Send to

Choose Destination
Pediatr Radiol. 2014 Mar;44(3):297-304. doi: 10.1007/s00247-013-2822-y. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Body growth and brain development in premature babies: an MRI study.

Author information

Department of Radiology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110, Ioannina, Greece.



Prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction are associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities.


To assess the relationship between growth status and regional brain volume (rBV) and white matter microstructure in premature babies at around term-equivalent age.


Premature infants (n= 27) of gestational age (GA): 29.8 ± 2.1 weeks, with normal brain MRI scans were studied at corrected age: 41.2 ± 1.4 weeks. The infants were divided into three groups: 1) appropriate for GA at birth and at the time of MRI (AGA), 2) small for GA at birth with catch-up growth at the time of MRI (SGAa) and 3) small for GA at birth with failure of catch-up growth at the time of MRI (SGAb). The T1-weighted images were segmented into 90 rBVs using the SPM8/IBASPM and differences among groups were assessed. Fractional anisotropy (FA) was measured bilaterally in 15 fiber tracts and its relationship to GA and somatometric measurements was explored.


Lower rBV was observed in SGAb in superior and anterior brain areas. A positive correlation was demonstrated between FA and head circumference and body weight. Body weight was the only significant predictor for FA (P< 0.05).


In premature babies, catch-up growth is associated with regional brain volume catch-up at around term-equivalent age, starting from the brain areas maturing first. Body weight seems to be a strong predictor associated with WM microstructure in brain areas related to attention, language, cognition, memory and executing functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center