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

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Minerva Pediatrica 2007 August;59(4):349-68

language: English

Recent advances in imaging preterm brain injury

Boardman J. P., Dyet L. E.

1 Robert Steiner MRI Unit Imaging Sciences Department Imperial College London Hammersmith Hospital Campus, London, UK
2 Department of Paediatrics Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK


Survivors of preterm birth are at high risk of neurocognitive impairment in childhood, but the disturbances to brain growth and function that underlie impairment are not completely understood. Improvements in perinatal care have led to a reduction in the major destructive parenchymal brain lesions that are associated with motor impairment, such as cystic periventricular leucomalacia and haemorrhagic parenchymal infarction. However, with the application of advanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and processing techniques in the neonatal period, subtle alterations in brain development have become apparent. These changes occur with similar frequency to long-term neurocognitive impairment, and may therefore represent candidate neural substrates for this group of disorders. Here we review the range of lesions and associated outcomes that are seen in the current era of perinatal care, and discuss how state of the art MR imaging techniques have helped to define the neural systems affected by preterm birth, and have provided insights into understanding mechanisms of injury.

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