Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preterm children's brains can catch up years later

Date:
July 29, 2014
Source:
University of Adelaide
Summary:
There's some good news for parents of preterm babies -- latest research shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those born at term.

There's some good news for parents of preterm babies -- latest research from the University of Adelaide shows that by the time they become teenagers, the brains of many preterm children can perform almost as well as those born at term.

Related Articles


A study conducted by the University's Robinson Research Institute has found that as long as the preterm child experiences no brain injury in early life, their cognitive abilities as a teenager can potentially be as good as their term-born peers.

However, the results of the study, published in this month's issue of The Journal of Pediatrics, also highlight that the quality of the home environment at the time of the child's birth plays an important role in their cognition later in life.

"Every year, 10% of Australian babies are born preterm, and many studies have shown that these children often have cognitive difficulties in childhood," says one of the lead authors of the study, Dr Julia Pitcher from the University of Adelaide's Robinson Research Institute.

"This new study has some positive news. We looked at the factors that determine cognitive abilities in early adolescence, and found that whether or not you were born preterm appears to play a relatively minor role. Of significantly more importance is the degree of social disadvantage you experienced in your early life after birth, although genetics is important," Dr Pitcher says.

The study, conducted by Research Officer Dr Luke Schneider, assessed the cognitive abilities of 145 preterm and term-born young people now aged over 12. He also assessed data on social disadvantage at the time of birth and at the time of the cognitive assessment.

"The results of our study provide further proof that those born at term tend to have better cognitive abilities -- such as working memory, brain processing efficiency and general intellectual ability. But the postnatal environment seems to be playing an important role in whether or not a preterm child is able to overcome that initial risk of reduced brain development," Dr Schneider says.

"Reduced connectivity in the brain, associated with microstructural abnormalities from preterm birth, is likely contributing to the cognitive deficits in these children. But these abnormalities seem to be amenable to improvement depending on the environment the child grows up in, particularly as an infant, and might account for why some preterm children do better than others."

Dr Pitcher says: "What we don't yet know is how different factors in the home environment drive specific aspects of brain development. But early nutrition and enrichment through physical and intellectual stimulation are likely to have key roles."

This research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Luke A. Schneider, Nicholas R. Burns, Lynne C. Giles, Ryan D. Higgins, Theodore J. Nettelbeck, Michael C. Ridding, Julia B. Pitcher. Cognitive Abilities in Preterm and Term-Born Adolescents. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2014; 165 (1): 170 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.03.030

Cite This Page:

University of Adelaide. "Preterm children's brains can catch up years later." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729093156.htm>.
University of Adelaide. (2014, July 29). Preterm children's brains can catch up years later. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729093156.htm
University of Adelaide. "Preterm children's brains can catch up years later." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140729093156.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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