Background: The entorhinal cortex serves as an important gateway between the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus by receiving afferent information from limbic, modality sensory-specific, and multimodal association fibers from all the brain lobes.
Aim: To investigate whether thinning of entorhinal cortex is associated with reduced perceptual, cognitive and executive skills in very low birth weight (VLBW) adolescents.
Study design: Prospective, geographically based follow-up study of three year cohorts of preterm born VLBW children.
Subjects: Forty-nine VLBW (birth weight ≤ 1500 g) and 58 term-born control adolescents were examined at the age of 14-15 years.
Outcome measures: Perceptual and cognitive functions were assessed with Visual motor integration test, Grooved Pegboard test, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-III and different executive function tests (Wisconsin card sorting test, Trail Making test, Knox cube test). An automated MRI technique at 1.5 T for morphometric analyses of cortical thickness was performed. Areas with cortical thinning in left and right entorhinal cortex in the VLBW group were chosen as regions of interest to look for associations between cortical thickness and clinical findings.
Results: Thinning of the entorhinal cortex was correlated with low performance on perceptual and cognitive scores in the VLBW adolescents, but not in controls. In addition, thinning of the entorhinal cortices correlated with reduced performance on several executive tests, including perceptual speed and aspects of working memory.
Conclusions: Entorhinal cortical thinning is related with low IQ and reduced perceptual and executive functions in VLBW adolescents.
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