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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

1
Department of Radiology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, 45110, Ioannina, Greece.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Prematurity and intrauterine growth restriction are associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

OBJECTIVE:

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

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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).

CONCLUSION:

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.

PMID:
24190757
DOI:
10.1007/s00247-013-2822-y
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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