Explicit memory in low-risk infants aged 19 months born between 27 and 42 weeks of gestation

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2000 May;42(5):304-12. doi: 10.1017/s0012162200000542.


The aim of this study was to determine whether there are primary effects of prematurity on the development of explicit memory. Elicited imitation of action sequences was used to compare immediate and 15-minute delayed memory in term and preterm infants (19 months corrected age; n=48) who were at low risk: none had experienced the medical or social risk factors often associated with preterm birth. Relative to infants born at term (38 to 40 weeks' gestation), children who had been born at 27 to 34 weeks' gestation showed lower levels of ordered recall; performance of healthy infants born at 35 to 37 weeks' gestation was intermediate and did not differ significantly from that of the other groups. These results suggest that specific cognitive deficits can occur as a function of preterm birth even in low-risk infants.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / psychology*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term
  • Mental Recall*
  • Retention, Psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Serial Learning