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Cerebellum. 2015 Apr;14(2):151-64. doi: 10.1007/s12311-014-0597-9.

Developmental cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome in ex-preterm survivors following cerebellar injury.

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Advanced Pediatric Brain Imaging Research Laboratory, Children's National Health System, Washington, DC, USA,


Cerebellar injury is increasingly recognized as an important complication of very preterm birth. However, the neurodevelopmental consequences of early life cerebellar injury in prematurely born infants have not been well elucidated. We performed a literature search of studies published between 1997 and 2014 describing neurodevelopmental outcomes of preterm infants following direct cerebellar injury or indirect cerebellar injury/underdevelopment. Available data suggests that both direct and indirect mechanisms of cerebellar injury appear to stunt cerebellar growth and adversely affect neurodevelopment. This review also provides important insights into the highly integrated cerebral-cerebellar structural and functional correlates. Finally, this review highlights that early life impairment of cerebellar growth extends far beyond motor impairments and plays a critical, previously underrecognized role in the long-term cognitive, behavioral, and social deficits associated with brain injury among premature infants. These data point to a developmental form of the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome previously described in adults. Longitudinal prospective studies using serial advanced magnetic resonance imaging techniques are needed to better delineate the full extent of the role of prematurity-related cerebellar injury and topography in the genesis of cognitive, social-behavioral dysfunction.

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