Neurological outcomes following preterm birth

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2007 Oct;12(5):374-82. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2007.06.002. Epub 2007 Aug 27.


Neonatal survival continues to improve; for many years, including throughout the 1990s there have been anxieties that this was at the cost of additional morbidity, most particularly in terms of neurosensory impairments. Recent evidence suggests that rates of neuromotor morbidity, in particular cerebral palsy, may be declining for all but the most immature babies. Severe sensory impairment has a low, but relatively static incidence. High prevalence, low severity motor problems and their inter-relationship with developmental co-ordination disorder, executive dysfunction and cognitive impairment are increasingly recognised and correlated with reduced school performance. Because of difficulties in comparing outcomes across different populations, validated motor and manual function classifications have been developed for children with cerebral palsy and can help to standardise outcome measures. Improved neuro-imaging is helping us understand the types and consequences of neonatal brain injury. The possibility of using composite measures of early motor movement quality, longitudinal use of motor classification systems and volumetric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) imaging to understand developmental processes needs to be explored.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy / epidemiology*
  • Dystonia
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / diagnosis
  • Infant, Premature, Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Motor Skills Disorders / diagnosis
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Premature Birth
  • Risk Factors