Neonatal cerebral abnormalities and later verbal and visuospatial working memory abilities of children born very preterm

Dev Neuropsychol. 2010;35(6):622-42. doi: 10.1080/87565641.2010.508669.


As part of a prospective, longitudinal study, 103 very preterm children underwent structural magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at term equivalent age and an assessment of verbal (Digit Span) and visuospatial (Corsi Blocks) working memory at 6 years corrected age. Compared to children born full term (N = 108), very preterm children were characterized by poorer verbal and visuospatial working memory performance. Very preterm children without cerebral abnormalities performed similarly to full-term children. Verbal impairments were largely confined to children with earlier moderate-severe cerebral abnormalities, while children with mild and moderate-severe abnormalities showed greater difficulties in visuospatial working memory. Findings suggest that very preterm children may be particularly vulnerable to visuospatial impairment. They also highlight the role of early neurological disturbance in the evolution of these difficulties.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / abnormalities
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / psychology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Space Perception
  • Time Factors
  • Verbal Learning*
  • Visual Perception*