Neurobehavior at term and white and gray matter abnormalities in very preterm infants

J Pediatr. 2009 Jul;155(1):32-8, 38.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.01.038. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


Objective: To examine the relationship between very preterm infant neurobehavior at term and concurrent magnetic resonance-defined cerebral abnormalities.

Study design: 168 very preterm infants (birth weight <1250 g or gestation <30 weeks) were examined at term with 2 standardized neurobehavioral assessments, the Revised Hammersmith Neonatal Neurological Examination and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Network Neurobehavioral Scale. The relationship between composite neurobehavioral scores and qualitative white and gray matter abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging was determined.

Results: Poorer neurobehavioral performance related to magnetic resonance-defined cerebral abnormalities. Composite neurobehavioral scores related to the total grade of white matter abnormality, and worse neurobehavior related most strongly to 2 components of this grade: white matter signal abnormalities and reduction in white matter volumes. Neurobehavior was not related to the total grade of gray matter abnormality. However, delayed gyral maturation, a component of the total gray matter grade, was related to poorer performance on both neurobehavioral scales.

Conclusion: Very preterm infant neurobehavior at term is related to concurrent cerebral abnormalities in both white and gray matter defined by qualitative magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant Behavior*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Neuropsychological Tests