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August 1964

Neurological Sequelae of Premature Birth: The Relationship to Prenatal and Neonatal Complications, Birth Weight, and Sex

Author Affiliations

Caryl B. Heimer, MD, New York Medical College, Fifth Avenue and 106th St, New York, NY 10029.
Assistant Professor, Pediatrics (Dr. Heimer), Assistant Instructor, Psychiatry (R. Cutler), Professor and Chairman of the Department, Psychiatry (Dr. Freedman).
The Department of Psychiatry, New York Medical College.

Am J Dis Child. 1964;108(2):122-133. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1964.02090010124002

The improved neonatal regimen for the premature infant, instituted during the last decade, has resulted in the virtual elimination of retrolental fibroplasia1-3 and a decrease in the incidence of kernicterus.4,5

However, a considerable number of premature infants have some degree of brain damage manifested in depression of scores on intelligence tests,6-9 behavior disturbances,7-11 and cerebral palsy as well as lesser neurological abnormalities.6,12,13 It might be that these findings are related to the prenatal or neonatal complications associated with prematurity, since brain damage, as manifested by mental retardation, has been found associated with such complications even in the full-term infant.14 Pasamanick and Lilienfeld14 have found an association between the incidence of prenatal complications, specifically, bleeding and toxemia, and minor degrees of cerebral damage. Graham et al15 have reported on the relationship between prenatal complications and anoxia at birth and deficits in development at