Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 July 2010
At a time of exciting advances in neonatal intensive care and neuroimaging methods, when surviving preterm children represent an increasing percentage of the population, we conceived the current volume to provide the first single-source reference on the latest findings from research into the neurodevelopmental outcome following preterm birth.
New knowledge about the long-term cognitive, neurosensory, neurobiological, social, and behavioral correlates of preterm birth has emerged in the past decade mainly from two sources. Firstly, from “historical” studies of the initial preterm survivors who were examined from birth and have now reached adulthood. Secondly, from more recent studies using sophisticated neurodevelopmental assessments of the preterm infant at term, including neonatal magnetic resonance imaging techniques, which may potentially be used to identify the mechanisms underlying variations in outcome later in life; this may enable subgroups of individuals who are at increased risk of neurodevelopmental problems to benefit from appropriate intervention strategies which may be devised.
In this volume, many of the most admired and prolific investigators in different areas of preterm research present a comprehensive and up-to-date perspective on their work and areas of expertise, including directions for the future. We have been extremely fortunate to secure contributions from these researchers who have been instrumental in increasing the existing knowledge of the neurodevelopmental sequelae of preterm birth.
The volume is divided into six sections. The first introductory section presents an overview of the epidemiology of preterm birth and associated environmental and biological risk factors (Chapter 1).