Morphometric evaluation of the hydrocephalic brain: relationships with cognitive development

Childs Nerv Syst. 1996 Apr;12(4):192-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00301250.


The effects of early hydrocephalus and related brain anomalies on cognitive skills are not well understood. In this study, magnetic resonance scans were obtained from 99 children aged from 6 to 13 years with either shunted hydrocephalus (n = 42) or arrested (unshunted) hydrocephalus (n = 19), from patient controls with no hydrocephalus (n = 23), and from normal, nonpatient controls (n = 15). Lateral ventricle volumes and area measurements of the internal capsules and centra semiovale in both hemispheres were obtained from these scans, along with area measurements of the corpus callosum. Results revealed reductions in the size of the corpus callosum in the shunted hydrocephalus group. In addition, lateral ventricle volumes were larger and internal capsule areas were smaller in both hemispheres in children with shunted and arrested hydrocephalus. The centra semiovale measurements did not differentiate the groups. Correlating these measurements with concurrent assessments of verbal and nonverbal cognitive skills, motor abilities, and executive functions revealed robust relationships only between the area of the corpus callosum and nonverbal cognitive skills and motor abilities. These results support the theory of a prominent role for the corpus callosum defects characteristic of many children with shunted hydrocephalus in the spatial cognition deficits commonly observed in these children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Ventricles / pathology
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocephalus / diagnosis*
  • Hydrocephalus / psychology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male