Maternal Postsecondary Education Associated With Improved Cerebellar Growth After Preterm Birth

J Child Neurol. 2015 Oct;30(12):1633-9. doi: 10.1177/0883073815576790. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


The preterm cerebellum is vulnerable to impaired development impacting long-term outcome. Preterm newborns (<32 weeks) underwent serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The association between parental education and cerebellar volume at each time point was assessed, adjusting for age at scan. In 26 infants, cerebellar volumes at term (P = .001), but not birth (P = .4), were associated with 2-year volumes. For 1 cm(3) smaller cerebellar volume (4% total volume) at term, the cerebellum was 3.18 cm(3) smaller (3% total volume) by 2 years. Maternal postsecondary education was not associated with cerebellar volume at term (P = .16). Maternal postsecondary education was a significant confounder in the relationship between term and 2-year cerebellar volumes (P = .016), with higher education associated with improved volumes by 2 years. Although preterm birth has been found to be associated with smaller cerebellar volumes at term, maternal postsecondary education is associated with improved growth detectable by 2 years.

Keywords: brain development; cerebellar hypoplasia; magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); prematurity; socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebellum / growth & development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / growth & development*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Mothers / education*
  • Organ Size
  • Universities