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Dev Med Child Neurol. 1998 Apr;40(4):256-62.

Can cerebral MRI at age 1 year predict motor and intellectual outcomes in very-low-birthweight children?

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Department of Pediatrics, Central Hospital of Aust-Agder, Arendal, Norway.


This follow-up study reports on cerebral MRI findings in 20 very-low-birthweight (VLBW) infants without disabilities at age 1 year in relation to motor, intellectual, and perceptual function at age 6 years. MRI findings, anthropometrics, and Bayley Scales of Infant Development scores at age 1 year as predictors of psychomotor status at age 6 years are also evaluated and compared. Outcome parameters were the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales and the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. The results show that infants with myelin hyperintensities including the centrum semiovale or with occipital hyperintensities with associated ventricular dilatation at age 1 scored lower on the Peabody Gross Motor Locomotion Scale at age 6 than infants with normal myelination or with isolated occipital hyperintensities. This may indicate damage to motor fibers caused by perinatal periventricular leukomalacia. No relation was found between abnormal MRI findings at age 1 and later fine motor, intellectual, and perceptual function. Comparing different age 1-year predictors, an abnormality score defined by MRI was used as an independent predictor of gross motor locomotion function at age 6 years. However, the Bayley Mental Development Index scores and weight at age 1 were more important predictors of later motor and intellectual outcome, respectively, than MRI findings. It is recommended that cerebral MRI should not be used routinely to examine VLBW infants without disabilities at 1 year of age.

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