Functioning of 7-Year-Old Children Born at 32 to 35 Weeks’ Gestational Age
OBJECTIVE: To compare neuropsychological functions in moderately preterm (32–35 weeks’ gestation) and full-term children at the age of 7 years and identify gender differences.
METHODS: Community-based prospective cohort study of 248 moderately preterm children (138 boys) and 130 full-term children (58 boys). Neuropsychological tests included IQ, memory, attention, visual perception, motor skills, visuomotor skills, and parental report of executive functioning.
RESULTS: The moderately preterm group performed significantly worse on total and performance IQ, visuospatial reasoning, attention control, inhibition, and executive functioning. No differences were found in verbal IQ, verbal memory, and visuomotor and motor skills. Preterm children were at higher risk for scores <10th percentile on intelligence, visuospatial reasoning (relative risk ratio both: 1.69 [95% confidence interval: 1.29–2.28]), and executive functioning problems (relative risk: 1.94 [95% confidence interval: 1.51–2.57]). Using gender-specific norms, preterm boys performed significantly worse than full-term boys on visuospatial reasoning (P < .01); preterm girls performed significantly worse than full-term girls on visuospatial reasoning, intelligence, attention, and executive functioning (P < .05).
CONCLUSIONS: Moderately preterm birth is associated with lower intelligence and poorer neuropsychological functioning at early school age. No differences in motor skills and verbal memory were found. Using gender-specific norms, our data suggest that moderately preterm boys catch up, whereas moderately preterm girls lag behind their peers on various neuropsychological functions by the age of 7 years.
- ANOVA —
- analysis of variance
- BRIEF —
- Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions, Dutch version
- CI —
- confidence interval
- GA —
- gestational age
- Lollipop —
- Longitudinal Preterm Outcome Project
- PIQ —
- performance IQ
- RR —
- relative risk
- TIQ —
- total IQ
- UMCG —
- University Medical Center of Groningen
- VIQ —
- verbal IQ
- Accepted May 31, 2012.
- Copyright © 2012 by the American Academy of Pediatrics