Preterm birth and dyscalculia

J Pediatr. 2014 Jun;164(6):1327-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.01.069. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Objective: To evaluate whether the risk for dyscalculia in preterm children increases the lower the gestational age (GA) and whether small-for-gestational age birth is associated with dyscalculia.

Study design: A total of 922 children ranging from 23 to 41 weeks' GA were studied as part of a prospective geographically defined longitudinal investigation of neonatal at-risk children in South Germany. At 8 years of age, children's cognitive and mathematic abilities were measured with the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children and with a standardized mathematics test. Dyscalculia diagnoses were evaluated with discrepancy-based residuals of a linear regression predicting children's math scores by IQ and with fixed cut-off scores. We investigated each GA group's ORs for general cognitive impairment, general mathematic impairment, and dyscalculia by using binary logistic regressions.

Results: The risk for general cognitive and mathematic impairment increased with lower GA. In contrast, preterm children were not at increased risk of dyscalculia after statistically adjusting for child sex, family socioeconomic status, and small-for-gestational age birth.

Conclusion: The risk of general cognitive and mathematic impairments increases with lower GA but preterm children are not at increased risk of dyscalculia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Dyscalculia / diagnosis*
  • Dyscalculia / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Learning Disabilities / diagnosis
  • Learning Disabilities / epidemiology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index