Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Does a bigger brain make for a smarter child in babies born prematurely?

Date:
October 13, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
New research suggests the growth rate of the brain's cerebral cortex in babies born prematurely may predict how well they are able to think, speak, plan and pay attention later in childhood. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain covering the cerebrum, and is responsible for cognitive functions, such as language, memory, attention and thought.

New research suggests the growth rate of the brain's cerebral cortex in babies born prematurely may predict how well they are able to think, speak, plan and pay attention later in childhood. The research is published in the October 12, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the brain covering the cerebrum, and is responsible for cognitive functions, such as language, memory, attention and thought.

Related Articles


"In babies born preterm, the more the cerebral cortex grows early in life the better children perform complex tasks when they reach six years old," said study author A. David Edwards, DSc, of Imperial College in London. "The period before a full-term birth is critical for brain development. Problems occurring at this time have long-term consequences, and it appears that preterm birth affects brain growth."

The study looked at brain growth rates of 82 infants who were born before 30 weeks gestational age using MRI scans of their brain between 24-44 weeks. Brain scans were collected repeatedly from immediately after the babies were born until their full-term due date. Their cognitive abilities were tested at two years old and again at six years old.

The study found that the faster the rate of cerebral cortex growth in infancy, the higher their scores were on the developmental and intelligence tests as children. A five to 10 percent reduction in the surface area of the cerebral cortex at full-term age predicted approximately one standard deviation lower score on the intelligence tests in later childhood. Motor skills were not correlated with the rate of cerebral cortex growth, and the overall brain size was not related to general cognitive ability.

"These findings show we should focus on the growth of specific regions of the brain like the cortex when trying to understand or diagnose potential problems in babies and fetuses," said Edwards.

The study was supported by the Health Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, Wellbeing of Women and the NIHR Imperial College Healthcare Comprehensive Biomedical Research Center.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. R. Rathbone, S. J. Counsell, O. Kapellou, L. Dyet, N. Kennea, J. Hajnal, J. M. Allsop, F. Cowan, A. D. Edwards. Perinatal cortical growth and childhood neurocognitive abilities. Neurology, 2011; DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e318233b215
  2. Peter B. Rosenberger, Heather R. Adams. Big brain/smart brain. Neurology, 2011; 77: 1504-1505 [link]

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology. "Does a bigger brain make for a smarter child in babies born prematurely?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012161259.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology. (2011, October 13). Does a bigger brain make for a smarter child in babies born prematurely?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012161259.htm
American Academy of Neurology. "Does a bigger brain make for a smarter child in babies born prematurely?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111012161259.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins