hippocampal volume and memory performance in children with perinatal stroke.

Author information

1
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California; Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California. Electronic address: jjgold@ucsd.edu.
2
University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California; Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego, California. Electronic address: dtrauner@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pediatric neurologists and neonatologists often are asked to predict cognitive outcome after perinatal brain injury (including likely memory and learning outcomes). However, relatively few data exist on how accurate predictions can be made. Furthermore, although the consequences of brain injury on hippocampal volume and memory performance have been studied extensively in adults, little work has been done in children.

METHODS:

We measured the volume of the hippocampus in 27 children with perinatal stroke and 19 controls, and measured their performance on standardized verbal and non-verbal memory tests.

RESULTS:

We discovered the following: (1) As a group, children with perinatal stroke had smaller left and right hippocampi compared with control children. (2) Individually, children with perinatal stroke demonstrated 1 of 3 findings: no hippocampal loss, unilateral hippocampal loss, or bilateral hippocampal volume loss compared with control children. (3) Hippocampal volume inversely correlated with memory test performance in the perinatal stroke group, with smaller left and right hippocampal volumes related to poorer verbal and non-verbal memory test performance, respectively. (4) Seizures played a significant role in determining memory deficit and extent of hippocampal volume reduction in patients with perinatal stroke.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings support the view that, in the developing brain, the left and right hippocampi preferentially support verbal and nonverbal memory respectively, a consistent finding in the adult literature but a subject of debate in the pediatric literature. This is the first work to report that children with focal brain injury incurred from perinatal stroke have volume reduction in the hippocampus and impairments in certain aspects of declarative memory.

KEYWORDS:

epilepsy; hippocampus; memory; pediatrics; stroke

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