Development of a regional cohort of very-low-birthweight children at six years: cognitive abilities are associated with neurological disability and social background

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1996 Feb;38(2):97-106. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1996.tb12081.x.


The authors studied the intelligence, memory, visuomotor skills and la nguage of 298 six-year-old children with very low birthweight (VLBW) (less that 1500g). Of 591 VLBW childern born July 1983 to June 1986 within 50km of the centre of Hamburg, Germany, 330 were traceable at age six years and 298 of these were seen by a neuropaediatrician and a psychologist; the other 19 were too severely disabled for psychological assessment with the standardized tests used. The mean memory performance of VLBW children at age six years was below the standard mean in all diagnostic and socio-economic subgroups. As expected, visuomotor development was clearly influenced by neurological but not socio-economic status. Intelligence and language skills were much more closely related to socio-economic background that to neurological morbidity. However, VLBW children with hyperactivity, clumsiness or cerebral palsy differed significantly in intelligence and visuomotor performance from those without neurological symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Developmental Disabilities / diagnosis*
  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Very Low Birth Weight*
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Socioeconomic Factors