White matter volume and anisotropy in preterm children: a pilot study of neurocognitive correlates

Pediatr Res. 2007 Jun;61(6):732-6. doi: 10.1203/pdr.0b013e31805365db.


The objectives of this study were to evaluate the differences in whole brain white matter (WM) volume and anisotropy between preterm and term children and to determine the relationships with cognitive outcome. Twenty-five low birth weight (BW), preterm, neurologically normal children between 8.8 and 11.5 y of age were recruited for volumetric and diffusion-tensor magnetic resonance imaging (DTI), together with 13 age-matched term control subjects. Subsequent intelligence quotient (IQ) testing was performed for 21 preterm children within 6 mo of imaging studies. We computed the mean volume and fractional anisotropy (FA) of the whole brain WM and compared the differences between the two groups. Mean WM volume and FA were significantly lower in the preterm group (p = 0.014 and p < 0.001, respectively). Multiple regression analysis found both WM volume and FA to be independent variables significantly affecting full scale IQ (FSIQ) (r2 = 0.407, p = 0.021 and r2 = 0.496, p = 0.005, respectively) after adjusting for BW, gestational age (GA), and gender. In the evaluation of the whole brain WM of preterm children, we found that both volume and FA remain reduced at late childhood with both parameters significantly affecting long-term cognitive outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Child
  • Cognition*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / physiology*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight / physiology*
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects