Neurophysiologic evaluation of auditory recognition memory in healthy newborn infants and infants of diabetic mothers

J Pediatr. 2000 Dec;137(6):777-84. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2000.109149.


Objectives: We evaluated the integrity of neural pathways for auditory recognition memory in normal newborn infants (n = 32) and infants of diabetic mothers (IDMs, n = 25). IDMs are at risk for fetal metabolic abnormalities that potentially damage recognition memory pathways. We hypothesized that newborn IDMs would have recognition memory deficits that would be correlated with later cognitive development.

Study design: Recognition memory was assessed with event-related potentials (ERPs). Neonatal ERPs elicited by the maternal voice were compared with those elicited by a stranger's voice. The Bayley Scales of Infant Development were administered at 1 year of age.

Results: Infants in both the control and IDM groups demonstrated recognition of the maternal voice, but their ERP patterns differed. Both groups demonstrated increased amplitude and latency for the "P2" peak elicited by the maternal voice compared with the stranger's voice. In the control group the stranger's voice also elicited a negative slow wave, which was attenuated in the IDMs. The negative slow wave correlated significantly with the 1-year Mental Developmental Index.

Conclusions: The presence of a specific neonatal ERP pattern indicated better 1-year cognitive development in infants in the control and IDM groups. ERPs from IDMs demonstrated subtle evidence of recognition memory impairments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational*
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior / physiology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics*
  • Speech Perception / physiology*