Longitudinal follow-up of children born preterm: cognitive development at age 19

Early Hum Dev. 2000 May;58(2):81-90. doi: 10.1016/s0378-3782(00)00055-4.


In a long-term prospective study, 39 preterm children born before 35 completed weeks of gestation and 23 full-term children were followed up at 4, 9 and 19 years of age. Psychometric evaluation of the cognitive development at 4 years of age showed that the preterms fell within the normal range, although their performance was inferior to that of the full-terms. This difference between the groups was not found at 9 and 19 years of age. Within the preterm group there was no correlation between the test results and birthweight, gestational age, prenatal or perinatal optimality scores. Full-terms had better scholastic performance at the end of compulsory schooling, while there was no difference at 19 years of age. At 19 years of age, about 1/3 of the children in both groups rated themselves as having had attention deficits during their childhood and adolescence. In this group of moderately immature, low-risk children, preterm birth without major physical or mental disabilities poses a developmental risk that seems to have the greatest impact during the preschool years and then gradually attenuates.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Birth Weight
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male