Predictors of neurodevelopmental outcome for preterm infants with brain injury: MRI, medical and environmental factors

Early Hum Dev. 2009 May;85(5):279-84. doi: 10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2008.11.005. Epub 2009 Jan 11.


This multi-center correlational prospective study examined early neonatal predictors of neurodevelopment in 59 premature infants (mean birth weight=1713.8+/-1242.5 g; mean gestational age=31.2+/-3.6 weeks) suspected to have sustained brain injury at birth. The mental and motor development of the infants selected from five university-affiliated hospitals was assessed at baseline (59 infants), 12 (55 infants), and 18 months (46 infants) using Bayley II scales. Factors correlating with Bayley II scores at 12 and 18 months included head circumference, results of neurological and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examination at baseline, environmental factors such as mother-infant interactions and levels of parental stress, and infant medical factors such as Apgar scores at 5 min and length of hospital stay. Multiple regression analyses distinguished the most significant predictors of mental and motor development. The best predictors of mental and motor development at 18 months were head circumference, neurological examinations, and MRI results. These findings suggest that in infants suspected of brain injury at birth, neurological assessments and head circumference measurements are just as predictive of developmental outcome at 18 months as MRI, and this is especially relevant in developing countries or other locations where MRI is not possible. The presence of this information may offer the potential of early tailored interventions to improve the mental and motor development of children in developing countries or other facilities where MRI is unavailable.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Injuries / pathology*
  • Cephalometry
  • Child Development*
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Neurological
  • Female
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment