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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2004 February;56(1):97-108

language: Italian

Neuropsychological profiles in preterm low birth weight children

Roccella M., Salonia G., Caponetto C., Romano G., Zocco A., Parisi L.


Aim. Several studies focus on the psychic development of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants and highlight the presence of neurological, cognitive and relating disorders. Several contributions have in fact shown that in these subjects in school age disturbances of cognitive functions may be encountered; in particular, disturbances of specific neuropsychological functions, such as attention defects, impaired visuo-spatial function, memory and language have been reported in subjects with a globally normal intelligence quotient.
Methods. Forty-three school-aged children were studied (21 males and 22 females). They had a low birth weight (weight between 1 050-2 450 g), the gestation period was between 29 and 32 weeks and they were compared with a control sample whose birth weight was >2 500 g. Co-gnitive development was assessed by a test battery including WISC-R, Zazzo ''deux Barrage'' Test, Benton Visual Retention Test and Frostig Developmental Test of Visual Perception. Parents were also called in to evaluate how they had experienced the birth of their child and how long the mother had been kept in the clinic.
Results. The overall analysis of our study suggests normal cognitive development in these children. No significant diffences were detected in the 2 studied groups. The lack of differences could be associated with the criteria used to select our sample because no children with severe perinatal disorders were included in the study. In addition, a good mother-child relationship seems to have been established in these children and this has certainly contributed to cognitive development adequate to their age.
Conclusion. The prognosis of these children is therefore closely related both to the birth weight and, especially, to the difficulties faced in the neonatal age (severe perinatal diseases).

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