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Neuropsychological outcome at adolescence of very preterm birth and its relation to brain structure

  • T M Rushe (a1), L Rifkin (a2), A L Stewart (a3), J P Townsend (a2), S C Roth (a2), J S Wyatt (a2) and R M Murray (a2)...


Neuropsychological outcome at 14 to 15 years of age of a cohort of 75 participants(39 male, 36 female) born at <33 weeks' gestation was investigated. Research was conducted parallel to a recent MRI study by Stewart and colleagues which reported that 55% of this cohort had evidence of brain abnormality. One aim of the study was to compare neuropsychological function in those very preterm children with and without MRI abnormality. Compared to a control sample of term adolescents, very preterm participants had impairment only on a measure of word production. On measures of attention, memory, perceptual skill, and visuomotor and executive function, the adolescents born very preterm performed in the normal range, whether or not they had evidence of MRI abnormality. Our findings are encouraging as the neuropsychological consequences of damage to the very preterm brain, still evident on MRI at 14 to 15 years of age, appear to be minor.


Corresponding author

Department of Psychology and Communication, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Shore Road, Belfast BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland. E-mail:


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