Reduced development of cerebral cortex in extremely preterm infants

Lancet. 2000 Sep 30;356(9236):1162-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(00)02761-6.


Most growth in cortical connections and complexity occurs after 25 weeks. The cerebral cortex of extremely preterm infants when imaged at gestational age 38-42 weeks had less cortical surface area and was less complex than in normal infants born around term (p<0.0148 and p<0.0002, respectively), despite similar term-corrected cerebral tissue volumes. Since deficits acquired during critical periods of brain development may be permanent, these results suggest a neural substrate for the neurocognitive impairment that is frequent among such preterm infants.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging