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October 18, 2000

Perinatal Brain Injury in Preterm Infants and Later Neurobehavioral Function

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, University Hospitals of Cleveland and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

JAMA. 2000;284(15):1973-1974. doi:10.1001/jama.284.15.1973

The increase in survival of preterm infants that has resulted mainly from pharmacological and technological advances in perinatal care in the last decade has been associated with a growing concern about the neurodevelopmental outcomes of the infants, especially those of extremely low birth weight and gestational age.1,2 Poor outcomes during early childhood include global cognitive delay, cerebral palsy, blindness, and deafness. By school age, poor academic achievement, behavioral difficulties, and poor social and adaptive functioning become evident in children without obvious neurodevelopmental impairments. These children have lower intelligence scores when compared with those of normal birth weight, and on neuropsychological testing, they perform more poorly on measures of attention, executive function, memory, spatial skills, and fine and gross motor function. Problems with these skills are evident even in children with normal intelligence and no overt neurosensory abnormalities, although detailed neurologic examinations have revealed minor neurologic deficits in many of the children.3

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