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Child Neuropsychol. 2015;21(3):314-30. doi: 10.1080/09297049.2014.899571. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Cognitive development in 7- to 24-month-old extremely/very-to-moderately/late preterm and full-term born infants: The mediating role of focused attention.

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a Section Neuropediatrics , Children's University Hospital , Heidelberg , Baden-Wuerttemberg , Germany.


The present study analyzed the links between prematurity, attention, and global cognitive performance in infancy and early childhood. At 7 months, focused attention (FA) was examined with an object examination task in 93 preterm infants (39 of them born extremely/very preterm, 54 born moderately/late preterm, and 38 infants born full-term). Global cognition was assessed at 7 and 24 months with the Bayley-II cognitive scale. Groups did not differ with respect to global cognitive performance but FA of infants born extremely/very preterm was significantly lower than in infants born moderately/late preterm. FA correlated significantly with both prematurity and cognitive performance at 7 months of age but not with global cognition in childhood. Findings point to a subtle adverse effect of prematurity on early attention and reveal evidence for the mediating role of FA on the effect of prematurity on cognition.


Attention development; Cognitive development; Focused attention; Late preterm birth; Prematurity

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