INTRODUCTION and AIM
Studies of long-term outcomes linked to a preterm birth have generally found increasing amount of neurodevelopmental and cognitive disabilities and delays. Still, few have addressed the upper-limb performance by means of kinematic outcomes in associations with cognitive functions and brain volumes. Thus, the main aim of this study was to investigate such possible relationships within school age preterm born children and in relation to their gestational age (GA) at birth.
PATIENTS/MATERIALS and METHODS
The present study is part of a longitudinal, ongoing multidisciplinary project with the goal to discover possible long-term effects of a preterm birth. In this sub-study 7-9-years-old children born preterm (PT) without early sign of neuropathology (N= 24, Mean GW=32, range 22-35) in comparison to age matched term born children (N=31) was included. Kinematics was measured by ProReflex, 3D-registration during task specific, bi- and uni-manual upper-limb movement performance. Additionally, functional brain volumes were investigated by 3-Tesla (T) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and cognitive functions by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, 4th edition (WISC-IV).
Our preliminary results show significant poorer upper-limb kinematics with more segmented and longer movement paths in the PT-born children in comparison to the term born, this was particular evident for thus children born very- and extremely PT (<32 GA). In agreement with this finding, a decreased total brain volume and regional gray matter reduction were significantly correlated with more segmented arm and head movement trajectories, and with poorer general IQ outcomes, as well as with lower gestational ages.
DISCUSSION and CONCLUSIONS
The findings from the present study show that a preterm birth, and especially a very- and extremely preterm birth, may cause long-term effects on the development of neurophysiology mechanism involved in the goal-directed upper-limb movements. Additionally, it shows that the development of the neuro-motor mechanisms also are associated with both cognitive functions and the general brain development. Thus, indicating that a very preterm birth seemingly still give neuro-developmental related problems when at school age.
2014. 310-310 p.
1st Clinical Movement Analysis Word Conference Rome, Italy, 29th September - 4th Octorber 2014